Gardening With Allium


One of my favorite bulbs is Allium. Squirrels, chipmunks and deer detest it, and that is a huge plus. It naturalizes where so many more Allium fill the gardens. Each year, I look forward to them blooming.


What you should note about this plant is that it brings great color and texture to span between early and summer perennials. This is a time when the garden lulls a bit. It blooms when the lilacs, peony, foxglove, roses and lupine bloom in OUR area. Your area may vary. Ground geranium, creeping phlox, tulips and forget-me-nots also are in bloom. Following Allium is the bearded iris most years, but on occasion they bloom together. When they go to seed, they look great with Asiatic lilies or the later blooming bearded iris varieties.

Some other plant partners include:

  • Japanese or Siberian iris
  • Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’
  • California or Flanders Poppies
  • Larkspur
  • Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’
  • Rosa glauca
  • Mt. Atlas Daisy
  • Columbine
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Meadow Rue
  • Thalictrum aquilegiifolium
  • Primrose
  • Liatris
  • Dutch Iris


Different varieties and color of Allium keep the bloom extended from May through June. Listed are some of the varieties in my garden.

  • Allium aflatunense
  • Allium azureum
  • Allium cowanii
  • Allium Globemaster
  • Allium stipitatum
  •  Allium christophii

Most Allium prefer full sun and well drained conditions, but preform well in my heavy clay.


My garden is above and the gardens of Chanticleer are below. Each year I visit Pennsylvania in May and miss my own show of Allium.


Above with Dutch Iris.


Peony makes a great partner.

Flander’s poppies bloom above along with lupine, white allium and climbing roses. Below, Thalictrum aquilegiifolium makes a nice partner, as does the tall foxglove planted nearby. They are shown creating drifts through cottage garden plantings.


Maybe these images will inspire you to plant some Ornamental Onion.



About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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50 Responses to Gardening With Allium

  1. Wow, what gorgeous photos! I planted a few allium bulbs last fall for the first time. I really appreciate your list of companion plants. Some wouldn’t bloom at the same time in my area but the irises would and I love that color combo you showed. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • The plants I listed don’t bloom at the same time every year, it depends on when winter decides to leave the area. This year plants will likely be bunched on bloom time again, but the lilacs and creeping phlox will most likely bloom way ahead.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Every year I add more of these beauties. Some bloom quite early for me while others bloom throughout the late spring and early summer. It is wonderful to see a flower that is left alone by the critters ad tolerates my climate and heavy clay. I will be noting again which ones bloom when and looking to add more.

    All the pictures here are amazing but I especially love the last 2….

  3. Gorgeous! I love my allium. They’re nice and tall, too.

  4. alesiablogs says:

    So very beautiful.

  5. Ah, my dear Donna what a wonderful Allium journey! 🙂

  6. I love allium dots, they float over the garden like colorful snowdrops, soap bubbles, tiny firedrops… (I love it so much that I could go on and on… ok, I quit!). They give a contemporary twist even to the oldest design.Thank you for the beautiful photos 🙂

  7. lorieb says:

    I love them too, and plant them in many clients’ gardens for a spring surprise

      • lorieb says:

        they work better than tulips etc as the squirrels do not like them as you mentioned

        • Very true, but planting tulips in the same large planting hole or garden bed keeps the squirrels at bay. I have scores of squirrels here and do not lose tulips. I have a few other tricks, like in fall, placing a large rock over the new planting hole, then removing about now in our climate. I just did that yesterday as a matter of fact. I do not mess with the wire. Too dangerous when digging in new plants to snag or cut myself. People always forget about where bulbs are planted and using markers looks a bit strange when so numerous. Not to mention, bulbs move with freeze/thaw and end up in different spots.

  8. johnvic8 says:

    You may want to look into Persian Star flower (Allium christofii), a beautiful allium that continues to play a role even when it goes brown.

  9. These photos are gorgeous! I don’t have any allium but will be adding some!

  10. Great photos! And good to hear that your alliums are doing well in heavy clay soil. I have the same challenge and your posting has reminded me to be sure to get more alliums in the garden this year!

    • I design gravel gardens and rock gardens for clients and use them in their sandy soils. Around us is the greatest planting and farming soils, but in my area along the Niagara Gorge, it is all limestone and heavy red clay. I do believe since we have a lot of rock in the ground, the soil drains better for the bulbs. In summer, it almost impossible to keep the ground moist, anything watered goes right to ground quickly.

  11. I really love the alliums too. Especially the fact that the deer do not like them. They add a nice focal point to some areas of the garden. I loved your photos and the one in the fog is just great.
    I usually end up cutting down the dead flowers, but I think I’ll let some of them go to seed to see how they multiply. I would love to have more in my gardens.

    • I never use them as a focal point in design. They look so much better massed. In the images from Chanitcleer, you can see how their designers use this plant. Nowhere is there a group of them, all the beds have them throughout and quite a lot of them too. What is nice if not leaving them standing through summer, they pop out so easily. I just collect them like I was collecting twigs for a fire. I shake the seed too. If you notice, they really don’t take away from the summer plants at all, at least in our climate.

  12. Melissa Shaw-Smith says:

    Wonderful plant, gorgeous gardens. Thanks for brightening up my day!

  13. Wonderful posting, Donna! I planted alliums for the first time last fall and now I’m anxious to see how they turn out. I didn’t plant them in my tulip bed, though, and wish I had since I read your comment. Also, wish I had put rocks over the tulips, as the bed is now full of holes (darn squirrels) — I’ll be surprised if any come up. If only my garden would look just a little like the one with the arches near the end of your posting … P. x

  14. When the Irises, Peonies, and Alliums bloom at the same time (some years), it’s pure magic. And, the combination is spectacular in a bouquet!

  15. Christine B. says:

    Alliums fall into that category of plant that cheers me even when it’s dried up and dead. Not many spring bloomers do that for me, so I am making a mental notation to replant my favorite alliums in my new garden. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Christine in Alaska, not even a single Allium planted (sniff)

  16. lulu says:

    I didn’t know furry critters didn’t like allium. That must be why mine does so well. Last year I dried some and loved having it in fall arrangements.

  17. londarmonica says:

    Thank you for this beautiful journey!

  18. I love allium too. If you have enough of it, it will start self-sowing in the garden. Chanticleer certainly does use it well.

  19. Donna-this is a great post. I have always admired Allium blooms in spring while visiting Old Westbury Gardens and Planting Fields Arboretums here on Long Island. I finally planted some Globe Master and Mont Blanc bulbs in my garden last fall and am anxiously waiting to see their purple and white blooms in my garden. Even the leftover seed heads are wonderful to photograph so I am looking forward to that.

    • You will enjoy them. If like here, they have their showing at a great time of year. I like a long showing, so I do have different varieties, but I never seem to photograph the white. Maybe this year I will be home and get a shot of them.

  20. This is a fantastic post. I really love some of the combinations you show. The Chicago Botanic Garden has masses of Alliums mixed with Peonies – they put on a wonderful show. Last fall I planted a bunch of Allium stellatum and a late-blooming variety called ‘Summer Beauty’.

  21. Since we are just having the first signs of spring here in S.E. Ohio, Donna (crocus and the first daffodils), these garden photos are MOST welcome.

  22. A.M.B. says:

    Beautiful! I should consider planting allium. I can’t plant anything the deer will eat.

  23. Of Gardens says:

    I, too, love allium and plant many different varities, many of the ones you list. I like to say they give good bang for the buck in the garden – big, colorful, unusual shape, last a long time and can be used in dry arrangments – all good characteristics, and they don’t get eaten. Fabulous, valuable plant

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