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Unhappy Alliums

For the second year running my Alliums (Purple Sensation and Sphaerocephalon) have been disappointing. They started growing well but then the leaves, foliage and stems wilted and are covered in brown spots. Very few have flowered. Should I dig them up and dispose of them? 


  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge Posts: 3,502
    Hi @Kephigoo, it's normal for Allium leaves to look manky and start to die back when the bulb is flowering. My P Sensation are the same.

    It is a bit early for sphaerocephalon to be flowering, at least for me in the north, whereabouts are you? Are they showing any buds?

    If some of the P Sens are not flowering I'd dig up the bulbs. If they are whitish and firm I would store until autumn and plant them again at 3 times the depth.
    Wearside, England.
  • Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 1,048
    Sphaerocephalon are usually July for me I think.

    I'm not sure where a lot of places get their information on them from, have often seen them written as spring flowering for them. Nowhere near it in my experience.
  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 Posts: 933
    edited June 2020
    Sphaeracephalon are summer flowering - usually around July here (West Midlands). The leaves should still be looking good though and we have buds just starting to develop.

    I would do as @Victoria Sponge has suggested for the Purple Sensation. It may be that your soil is too moist and I think most of us had a very wet Autumn and winter this year. Sphaeraceohalon is the only one her that has come back every year in the same numbers for us. Our other alliums including Purple Sensation gradually died off over about three years and some did still produce leaves for a few years but no or very small flowers. If that’s the cause the bulbs will look pretty sad and some may have rotted off.

     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    Sphaeros are one of the easiest as they cope better with wetter conditions. July for them here too, although some of mine are already showing buds as they're right up against the house wall, facing south, in a raised bed.

    That yellowing is normal, but the spotting does suggest the soil's on the soggy side. 
    The Purple Sensations may well have succumbed if that's the case. I'd do as @Victoria Sponge suggests and dig one or two up. If they're not rotted, you could try potting them up for now, just to see if it helps, and then take a look at the soil conditions.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • KephigooKephigoo Posts: 11
    Thanks for the replies. Yes I realised that the Sphaerocephalon flowered later but they've all wilted before flowering. It's the spots that are the worry. If it's some kind of disease maybe it could spread, although all the Alliums seem to be infected already! I'm in Wiltshire. Soil is clay so its a little wet in winter and they're in an area that is a little shady. Think I'll do as @Victoria Sponge suggests and dig up a couple and inspect them. Thanks again for the advice.
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