This incredible Allium creates a sensation in any garden. The colossal round flower heads are up to a foot across! The color is lovely too, and many gardeners use these unique blooms in various ways. Of course, they're astonishing in an arrangement (Any onion scent dissipates quickly). What's more, this Allium holds the petals on the flowers after blooming, so it makes a spectacular addition to dried arrangements. Some crafters even paint them--with various colors or with gold paint for the holidays.
About the Alliums. Every family has its beauties. And yes, these are the best-looking members of the family of Allium, which includes onions, leeks and chives. (The word, Allium, means 'onion' in Latin.) Many Allium species are native to Iran, where many tulips also originate, and the edible Alliums have been cultivated and a staple of diets for over 10,000 years.
The beauty of the small lavender flowerheads of chives have always been a decorative highlight in herb gardens. But in recent years, gardeners have become fascinated with the larger Alliums, particular the giants. As always, the Dutch hybridizers took them into their stocks, and now we have a whole group of beautiful new flowering onions for gardens. Most bloom in late spring so they bridge the gap nicely between the tulip season and early summer bloom of peonies and poppies.
Experienced gardeners plant these giant Alliums in groups of several bulbs, set very close together. The foliage is not attractive for long, so it's important to plant them next to other perennials whose foliage will more or less cover the Allium's base. This way, the wonderful flower stalks rise up and tower over the other flowers for a wonderful period of bloom.