When to Plant Allium Bulbs – Planting Guide 2021

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Looking for a bright, large, and unique-looking flower for your garden? Bonus points if it is easy to care for and is also deer-resistant?

Allium flowers are all this and we’ll help you understand when to plant them and how to care for them.

When to plant allium bulbs? Allium bulbs are fairly easy to plant, which is why they are so popular. They need to be in the ground before it freezes. Depending on where you live, this could range from late September to early November. Once planted, you don’t have to do much with allium bulbs. They enter a period of hibernation and once spring comes around, they will naturally sprout. In just a few weeks, you will have gorgeous, globe-like flowers.

After your allium flowers die off, leave the foliage so that it can gather the required nutrients for next year’s flowers. You can also leave the bulbs in the soil and they will naturally bloom again the following spring.

Planting Allium Bulbs in Different Climates

Tropical Climate

Allium bulbs need a cold period to lay dormant in so that they can conserve their nutrients and bloom when the weather warms up in spring. Unfortunately, a tropical climate cannot provide this dormant period.

Dry Climate

Allium flowers are usually not able to grow in a dry climate. They need a cold, moist ground to lie dormant in, and extra water in the spring to start their growing period.

Temperate Climate

A temperate climate is well-suited for growing allium flowers. The bulbs can be planted as late as October or early November and because the climate involves a lot of rainfall in the spring, you don’t have to worry about watering your bulbs or flowers.

Continental Climate

Allium flowers can definitely grow in a continental climate. The winters are cold enough for a dormant period and the warm spring months allow the bulbs to begin to grow.

Just make sure you plant your bulbs in early fall, such as late September or early October, in case the ground becomes frozen early. Furthermore, expect allium flowers to blossom a bit later than they would in a temperate climate.

Polar Climate

Unfortunately, allium flowers will not grow in a polar climate.

Choosing Allium Bulb Seeds

allium bulb seeds

When you go to choose your allium bulbs, there are quite a few to consider. Perhaps the most well-known is the Purple Sensation Allium. These flowers are a bright purple and their globe flowers are an impressive 4 to 5 inches wide.

With softer pink hues, Globemaster Allium flowers are also a nice consideration if you want really large flowers. They grow to be 6 to 10 inches wide and are great if you want to use them for cut flowers.

If you want something a bit different then you could try the Mount Everest Allium. These flowers are a pale white but still offer that stunning, wide globe effect. For the best look, plant a bunch of bulbs together for a show-stopping experience.

How to Plant Allium Bulb Seeds

Allium flowers come in the form of bulbs, not seeds. These bulbs, like most other flowering bulbs, should be planted in the fall.

While alliums are quite hardy, it’s important to plant them a few weeks before the ground freezes. Depending on where you live, this could range from September to November, so make sure you are aware of your local frost dates as well as historical freezing times.

Allium flowers love full sun, so make sure you have this location in mind. The nice aspect about planting these bulbs is that they will flower in the spring so can be planted under trees as the foliage will be thin enough during the winter and spring months.

You can choose to plant your allium bulbs in your garden or in pots. If you do choose containers, make sure they are large enough as the dirt will act as a natural insulator. However, if you experience very cold winters, it’s best to keep them in the ground.

When you dig a hole, aim for 4 to 8 inches in depth. Furthermore, they should be spaced about 6 to 8 inches apart as the leaves of allium flowers can really spread out. In each hole, place one allium bulb, making sure the pointy end faces upwards.

If you’re worried about the soil for your allium flowers, you can always add compost or other organic matter. As well, you can add a layer of bulk march as this well prevent the soil from becoming water-logged.

While you can certainly plant random allium bulbs around your garden, many people prefer to plant clumps of them. This allows you to have an amazing display of large flowers altogether, which is quite impressive to see.

How to Water Allium Bulbs

After you first plant your allium bulbs, give the area a good watering. This helps the soil move back into the hole and surround your bulbs.

Once planted, allium bulbs don’t really need water. They are fine over fall and winter; however, if you have a very dry fall, feel free to give the area a bit more water.

Allium bulbs lay dormant in cold weather and start to grow in the spring. Once they sprout up, you can start watering them again.

As each climate is different, you may or may not have to water your allium flowers. If there is enough rainfall, they will be fine. However, if it is a dry spring, be sure to water every other day, aiming for about 1 inch of water per week.

How to Grow Allium Bulbs

how to grow allium bulbs

Allium flowers can grow to be quite tall. There are some varieties that are over 2 feet tall, and usually, this is just one single stem.

If you are worried about your flowers growing too tall, you can always stake the stem so that it doesn’t fall over. This is a good idea if you have pets or kids that play around your garden area as they might accidentally run into the flowers.

Allium flowers last a few weeks in full bloom but they will not re-grow after they have faded. While you can cut off the flower and most of the stem once it is done, you should leave the surrounding leaves and foliage.

Leaving the leaves allows them to process sunlight through photosynthesis. Then, this energy is transferred to the bulb so that it has enough nutrients to produce flowers the following year.

Try to leave your allium foliage in your garden until late spring or early summer. If you can, wait for signs that the plant is becoming dormant again, such as the leaves turning yellow and even dying on their own.

Once this happens, you can choose to remove your allium bulbs or simply leave them in the ground as they will naturally bloom again the following spring.  

How to cut allium flowers?

Allium flowers look great in your garden but if you love cut flowers these are a great variety to grow for this purpose. They are easy to cut and they last quite a while inside.

While growing, you can definitely cut off some flowers for your home. Simply take a pair of sharp scissors and cut a bit on the diagonal.

Allium flowers work well all their own or in a bouquet. Furthermore, you can also dry them. To dry allium flowers, put two to three stems together, and be sure to remove any extra leaves.

Wrap a rubber band around the middle part of the stem. Then, hang them upside down in a cool, dark space. There should be no moisture in the area; otherwise, the plants will become too soggy and won’t dry.

The whole drying process should take about six weeks. You do want to be a bit careful with your dried allium flowers as they will be a bit delicate.

You can use dried allium flowers as an arrangement, or you can place them in a frame or even hang them up as a decoration.

How long do allium bulbs take to grow?

Allium bulbs take anywhere from five to seven months to grow. This is dependent on when you plant them and when the temperature warms up in spring.

In general, aim to plant allium bulbs in October, although this may be earlier if you live in a colder climate.

Once spring comes about and the weather becomes warmer, your allium flowers will naturally sprout. This is generally during May but could be a bit earlier if you live in a climate with a warmer winter.

Once they start sprouting, you can expect to see the giant, globe-shaped flowers in just a week or two. The flowers will then last a few weeks before dying off.

Conclusion

Flowers that grow from bulbs are some of the first signs of spring. They erupt from the ground as if by magic and it’s always a delight, especially if you have forgotten what you planted.

Allium flowers can tower over the rest of your garden and their large, many-colored flowers are quite a sight to behold.

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