pretty petals – allium

May 22, 2014

Did you know that allium is Latin for the word garlic? From the monocot genus, allium come from the same family as edible garlic, onions, leeks and chives. There are hundreds of species of the monocot genus, but only about a dozen are grown for culinary purposes; the rest are ornamental, like the beautiful floral specimens that we get to play with in the flower studio!  And yes, even the ornamental ones smell like onions!

Allium are easy to grow in the garden.  They are a herbaceous perennial that perform very well in our cold Canadian climate.  They grow from a bulb and continue to multiply year after year. And as for the vase life as a cut flower, alliums are tops.  They are very long lasting and continue to look fabulous as they dry out.

As a person aside, I think that the thing I love the most about allium is seeing them growing in the garden.  Standing as high as 4 feet tall at times, the giant globes of flowers just seem to defy gravity.  How is it that such slender stems can support such a massive bloom? Very impressive!


Selection of cultivated alliums displayed at the BBC Gardeners’ World show in June 2011


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