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Talkback: Growing alliums: best varieties

And avoid Allium triquetrum which can escape into the verges and out into the country where it is threatening our native hedge flowers. I have also seen advertised Allium vineale which will colonise lawns and make the garden smell of onions every time the grass is mown. Allium tuberosa is looking great at the moment and is noy too tall, about two feet, and white. I like your selection, James. Allium unifolium is one of my favourites.


  • kathryn/brock, discombobulated is an American slang word meaning disconcerted or disturbed. It is a difficult word to say or spell but entertaining to use occasionally. Gardeners who read their Gardeners World Mag. assiduously and contribute to this blog are hardly likely to be so. Does the editor read the responses to your blog as well, James?
  • Shouldn't have this article been called "Varieties of Alliums"? As disappointingly, there is nothing about growing them in this article.
  • If you have neutral or alkaline soil, tottenham, alliums are very easy to grow. Just buy the bulbs and put in pot or border, about three times the depth of the bulb. The large purple ones look stunning planted to rise above lavender bushes. They look best in big clumps with something frothy beneath tem as they stand up like soldiers and need softening, I think. Alchemilla mollis would look good or pink hardy geraniums.
    To ensure the bulbs go on flowering year after year don't let them seed, but cut the flowerhead down to 2inches when it is past its best. Have a go. I think you'll get gasps of admiration for your display.
  • Tottenham - good point, thank you for that. We have amended the title accordingly.


  • I am on heavy clay and always struggled growing alliums with any great success. I have planted them on a bed of gravel which helps but they have never really 'taken off' Any varieties which might suit? (the bigger the better!!)??

  • Higgy, try growing leeks in your clat and let them go to seed - lovely tall flowers of a good purple and free leek seedlings for the following year!
  • I was wondering if anyone else had had a disappointing summer with bizzie lizzies. I planted dozens of them in my containers, watered regularly despite the continual drought but they have just disappeared almost totally.I've never had a problem before.
    Any ideas please?
  • BOGOF, my Mum was telling me about a friend who always grows loads of bizzie lizzies, but this year they have been very poor.Some kind of disease or pest has been affecting them apparently.We're in Bristol. Are you anywhere near?
  • Hello,

    As a new fledgling gardener, I was wondering if anyone can tell me what the best type of mulch is for potted plants which are to be kept outside in the winter? I have read that bark wood chips are not always the best thing, as they take up nitrogen from the soil, thus depleting the plants of nitrogen.. Is ordinary compost the best? I live in Southeast London, and the garden has South and North facing walls.
    Would be very grateful for any good tips!
  • What does discombobulated mean?
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