Spotlight On Allium

Allium is a large plant family that includes onions, garlic, shallots, chives and garlic chives but also includes ornamental varieties that grace gardens with their sphere-shaped flowers on narrow stems. All parts of the Allium family smell like onions which keep deer, squirrels and rabbits at bay. Many Alliums can be planted as a bulb in autumn (garlic, Globemaster, Lily Leek) but some are offered in containers, grown by seed, as perennials (Millenium, chives).


The varieties that are planted as bulbs in autumn (garlic, Globemaster, Lily Leek) typically bloom in late spring. For these types, allow the flower stalk to die back naturally before removing it. Perennial types of Allium (Millenium, chives) bloom all summer or in late summer. The Allium family requires little care.  

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Use Allium ‘Globemaster’ in beds and amongst late-rising perennials. Use ‘Milennium’ along walks and on the edges of beds that need help remaining critter-proof. Try Lily Leek in beds where upcoming perennials will hide the fading foliage.

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Ornamental Onion Allium Globemaster

Zone: Zone 5, zone 6, zone 7, zone 8

Type: Bulb, perennial

Sun: Full sun

Height: Up to 30 inches

Width: Up to 20 inches

Bloom: Purple flowers in late spring/early summer

Uses: Butterfly gardens, accents, cottage gardens, home landscaping

Special features: Long-lasting and eye-popping, Allium Globemaster is a rather large bulb that is planted in autumn. In the spring, long strappy foliage appears long before the tall, sturdy stalk and disco ball of bright purple do. Let the stalk persist after blooming until it falls off naturally.

Ornamental Onion Allium ‘Millenium’

Zone: Zone 5, zone 6, zone 7, zone 8

Type: Perennial

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Height: Up to 18”

Width: Up to 18”

Bloom: Lavender blooms in late summer

Uses: Bird & butterfly garden, borders, beds, cottage garden, cutting garden, herb gardens Special Features: Prefers average, well-drained soils, low- maintenance, rabbit and deer repellent  

Millenium Ornamental Onion is perfect for beds and borders that tend to get snacked on by deer or rabbits. Low-maintenance and tolerant to most situations, they will spread by seed if not deadheaded.  

Lily Leek Allium moly

Zones: Zone 3, zone 4, zone 5, zone 6, zone 7, zone 8, zone 9

Type: Bulb, perennial

Sun: Full sun

Height: Up to 12 inches

Width: Up to 5 inches

Bloom: Yellow flowers in late spring

Uses: Beds, borders, cottage gardens, rock gardens

Special Features: Prefers rich, well-drained soil, tolerates sandy, gravelly soil

Lily Leek is an easy perennial bulb that is planted in autumn, it blooms the following spring. After its long-lasting blooms fade, let them die back on their own.