Different Types Of Allium That You Can Grow

Allium is a genus of plants that includes some of the most common vegetables and bulbous plants in cultivation. They are native to the Old World (i.e., Europe, Asia, and Africa). There are around 400 species worldwide. Around 100 of these are found in North America.

The genus includes onions, garlic, scallions, leeks, and chives. All of these are used as food plants or as ornamental plants in horticulture.

Most alliums have hollow leaves. This is not to be confused with the leaf that is usually referred to as a stem. The difference is that a hollow leaf is thin with very little and sometimes no woody vascular tissue. It is usually pale colored and tightly wrapped around the plant. This type of leaf can also be referred to as petiole or blade.

Allium Schubertii

This is a perennial herb that grows wild in many areas on the Northern Hemisphere. The leaves are composed of several pairs of leaflets. These are long, tapering and grass-like with sheaths at their bases. They have a strong onion scent and taste when crushed.

The flowers appear from April until May. These are purple or white and grow in a spherical umbel of 20 to 30 together, appearing above the leaves.

Allium Ursinum

This is an herbaceous perennial that grows wild in many parts of Western Europe. It has grass-like, hollow stems with broad green leaves which have onion scent when crushed. The flowers, which appear during May to June, are whitish in color and form an umbel of 20-30 together. The leaves, flowers, stems and roots of this plant have been used for medicinal purposes such as treating colds or reducing swellings.

Allium Cepa

This is a bulbous perennial that grows wild across most of Europe, Asia and North America. The onion has a long tradition of being cultivated for food. They have flat, linear leaves which grow continuously till the plant begins to flower in summer or autumn. These disappear before the umbel appears.

The flowers appear during June to July and are white to pinkish in color with six tepals arranged in two whorls. There are also six stamens and one pistil present in the flowers. The outer ring of petals is smaller, while the inner rings are larger. The outer tepals curl backwards and have wavy edges, which can be variously colored from brown to pink or purple.

Allium Ascalonicum

This is a perennial herb which originated in Asia Minor and the Mediterranean Basin. It has large, flat leaves which are very similar to garlic in shape. They can be up to 50 centimetres long and have a strong onion smell when crushed. The bulb contains several cloves but is not used as food.

The flowers appear during June to July. These have six white tepals inside which are arranged in two whorls. The tepals form a perianth tube around the single pistil present in the flower. There are three stamens. The outer ring of petals is smaller than the inner one, which is much larger.

Allium Chamaemoly

This is a bulbous perennial which originated in Asia. It grows wild mainly in the Mediterranean region. The leaves are flat, linear with hollow blades (petiole) and long sheaths at their bases. These are leathery, rigid and have onion scent when crushed. They appear during June to July.

Allium Cristophii

This herb originated in the Mediterranean region and Asia Minor. The leaves are flat, linear with hollow blades (petiole) and long sheaths at their bases. These are leathery, rigid and have onion scent when crushed. They appear during June to July.

The flowers of this plant are pink or purple and have six white tepals arranged in two whorls. These surround the single pistil present in the flower, which has three stamens. The outer ring of petals is smaller than the inner ring, which is much larger.

Allium Porrum

This herb originated in southern Europe and Western Asia. This plant is grown from a bulb which is spherical to egg-shaped and very large in size. The leaves are flat, long, grass-like with sheaths at their bases. They have onion scent when crushed

The flowers appear during May to June and are white or pinkish in color. These grow in an umbel of 20 to 30 together. Allium Porrum has a single common stigma with six stamens. The outer ring of petals is smaller than the inner one, which is larger.

Allium Schoenoprasum

This herb originated in southern Europe and Western Asia. This plant is grown from a bulb which is spherical to egg shaped and very large in size. The color of the bulb ranges from white to yellow. The plant is small in size, which is generally not more than 2 feet tall.

A.Schoenoprasum has been known by several different names in several different countries, which includes

Allium Giganteum

This herb originated in Southwestern China and Mongolia. This plant has a very large round bulb with layers of fleshy leaves around it. The stems are hollow and slightly curved. The leaves are flat and grass like, as well as the flowers that bloom from it.

The flowers that bloom are very large in size, and can sometimes measure up to 10 inches in diameter. The color of the flower ranges from yellow to dark red. 

Allium Bulgaricum

 This herb originated in Bulgaria. This plant has an egg shaped bulb that is usually white or purple. The stems are rigid and straight, reaching about 2 feet tall. The leaves of this plant are sword like, with the flower being a slender stalk topped by a round ball of petals.

The flowers that bloom on this plant are usually purple or white.

Allium Caeruleum

This herb originated in Central Asia and China. This plant has a bulb which is relatively small and thin, sometimes being called a false onion. This false onion can grow 6 inches to 1 foot tall, with the leaves coming from the base of the stem. 

The flowers that bloom come from a long thin stalk which is topped by a spherical cluster of numerous florets. The color of the flower ranges generally from light purple to blue to white.

Allium ‘Globemaster’

This herb originated in the United States of America. This plant has a globe shaped bulb that is irregular to round and usually white or yellow, but can also be pink, red, purple, brownish-purple, violet or lavender. The leaves are normally purple streaked green which are thin and flat and grow in layers around the bulb.

Allium ‘Globemaster’ is a cultivar of the Allium Schoenoprasum 

The flower that blooms on this plant are purple and grow from a long stalk topped by a spherical cluster of numerous florets.

Allium ‘Ringmaster’

It has medium length, straight stems with a purple-to-lavender ground color and very bright white midveins. Leaf blades are lance shaped.

It has large flowers that are at their best if the weather is sunny and warm. ‘Ringmaster’ grows in full to partial sun with regular water when established, and blooms in late spring to early summer.

This kind of allium does the best in climates where winters are mild, with a maximum temperature of around 25 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit [-4 to 1 degree Celsius]

Allium Giganteum

It has a relatively high resistance to disease. It is one of the tallest species with hollow stems reaching up to 3 feet in height and 1 foot across. The bulbs are large, usually weighing about 10 pounds each, and should be planted outside when temperatures are above freezing.

This plant can be grown in full sun or light shade with consistent moisture. It usually blooms in spring and summer, with flowers that are red to dark pink in color.

It is a strong performer, rarely showing any signs of disease or pest damage. The plant can get up to 2 feet across at the base, so it needs plenty of room for growth and flowering.

Purple Sensation Allium

This plant has a variety of bright purple stems. The flowers that bloom on this plant are lavender to blue with dark purple leaves. This species prefers full sun, thriving in soil that is rich and well drained. It requires regular watering after the first year so it can establish its roots.

It is usually pretty insect resistant, but can be damaged by slugs and snails.

Allium Indicum (Indian Onion)

This plant has an onion like bulb that varies in weight from .5 ounces to 1 pound or more. Allium Indicum prefers fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. Plants should be spaced about 10 to 12 inches apart and do best in full sun to light shade with a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit [-4 degrees Celsius].

A mature plant can grow up to 8 inches tall indoors, but it is rare to see them get much taller outdoors. The flowers that bloom on this species are purple or white.

Chives (Allium Schoenoprasum)

Chives are a perennial that grow in clumps of long, narrow leaves with purple flowers and develop roots off its bulbs. The leaves can be used fresh, or dried for later use. Chives like to be planted in full sun to part shade. They are tolerant of soil that is moist and well drained.

Chives are very easy to grow; they do perform better and live longer when given regular water but can tolerate drought conditions. They have a long growing season of about six months, so the chive will not stop flowering until it freezes after which they will re-emerge in the spring.

Chives spread by sending out runners which means they will take over an area if you are not careful. These plants have a weak root system and need to be divided every 3 or 4 years.

The flowers bloom on these plants from July until August, with pyramid shaped white flowers tinged with pink at the tips of each petal. Flowers attract butterflies and bees because of their sweet honey like scent.

Allium Sphaerocephalon

The flowers on this plant are large and pink with a soft green to white center. This plant likes slightly moist but well drained soil, full sun or part shade, and temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit [-4 degrees Celsius]. When the weather is warm and sunny it starts to grow from early spring until early fall and blooms in the summer for about 3 months.


Are there any pests that like to eat allium?  

There are not any pests that like allium; however, slugs and snails will often eat them.

How do you keep weeds out of an allium?

You can keep weeds from Allium by putting mulch around the base of the plant and pulling any weeds by hand as soon as they come up. Do NOT use weed killers since they will kill the Allium in addition to the weeds.

You can make your own mulch by using shredded leaves, and spreading them around the base of your plant every 3 months. The downside to this is that you need to have a lot of free time to do it on a regular basis.

How does an allium plant work in the garden?

Allium is a perennial that will last for years if treated correctly. They can be planted almost anywhere, and you can plant them close together since they are usually not bothered by weeds or pests.  They do need plenty of room to grow so they are often used as border plants instead; this way they can spread and fill the space between plants.

Allium is a great ornamental plant because it has flowers during most of the year, although those that bloom in spring are often less robust than later blooms in summer and fall.

There are not any major problems with allium; if slugs or snails get to your Allium, you may have some of the flowers and leaves damaged.

How do alliums grow over time?

Usually an Allium will stay in the same size pot for at least 3 years before it needs to be transplanted; however, if you are not using a plastic container then you can leave them in their original container until they outgrow the pot.

When you are ready to transplant, you will need to add soil amendments such as compost and manure for better drainage. If you want your Allium to spread throughout a garden area instead of staying in one spot, plant them in groups about 12 inches apart so they can spread out over time. Plus, this way if one dies, it won't ruin the group as you can remove that one and replace it with another.

What should I do if my bulb dies?

Usually if a bulb dies, it is because you did not water and feed it enough or at all. Be sure to check the soil each time you water your plant to see if it needs more food, and make sure the leaves are not droopy.

The best way to strengthen an Allium after transplanting is by adding fertilizer each month until the end of spring. If you planted in the fall then start feeding it after the first frost when it stops growing for the year, which is usually mid-November. Then feed your Allium every month until May or June; if you are using a water soluble plant food then follow your normal watering schedule and make sure to use only one tablespoon of fertilizer for each gallon of water you use.


This is a good ornamental to have for your garden because it will grow well in most soils and climates. It's not very picky about growing conditions, although you do need to make sure that the soil stays evenly moist but not soggy or dry. Since they are easy to care for and long lasting, they are great for a new gardener to plant and learn with.

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