Allium + perennial question

miclino(5)June 23, 2013

Seeing all the great pics of alliums incorporated into perennial beds means I have a need some more of my own. Reading on bluestone, it says allium multiply rapidly. I have only planted allium in one spot and it has returned for two seasons, did not bloom this season and has not multiplied at all. My perennial beds are packed, I want to interplant with allium but not if its going to "rapidly multiply". How have you addressed this problem and does it really spread that fast?

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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I think most of the large ornamental alliums are much better behaved than some of the smaller varieties. Those big purple globe alliums don't typically multiply at all, though we wish they would. I would just read up carefully on particular varieties before planting.

Martha

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 7:15AM
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NHBabs z4b-5a NH(4b-5aNH)

I agree with docmom, as even the one that has seeded a bit for me has added only about one every two or three years. Also, deadheading is easy, so I wouldn't worry at all about unwanted seedlings, though I love the seedheads, so don't deadhead Alliums. I've been growing large Alliums for something like 20 years and am not good with rampant self-seeders, and I have had no problems at all.

I wouldn't necessarily rely on Bluestone as the best source of info, particularly on bulbs. They tend to give the same general info for all plants in a genus.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 8:43AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Yeah, exactly. I had small blue allium that multiplied into small bulbs that didn't really bloom so they just looked like weeds. But I now grow 'Purple Sensation' and it totally stays put. I wouldn't be without it!

Just make sure you've got some nice perennial foliage around the base of the allium because their foliage gets pretty ratty by the time they bloom. Normally this is not a problem because perennials fill out by then.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 9:46AM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

I recently saw a picture of allium growing up through a hosta. Very cool. I may try that.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 11:20AM
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miclino(5)

So drumstick allium might spread faster being smaller.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 1:56PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

The only one I've had do much spreading at all is A. christophii. It can come up in some interesting places, and I tend to leave it unless it causes some problem.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 2:07PM
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miclino(5)

How well do these do in shade?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 5:00PM
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steve1young(7A)

Cyn', That's a great idea to grow them with the more sun-tolerant hostas. Perfect parterns: as the Allium folliage starts to look a bit ratty, the Hosta foliage takes its place.

I find that in my gardens Alliums don't bloom as well or perennialize as well in shade.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 5:12PM
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cyn427(z7aN. VA)

The link was posted on the American Hosta Society site. The other pic is just from google images.

Here is a link that might be useful: Smug gardens picture

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 6:45PM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Karin, does Purple Sensation lean more towards gray purple or does it have that rose pink tone to the bloom? I would love to add Alliums to my bed as well, but I don't do pink or any tone of it. Is there a true purple that you would recommend?

Sorry, Miclino, don't mean to hijack, hoping for a quick answer to this and then back to the original question!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 12:19PM
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miclino(5)

I got my answer so hijack away. Already planning my bulb order for fall.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Allium moly, A. uniflorum and A. triquetrum are all said to do well in partial shade. They are on the small side, although A. moly's bright golden yellow (the same color as trumpet daffodils) blooms can have a big impact in late spring.

Other *excellent* shade tolerant alliums include A. cernuum and A. stellatum. These are both natives and look gorgeous when in flower mid- to late summer.

Allium cristophii and A. katataviense are also a bit shade tolerant but really do seem happiest when in full sun. Neither have spread or multiplied much at all by bulb division, but A. cristophii reseeds itself very freely when the flower heads are left to mature. The seedlings and even adult plants are so well behaved that I just left them in place to do as they will. Maybe I will regret that decision in a few years, LOL!

I don't grow 'Purple Sensation' so can't comment, but 'Globemaster' is my overall favorite of the large globe types. Foliage is reasonably compact and blooms stay looking nice for a good 2-3 weeks. Almost all of my original bulbs doubled and flower heads were as large or larger than first year after planting. Stems were taller by at least 12-18 inches.

I have very well-drained sandy soil so I am not sure if that didn't contribute to their success. I saw many other clumps of 'Globemaster' around the city this spring that also seemed like they were multiplying and performing well.

I love alliums and have various types mixed in with all of my plantings.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 1:28PM
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mrtulin

In twenty years of growing different allium in zone 5 b I've never had one re-seed.
chives probably would, but I deadhead immediately.
Ozawa (fall blooming) just makes offsets expotentially (the cirle gets bigger and thicker) as time goes by. I've not have it reseed.
At the price, I wish christophii would reseed.
idabean/marie

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 4:11PM
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NHBabs z4b-5a NH(4b-5aNH)

In my garden Allium 'Globemaster' flops in an area with too little sun.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 6:00PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

'Purple Sensation' looks a lot like 'Globemaster' in everyone's pics. The color is purple, I don't think it has much pink in it. Globemaster is hardy only to zone 5 so that's why I use PS.

Here is one photo showing Purple Sensation, and I'll put another in the next post.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 7:21PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Purple Sensation in a cut flower bouquet.
Partners are the frizzy seedheads from pasqueflower, chives and lady fern.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 7:22PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Forgive me, I'm bored in an airport. Here is another photo with special guest star, Inga. :)

This post was edited by karin_mt on Tue, Jun 25, 13 at 19:29

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 7:28PM
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miclino(5)

we love the pics. Well I took advantage of the 10% discount at Brent and Becky's and ordered purple sensation, nigrum (to plant together), christophii and drumstick allium as well.

Its all your fault people!!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:46PM
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linaria_gw

Hi there,
I tended a garden for 3 years, A. affl Purple Sensation growing in a perennial border on dry sandy soil (with irrigation system). I cant remember finding seedlings or having a problem with the bulbs multiplying.

Now at my own garden I have both Purple Sensation and A. nigrum (aka multibulbosum). Soil is quite heavy and getting somewhat dry in summer.
They all are doing fine, the Purple S flowers at least 3 weeks earlier than A nigrum, and nigrum is getting taller. And it is my impression that A christophii is flowers well after Purple S.
I didn`t do an exact head count but it could be that A nigrum got more flower heads per spot, so perhaps the bulbs splitt (what the older synonym "multibulbosum" indicates...). No seedlings after 2 seasons, and I dont dead head. Partner plats are a little tricky though. My A nigrum is planted in a dry bed with Sedums, Gaura and some medium sized stuff, and in early spring it was crowding the neighbors with its foliage. I plan to move some an partner them with white centranthus ruber.

Well, have fun placing and planting yours,
bye, Lin

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 2:53AM
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miclino(5)

Oh, somehow got the impression that nigrum and purple sensation flowering times overlapped. The foliage does look like more than I expected in some pics

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:25AM
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linaria_gw

I looked through my pics, sorry, none proper from this season, but one from 20th May 2012. The purple-ish Allium should be A Purple S., the white ones A nigrum, not completely unfolded. This is their first season after planting, and I think the PS startet a tad earlier this year. The flower hardly overlaps in my garden, but I think, that the spent flowers are still nice to go with the white A nigrum. And those got definitely taller and bigger this year. Should look lovely anyway, bye, Lin

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 4:13PM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

I grow many varieties of Allium, and find that most of them will self-seed to the point of being a nuisance after several years. One that doesn't is 'Globemaster', the large lav.purple one. Globemaster is a hybrid of two different species, hence the sterility. Purple Sensation, moly, cernuum, flavum, karataviense, etc. all self-seed in my garden. Some folks want their alliums to seed around for an informal look, but if you want "neat and tidy", stay away from this genus.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 8:35AM
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Spicebush

I have Allium moly that only gets morning sun. It has multiplied a bit in the past five years and blooms well.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 6:35PM
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aseedisapromise

I've had Mt Everest reseed, and it is a big one. A moly will, and a small pink one. The little white ones all died out early. Purple Sensation never reseeded, but the bulbs multiplied plenty. I have heard that Allium sphaerocephalon has little bulblets that go everywhere along the stem of the flowers. So I might be cautious about that one.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 9:19PM
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kristie73(z5 Co Springs)

How does the Allium's do in windy Colorado Springs? I used to live in San Diego and loved the Blue Agapanthus blooming everywhere and can't grow that here, so maybe I should try the Alliums?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 1:27PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

UPDATE:

I am hooked on all things allium.

This spring I picked up several pots of the small, well-behaved (i.e. non spreading) Millenium edition.

I am wondering if you have had some experience with this cultivar in your garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: Millenium

This post was edited by rouge21 on Mon, May 12, 14 at 13:30

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 11:56AM
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Nevermore44 - 6a

I have a few of the larger varieties which never seed down for me... even if i leave a head on till the spring. The drumstick allium on the other hand i now classify as a weed. I left the heads on too long a few years back and now they are everywhere in the bed around the original plantings... in the crowns of other plants... just weedy. I try to dig/pull them when I can.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Campanula UK Z8

I am astounded at the lack of reseeding - must be a climate thing - all mine have a million tiny grass-like seedlings round every single adult.....and all species, from the enormous Gladiator to the tiny delicate A. narcissiflorum (my fave) seed like mad in my garden. Course, the seedlings, like all monocots, are fine and needle like - swiftly dispatched with a flick of the onion hoe.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 2:57PM
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shadeyplace(7)

I have a "fine and needle like" 'Hair' that reseeds and is totally obnoxious. I thought it would be great in arrangements.. arrrrrgh cannot get rid of it!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 3:18PM
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Nevermore44 - 6a

A. narcissiflorum.... that's a neat looking one with the nodding heads. nice

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Ah well yes, some of these alliums can sneak up on you unawares. A.ursinium (and A.triquetrum) totally slipped my mind - truly a (whiffy)pain once they get a hold. My apols for flippancy for anyone enduring the dreadful wild garlic plague. Much as I like odd plants, I have never tried A.schubertii (Hair)- this one also screams SEEDER!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 4:15PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

It does seem that one of the key "selling points" of Millenium is its inability to spread but insteads forms an attractive, short clump.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Rouge21, you will love your Allium 'Millenium'. It is a beautiful, very low maintenance and extremely easy to please garden plant. And yes, the flowers do not form seed but produce huge amounts of nectar that bees and butterflies will flock to.

I am also a bit Allium obsessed and I have discovered that like the smaller rhizomatous types and smaller bulbous types best of all. When in growth mode, the large globe alliums from Holland have the tendency to steamroll and suffocate many of my more delicate perennials so I have been removing them.

Allium cristophii is my favorite of the larger bulb types. The foliage is somewhat narrow and relatively well-behaved, and it is reliably perennial for me. It produces hundreds of grass-like seedlings every spring, but none of them seem to return the second year. I wish it would spread all over. I love it!

I also love the drumstick alliums. This plant returns each year from the bulbs, but does not appear to set seed in my garden. I also wish it would spread all over. The very narrow, grassy foliage mixes very well in a perennial border and barely takes up any space.

A new bulbous type for me this year is Allium obliquum. The plants are gorgeous and relatively compact, looking like a very elegant and tidy garlic. The twisting flower stems are striking and delightful. I would grow it for the flower buds alone, and I haven't even seen the flowers yet, lol! And it is very easy to start from seed!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 10:41PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

I have learned so much from this thread.

Keep the posts coming!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 12:22AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

you will love your Allium 'Millenium'. It is a beautiful, very low maintenance and extremely easy to please garden plant. And yes, the flowers do not form seed but produce huge amounts of nectar that bees and butterflies will flock to.

With this glowing first hand endorsement I made the always hard decision to remove 2 perennials. Specifically Blue Cushion lavender. They did make it through this difficult winter but there was lots of winter kill on each plant and their performance during the growing season was never outstanding. Anyways in place I planted two Millenium. (And now that I think of it these are the first two perennial plantings for me in 2014).

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 7:48AM
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