5 min read
The onion, leeks, chives, and garlic are part of a genus called allium. Their color ranges from red to yellow and pale white having a mildly sweet flavor or pungent, depending on the variety. The bulbs of the onion develop in direct sunlight and are separated into two groups: the cultivars in short-days are producing the best bulbs but compared to the long-day ones are weaker in flavor. The variety obtained in long-days has a very strong flavor and can be kept in storage for a longer time and at a better quality.
The alliums come from the same genetical area as garlic, chives, shallots, or onions. People who grow them for decoration purposes, such as gardeners, wonder if adding alliums can cause an unpleasant salad-like smell to their floral wonders put to display, but you do not have to worry. The scent of these flowers is barely present and if there really is any, it is unnoticeable. To be able to smell it, you have to bruise the leaves or even crush or cut them.
Join us in this not-so-smelly adventure to discover this amazing plant and to show you a couple of reasons why the onion flower is a must-have in your garden, no matter if it is an indoor or outdoor one. We cover aspects such as:
* Origins and a short history of the onion flower
* Types of onion flowers
* How should you plant and grow the onion flower
Origins and A Short History of The Onion Flower
Shallots, garlic, and onions are part of the family called allium, which belongs, theoretically, in your vegetable garden. These plants have been cultivated in our gardens for more than 5,000 years and have been used as a medicine, in our food, as money, and even as aphrodisiacs.
The allium flowers are extremely beautiful with intricate patterns, and both the leaf and the flower have a tough constitution. Their bulbs are easy to cultivate and have a very rich and broad range of colors and heights. Even the time of blooming and the shape of the flower differs from one plant to the other.
The cut flowers of these amazing plants can take part in dried bouquets or even fresh ones, blending with other flowers creating a spectacular palette of colors.
Since the cultivating started, the onion flower has been moved around gaining world recognition. As for today, you can find a little over 700 types of allium, all of them being different in shape, color, and size.
The plant began to be popular in the 19th century, starting to intrigue the plant lovers in Russia. The Russian botanists began collecting and growing spectacular alliums brought from Central Asia. They started growing onion flowers and other allium plants at the Imperial Botanical Garden located in St. Petersburg. Not long after that, the British people saw the potential in this new and amazing garden-worthy plant and started using it.
Types of Onion Flowers
As mentioned above, there are quite a few allium types, with more than 700 of them around the world. The ones presented above are some of the more popular ones and the ones we love the most. Here are some more:
* Purple sensation, or the “ornamental onion,” has a diameter of 2 to 4 inches with a strong purple globe that blooms in the early days of June, following the late tulips of this period. The stems of this onion flower are very sturdy, rising at heights between 24 inches and up to 30 inches high, giving the illusion that the flowers float above every other plant surrounding them.
* Ozawa allium, also called the allium thunbergii ozawa, is a tidy and clump-forming one, growing between 18 inches and 20 inches high. They are one of the lazy ones when it comes to blooming, not opening until late September or early October. They are one of the last blooming perennials, but this does not stop bees from loving them. Their pink flowers go very well with other tall flowers such as gaillardia or even coreopsis.
* Globemaster is the tallest but also the most architectural one. The blooming time is somewhere in mid-June. Having a couple of these in purple color can really catch someone’s eye. If you choose the purple ones, they look fabulous around white or even pink peonies. This onion flower is also called “Gladiator” given its size.
* Corkscrew allium is a very tolerant onion flower, not having to bother too much about growing in dry soil. The blue and green leaves twist around each other and end up looking like some loose corkscrews, therefore their name. Their blooming time is in late summer.
* Schubert allium is perhaps the most dramatic one, at only 8 inches tall. Its umbels are only a foot wide and look like a pink firework display in full explosion. They are guaranteed to bring some comments about your garden by your visitors! One more feature of this allium is the seeds, which look very interesting for more than a month after the blooming fades away.
How Should You Plant and Grow the Onion Flower
It is time for us to teach you how to grow the onion flower in the comfort of your house. Whether you choose to grow it in an outdoor bed or a pot or barrel inside your house, do not worry since it is very easy to cultivate and serves as an amazing piece of decor.
For an outdoor bed, you need a location with draining soil. Location is important when growing onion flowers since they need a lot of sunlight. The best stems are cultivated in bright sunlight. The holes where you plant the bulbs should be 4 to 8 inches deep and 6-8 inches apart of each other, everything depending on which type of onion flower you are growing.
For indoor growing, such as pots or barrels, the rules are the same. Choose a spot where the sunlight is directly hitting your well drained and quality soils.