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Allium

Zierlauch kaufen Allium Zwiebelblumen Lubera

Allium bulbs

Buying an allium bulb is a lot of fun because hardly any other kind of flower bulbs provide as much good mood in the garden as the ornamental onion (Allium). Witty and cheeky, these lovely flowers rise out of perennial beds and conjure up a smile on every gardener’s face. The huge white variety 'Mount Everest' or the golden garlic (Allium moly) with its yellow flowers are fine examples of Allium and the joy these plants can bring. Even when planted in a pot on a balcony, the flower bulbs of numerous Allium varieties can flourish well. Ornamental onions can be found in a variety of colours, from classic purple to violet and blue, to white and yellow varieties that are particularly great in flower borders. The flowers of some Allium varieties are only as big as chives; others reach the size of a football. And not all are round like the white balls of 'Mount Everest'. There are also bell-shaped and ruffled Allium species that look as if they have just crawled out of bed. For example, Allium 'Hair' is such a funny, swirling bulbous perennial.

Which Allium bulbs are there to buy?

At Lubera you will find a large selection of Allium bulb varieties, so now you will be spoiled for choice. There is the classic, small, globular Allium spaerocephalon with its egg-shaped, pink to dark reddish brown flowers, Allium caeruleum with its azure flower balls full of happy stars as well as the gigantic Allium christophii, whose umbels are 20 centimetres wide, not to mention the big, white 'Mount Everest' variety and the cheeky Sicilian honey garlic (Nectaroscordum siculum). Common to all Allium varieties is that their flowers are composed at the base of small tubes. In the large-flowered ornamental garlic species, these usually lead to conspicuous stars. These flower bulbs form spheres, egg shapes, bells, stars or cup-shaped formations. With some Allium bulbs the flowers are upright, others are hanging on the stems like bells. The smallest get only one centimetre big; the largest can reach a diameter of 30 centimetres. In this large selection you will surely find exactly the right Allium plants for your garden.

When thinking of how to display your Alliums the proportions of the Allium flowers should combine well with the perennials and summer flowers that you have in your garden. Contrasts in size and shape can also be appealing. For example, a giant ornamental onion tends to look even larger when it rises above small-flowered perennials such as lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis). Catnip is also a good partner. Smaller Allium species develop their effect particularly well in groups and these can be planted together more densely. Or you can make them stand out from delicate summer flowers so that overall a filigree-like an image is created. There are a thousand ways to display Alliums in the garden. It's best to just try it out. And if something does not go so well, then the bulbs can easily be dug up again after flowering. And if there are too few, you can buy even more of these plants for the next season. Most of the time the required amount of these bulbs is underestimated.

   
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The timing has to be right

Allium bulbs belong to a large genus of about 800 bulb flowers, and some species of rhizomes are considered to be Allium species. The rhizome-like Allium bulbs include the popular wild garlic, which grows mainly in beech forests throughout the northern hemisphere. Most Allium bulb species come from dry and mountainous areas and are also widely distributed in the northern hemisphere. The first ornamental species bloom in the spring, but many only in the summer. Overall, the flowering period of the species ranges from April to September, with most of them blooming in May and June. And in some, especially large varieties, the withered heads look very decorative even far into autumn. When planning to have these wonderful plants in the garden, one must pay attention to the right timing, so that the selected varieties then harmonise with the corresponding plant partners not only in colour but also in terms of time.

Plant correctly

Once the Allium bulb varieties have been selected for the respective location and good, fresh bulbs have been ordered, it is time to prepare the location. These bulbs need a sunny spot with nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. If waterlogging is a problem, sand and some humus must be incorporated beforehand. Larger allium bulbs should be placed on a bed of coarse sand. For this purpose, the planting hole should be dug a few centimetres deeper than required.

Most of these bulbs are quite small, and also rather soft. They should be handled carefully. Also, they can soon be attacked by grey mould. Thus they should be planted as soon as possible after purchase, and the bulbs should not be left lying around too long in the pack. Depending on the size, the bulbs are placed into the ground about five to 10 centimetres deep. These varieties must not be planted too deep. Your bulbs will then grow themselves deep into the ground.

When buying and planting Allium bulbs, you should make sure that, like most flower bulbs, they are displayed in groups, where they are most beautiful. Larger species are best used between perennials and with summer flowers. Smaller varieties should be planted on the edge of the borders, or they find their own place in rock gardens. If you plant them in the garden between other perennials and summer flowers, the distances between the individual flower bulbs may be greater than what is commonly used for flower bulbs. Large-flowered Alliums can be inserted well into the perennial bed at a distance of one-half to one metre. The effect of these plants is particularly effective in the garden. When distributed all over the bed, at irregular intervals from the other perennials, they will look as if they had appeared there by themselves naturally.

Maintaining the plants

Alliums have a fairly short growing season. From the moment of leaf shoots to flowering, there are only a few weeks in between. After the flowers, the seeds ripen quickly and the inflorescences dry up. This has to do with the fact that most species come from barren steppe and mountainous regions, where the summers are very dry. In the garden, this means that you should just give the larger varieties an application of fertiliser to strengthen them as they sprout. After flowering, leave them alone, and in the summer they should not be watered. During flowering, the foliage sometimes already withers. If that looks very disturbing, the yellow leaves can be removed. Otherwise, Allium does not need much care. These bulbs can grow undisturbed in a dry location for many years and then like to multiply.

Pests and diseases

These flowers can sometimes be attacked by aphids and onion flies (Delia antiqua). In addition, powdery mildew and white rot can be a problem. A airy, sunny location helps against fungal diseases. In a container, they should only be watered very sparingly during the summer. Infested shoots should be removed immediately. When the problem gets too big, often only chemical insecticides help. Parasitic wasps, ground beetles and spiders really like to eat the larvae of the bulb flies. You should also weed any dandelions before flowering, as bulb flies thrive only when they can feed on the nectar of dandelion flowers.

Propagation

The ripe seeds of the Allium bulbs will look familiar to you: they look like chive seeds. They are quite large and black, well visible and easy to handle. They can be sown directly on the bed. Or, keep them in a paper bag in a cool, dry place, and sow them in the spring. They thrive best in a mixture of soil and sand in the cold box. It is important to note that Allium are cold germinators. After sowing, they must have temperatures around or just below freezing for a few weeks, allowing the seeds to germinate.

Group-forming Allium bulbs species with rhizomes, such as wild garlic, are good for propagating in springtime, just as you would otherwise do with perennials. The individual pieces can then be replanted.

Most species form a single bulb, out of which then grow young daughter bulbs. These can be separated and planted. If you simply leave them on the bed, these Allium species form larger clumps themselves over the years. But there are also types with elongated bulbs, which grow from elongated rhizomes. And in some special Allium species, the bulbs form in the inflorescences. These look especially funny and can be easily propagated by simply collecting the mature bulbs and planting them again. Or you can make a natural-looking Allium garden by scattering the seeds around the mother plant. The seedlings will look like young chives or like blades of grass. Anyone who is not yet so practised in weeding and cannot distinguish between the young seedlings of the various plants will recognise the offspring of the ornamental bulbs by their typical smell.

Allium in floristry Zierlauch kaufen Allium Zwiebelblumen Lubera

The umbels of the large Allium bulb species are suitable for drying. Sometimes the flowers of the star-shaped Allium are also sprayed golden and used for Christmas floristry. For this, you should order enough plants, as well as for the fresh floristry. This is because even in the spring and summer during flowering, the Allium flowers are often used for bouquets. However, it should be remembered that they smell quite a bit like leeks, depending on the variety. However, this is not the case with the dried inflorescences of the large Allium varieties, as the penetrating odour evaporates when dried.

Edible plants

Allium species are leeks, and basically all part are edible, the bulbs and the foliage and flowers. When buying ornamental onions, you should consider that they actually fit into the vegetable garden. There are now about 900 Allium species worldwide. The classic vegetable Allium includes leek, onions and garlic. Wild garlic and chives are found both in the vegetable garden and sometimes on the edge of woody plants and perennial beds. For smaller varieties, the foliage can be cut and used like chives. However, not too much foliage should be used for the kitchen as this weakens the bulbs and then decreases the flowering power. Or you can order a few more bulbs and plant them in the garden with vegetables. Often the flowers of the smaller Allium varieties are used for decorating food. It is best to pluck the flower tubes or take the individual stars from the larger varieties and sprinkle them over salads or appetisers. You should not cook them, as they will then disintegrate and become unsightly.

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