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Rescued Alliums -- cross posting

Posted by lynnt Z7 MD (My Page) on
Wed, May 19, 10 at 21:45

This is a cross-posting from the Alliums forum -- thanks for your help!

I live in the suburbs of Washington DC, Z7b. Last week on my way to work I encountered a county crew refreshing one of the local municipal flower beds. They were digging up the tulips and alliums in preparation for putting in summer annuals. To make a long story short, I rescued about two dozen ornamental onion bulbs, already shorn of their leaves and scapes, as well as dozens of flower scapes.

1) What is the best way to dry the scapes for flower arrangements: hang them upside down? Stick them upright in a vase? Something else?

2) I've read enough through the Alliums forum to understand that it's best to plant alliums in Fall to avoid rot during dormancy. OK, how should I store them meanwhile? In the fridge? In a mesh bag in the basement? Should I spread them out to dry for a while first -- if so, how long/how do I know they're ready?

3) Several of the scapes have small bulbils on them. How to plant these: on the soil surface? Buried? How deep?

I looked for an Allium forum FAQ but don't see one, just a thread with a series of good questions...

Many thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rescued Alliums -- cross posting

Just wondering here: do any local gardeners actually leave their Alliums in-ground over dormancy? Under what conditions? (eg at the foot of trees where the tree roots reduce the amount of water and produce a dry environment.)

You might choose to plant some in a suitable spot in the garden and put the others into net bags in a cool storage place. Plus put some into pots, with even old potting mix, so there is some protection from dehydration. And label them so there are no surprises come planting season. 'Belt, suspenders - and elastic!'

If you were going to wire the scapes for use you could air-dry, hung upside down. Or 'bury' them in cornmeal, or whatever you usually use for drying buds/entire flowers rather than petals. Personally, I'd sacrifice the stems.

RE: Rescued Alliums -- cross posting

I've never dug allium & stored over the summer, but I have dug daffodils. I would think it would be similar. I don't bother really drying the bulbs out unless the soil was really wet. I just dry a day or so then store in a mesh bag in a cool room.

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