Family: Alliaceae

This large genus of hardy bulbous herbs comprises more than 700 species that grow in temperate Climates around the world. Relatives of the common onion, they mostly have a strong oniony smell. The leaves are either broad and flat or narrow and hollow, and the flowers bloom in spring and summer. Pretty ornamental varieties look attractive in pots, borders or rockeries. The spent flower heads make an unusual and softening addition to dried flower arrangements.


Most of these are suitable for zone 8.

A. aflatunense is almost 1 m (3 ft) high, with purple-lilac flowers.

A. cyaneum has blue, bell-shaped flowers growing to 30 cm (12 in) high.

A. macleanii has deep violet flowers and grows to 1 m (3 ft) high.

A. moly, zone 7, is an easily grown species with bright yellow flowers to a height of 15 cm (6 in).

A. narcissiflorum has bright rose pink, bell-shaped flowers and grows to 30 cm (12 in).

A. neapolitanum produces large, attractive white flowers suitable for cutting.

A. senescens with starry rose to whitish flowers, grows 30 cm (12 in) high.


Alliums like well-drained soil and full sun. They can adapt to temperate, cool and subtropical Climates. Plant bulbs in autumn at a depth equal to twice their diameter. Propagate by seed or by separating young bulbs in summer or autumn when dormant.


Albums can he grown in zones 5 to 9 depending on species.