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Allium Care - to deadhead?

I've been delighted to grow allium for the first time this year, and I've got a wonderful display of 'Purple Sensation' and some interspersed 'Mount Everest' among the perennials and the roses.

However, some of them are starting to 'go off' a bit - the flower colour fading, and the petals being lost. I can't quite figure out what happens next: I've read lots of advice that says "leave them, and admire the seed heads", and just as much that says 'dead head them' and almost treat them like tulips - leave the leaf structure to give energy back to the bulbs.

What do people do with their alliums, and why?


  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,111
    I leave them - they look fabulous (if a bit less colourful) for the rest of the year.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 4,845
    I always leave mine as the dried heads give interest for a long time, unless they get blown over.🙂
  • I leave mine as long as they remain upright as even the seedheads look good mixed in with my grasses.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,186
    You can leave them but be warned they will self seed everywhere.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 7,892
    I leave them for a few weeks but after that mine tend to start looking tatty so I chop the flowering stems off. This also prevents self-seeding. Self-seeding sounds wonderful but I believe it produces masses of wispy grass like seedlings which take years to flower. I do leave the leaves to die back naturally and give the bulbs a bit of a feed (chicken manure pellets) in the hope this will keep them healthy.

    I have no idea if this is the correct way to treat alliums but I've managed to keep them for 4 years in a garden where many bulbs seem to go to die...
    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,149
    It's up to you.  I like to leave the heads to go to seed as they're attractive.   Some I then pick and hang up to dry out for autumn decs and I have been known to spray the big firework type Schubertii heads for Xmas decs.

    If they do set seed they're easy enough to hoe up or pot up and grow on if you wish.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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