Alliums are incredibly long-lived and bloom for weeks on end, bridging the gap between spring and summer. Bearing beautiful pompom flowers in various shades of purple, they make a dramatic statement when planted en masse. Alliums are excellent for cutting and are loved by bees. They also look good dried.
How to grow alliums
Grow alliums in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. It’s a good idea to grow alliums among low-growing herbaceous plants, which hide their unsightly strappy foliage. Let allium foliage die down naturally after flowering, and consider leaving the flowerheads in place as they look attractive in their own right, particularly in winter. Mulch annually with well-rotted compost or manure.
Browse our list of 10 gorgeous alliums to grow in your garden, below.
Best alliums to grow – Allium sphaerocephalon
The drumstick allium, Allium sphaerocephalon, is a striking allium, bearing dense green drumstick-style flower heads which mature to maroon-red. It’s a great choice for growing in a mixed herbaceous border among ornamental grasses, or gravel gardens. It also works well in pots.
H x S: 90cm x 8cm
Best alliums to grow – Allium christophii
Allium cristophii produces striking globes of violet, star-shaped flowers in early summer. The long, linear leaves die back before the blooms appear in early summer.
H x S: 60cm x 20cm
Best alliums to grow – Allium decipiens
Allium decipiens is native to Central Asia and China. It bears pretty clusters of lilac-pink, star-shaped flowers on tall stems. It’s a fantastic choice for growing in sunny borders and patio container displays.
H x S: 90cm x 10cm
Best alliums to grow – Allium ‘Millennium’
Allium ‘Millennium’ is a fantastic mid- late-summer-flowering allium, bearing large, rounded heads of pink-purple flowers in June and July. It’s perfect for growing in a mixed herbaceous border and is best planted in large groups.
H x S: 40cm x 45cm
Best alliums to grow – Allium cernuum
Allium cernuum is a clump-forming allium, bearing open clusters of pink, nodding flowers with protruding yellow stamens. It’s an extremely attractive variety and is easy to grow. It’s perfect for growing in a mixed herbaceous border or in drifts as part of a prairie scheme.
H x S: 50cm x 10cm
Best alliums to grow – Allium ‘Globemaster’
Allium ‘Globemaster’ bears rounded, deep violet flower heads, 15-20cm in diameter, from late spring to early summer. It works well when planted in drifts with ornamental grasses and other alliums, including lighter flowered ‘Beau Regard’.
H x S: 1m x 50cm
Best alliums to grow – Allium nevskianum
Hailing from Afghanistan and Tadjikistan, Allium nevskianum is a low-growing and rarely grown allium, bearing large, deep red globular flower heads above attractive, large blue-grey leaves. Grow it at the front of the border or make a feature of several planted together in a pot.
H x S: 30cm x 20cm
Allium ‘Mont Blanc’
Best alliums to grow – Allium ‘Mont Blanc’
Allium ‘Mont Blanc’ bears dense, spherical flower heads of white, star-shaped flowers on tall, upright stems in late-spring and early summer. It’s a great choice for sunny borders and gravel gardens, where it can be planted in clumps, or drifts among ornamental grasses and other alliums. It makes a wonderful cut flower.
H x S: 1.1m x 20cm
Best alliums to grow – Allium schubertii
Allium schubertii is an unusual-looking allium, bearing spiky heads of flowers with stems of different lengths, resulting in a dramatic effect. Individual florets are purple with a green centre. It’s perfect for growing in sunny borders and in pots as an unusual centrepiece, and it makes a striking cut flower.
H x S: 50cm x 25cm
Best alliums to grow – Allium forrestii
Allium forrestii is a rare dwarf species of allium, native to meadows and gravelly slopes of China. It has grassy foliage and delicate claret coloured flowers.
H x S: 25 cm x 10cm
Best alliums to grow – Allium ‘Mars’
Allium ‘Mars’ bears well-formed, dark-red-purple, compact flower heads in late-spring and early summer. It’s is a fantastic choice for sunny borders, and works well when planted in drifts with ornamental grasses and other alliums.
H x S: 1.1m x 30cm
Allium ‘Purple Sensation’
Best alliums to grow – Allium ‘Purple Sensation’
The tall flowers of Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ appear in summer, showing off rounded heads full of deep violet flowers. It’s best to remove the immature seed-heads as the seedlings tend to have paler flowers.
H x S: 80cm x 30cm.
Best alliums to grow – Allium ‘Dready’
Allium ‘Dready’ is a cultivar of Allium vineale, as is related cultivar ‘Hair’. ‘Dready’ refers to the masses of dreadlock-like curling tendrils in green-red, which grow out from mauve drumstick flower heads.
H x S: 40cm x 10cm.
Best alliums to grow – Allium falcifolium
Native to California and southern Oregon, Allium falcifolium is a relatively rare, low-growing alpine allium, bearing deep pink-purple shaggy flowers in late summer.
H x S: 20cm x 10cm
Best alliums to grow – Allium amphibolum
Allium amphibolum is a rarely seen drumstick allium hailing from Western China, having wiry stems and small, shaggy flower heads in light pink, with a sweet fragrance.
H x S: 40cm x 10cm
Allium ‘Purple Caila’
Best alliums to grow – Allium ‘Purple Caila
Allium ‘Purple Caila’ bears large flower heads of purple, star-shaped florets on tall, bare stems in late spring to early summer.
H x S: 20cm x 30cm
Allium ‘Red Mohican’
Best alliums to grow – Allium ‘Red Mohican’
Allium ‘Red Mohican’ is a striking allium, bearing unusual, maroon-red drumstick-style flower heads with extra tufts at the top, tipped with tiny white flowers (resembling a mohican).
H x S: 90cm x 20cm
Allium rosenbachianum ‘Album’
Best alliums to grow – Allium rosenbachianum ‘Album’
Allium rosenbachianum ‘Album’ bears globular, flower heads of star-shaped white florets with a green eye. As they mature, the green eyes become seed cases held on thin stalks, to striking effect.
H x S: 80cm x 30cm
Allium ‘Purple Rain’
Best alliums to grow – Allium ‘Purple Rain’
Allium ‘Purple Rain’ is a cross between Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ and Allium Cristophii. It bears huge purple, globe-shaped flower heads measuring up to 15cm in diameter.
H x S: 90cm x 30cm
Alliums to grow – Allium caeruleum
Allium caeruleum is an unusual blue-flowered allium. It bears small, dense globes of star-shaped flowers on sturdy stems.
H x S: 60cm x 25cm