There are many reasons why people might be interested in growing alliums ornamental onions. Allium bulbs produce some of the most beautiful flowers that can bring a garden to life. They have wonderful smells and blooms on them which will last for weeks at a time. And they are very easy to maintain.
In this article, we will introduce you to alliums and give you some tips on how to grow ornamental onions yourself. Let's get started.
Choose The Right Allium Bulbs
There are about 500 species of these plants, with not all being edible. Allium flowers can be purple or white, red or pink – all very colorful. They are also very fragrant and will add a nice scent to your backyard. The best part is that they are all very easy to maintain, so you can figure out how to grow alliums in no time.
Image Credit: http://gardenia.net
What Kinds Of Bulbs Do You Need?
There are two main types: hardy and tender. Hardy ones will survive the winter while tender ones won't, so you will need to replant them every year. To find out which kind your alliums are, inspect the bulbs. Hardy ones have strong layers and soft tissue inside, while tender types do not have those properties.
These hardy ones come from Siberia and China, but they can grow in the US as well. They grow during summers and fall here too so it shouldn't be a problem for people who live in milder areas of the country.
These ornamental onions come mostly from South Africa or Europe where winters are cold. If you plant these kinds, they won't survive harsh winters unless you bring them indoors to protect them.
Plant Allium Bulbs In The Fall For Spring Blooms
As mentioned earlier, you can plant these bulbs in the fall when there are no longer any signs of frost or during late winter/early spring before the leaves sprout again. If you live in an area that doesn't get cold winters then planting them anytime throughout summer or early fall should be fine as well. Just make sure you choose a place that will get plenty of sunlight and is slightly shaded at night (such as against a wall). They also need moist soil so they don't dry up. Water them once every week to keep the soil moist and watch for pests and diseases to prevent them from spreading.
Fertilize And Water Regularly For Healthy Plants
Allium bulbs require rich soil that is well-drained yet moist at the same time, maybe even boggy. You can add organic matter such as animal manure or compost into the area before planting the alliums. This will provide extra nutrients to your ornamental onions during their growing stages so they can produce more leaves and bigger blooms later on. If you don't have access to manure or compost, regular fertilizer should work just fine too when it's time to plant bulbs in late spring/early summer.
These plants will sprout their leaves first, but the flowers won't bloom until later. Once they do, you can simply cut away the stems with blooms on them and use them in your flower arrangements or kitchen to make some delicious dishes.
Deadhead Flowers To Encourage New Growth
You might have noticed that these flowers only last for a short period before wilting away. If you want to enjoy their beauty longer, snip off any wilted blooms and cut back on watering slightly to prevent mold from forming. This process is also known as “deadheading” which lets your alliums produce more beautiful blooms throughout summertime and into fall. Just make sure you don't overdo it: if you deadhead all of the blooms, your plants may halt growth and stop producing flowers altogether.
Pruning Can Encourage Bushier Plants
You might want to talk to a professional about how you should prune these ornamental onions but if you're up for it then go ahead and cut off any dead parts that aren't producing leaves at the end of wintertime or early spring (after they bloom). This will make way for new flowering shoots which will give you more blooms later on. Just make sure you change up your watering schedule as well so they aren't overwatered or dried out once new leaves start sprouting again. Pruning only every so often is usually enough since these plants grow a lot anyway which makes them susceptible to pests and diseases.
Handle With Care
Since flowers are very fragile, make sure you handle them gently when you're picking the stems for your bouquets or dinner dishes. Also, gardeners should wear gloves when deadheading to not spread lily rot or virus which can harm alliums. There is also a chemical that's unhealthy for people to come into contact with so take extra precaution not to get it on your skin just in case.
Image Credit: http://plantcaretoday.com
These are similar to baby onions, but they are harvested at an earlier stage. Scallions aren't allowed to fully grow up before being plucked like full-sized onions would. You can eat them raw or cooked and you can even plant the leftovers in water first and allow them to regrow for several weeks. These will also multiply quickly if you leave them submerged in a glass of water with the roots exposed to sunlight every once in a while.
Growing scallions is very easy, but you need to plant them during late fall or early winter for them to grow up before the weather gets too warm. It takes about 3 weeks for scallions to grow from seedlings so make sure you choose a location that will get plenty of sunlight during the day.
If scallions are not your thing, here's an informative article to check out about how to grow morning glories.
Final Thoughts On How To Grow Alliums Ornamental Onions
In conclusion, ornamental onions like garlic and leeks can be an amazing touch to your garden. They not only look great but also provide a unique type of beauty.
Alliums are easy to grow and with proper care will reward the gardener with years of enjoyment. Being such hardy flowers, most people tend to forget they need attention as well.
If you are looking for something special in your garden, ornamental onions are an excellent choice for both beauty and uniqueness. These lovely plants can quickly become a favorite of anyone who has them in their garden.