Landscape Spotlight: Alliums

Posted April 27, 2017 in Blog, Plant and Tree

Gigantic, dynamic and perennial, these colorful oddballs will provide color in early spring until your summer perennials are ready to shine.  Looking as if they were plucked straight from a Dr. Suess movie or Saturday morning cartoon, these flowers are a sight to be seen and admired within the landscape.  Known as ornamental onions, there are over 700 varieties to choose from!  It would take a lot of research to find the exact allium you would want to incorporate into your own landscape plan, so we will focus this Landscape Spotlight on our top 3 favorites.


Starting with the biggest in the bunch, the Globemaster is globemastereasily grown in average, dry to medium soil and thrives in full-sun but appreciates shady respite in the thick of summer.  When happy and healthy, each stem can reach heights of up to 4’!  Sitting atop of the stem, you will find a spherical cluster of small lavender colored flowers.  Each 6-8” bloom will contain hundreds of star-shaped florets.  Its pseudonym of ornamental or flowering onion may not sound appealing, but it proves the most unappealing to deer and rodents; they absolutely abhor it.  In northeast PA, that is a total bonus!

‘Purple Sensation’

purple sensationIf the larger 4’ stems are too much for you or your landscape to handle, there are smaller versions, and the Purple Sensation is the most popular.  Having the same temperament as the Globemaster, this variety will flourish in almost any soil as long as it has good drainage and at least 6 hours of sunlight.  The major draw of the Purple Sensation is that it blooms in your landscape’s “in-between” time.  This variety will bloom after your tulips and before your summer perennials, keeping the landscape color show in full effect!  Reaching mature heights of about 24”, each beautiful purple globe cluster is about 2-4” in diameter.  Planting Purple Sensation along a path to guide your guests will seem like an ethereal pathway, with virtually floating purple foliage.  This variety is a showstopper at any time of day.

‘The Star of Persia’

Adored by bees, butterflies and other pollinators, the Star of Persia allium cristophii star of persiais a beautiful addition to any cut and/or dry flower bouquet!  While still resembling the aforementioned Allium varieties, the Star of Persia’s spherical shape is comprised of 50-or-so amethyst-violet, starry florets with a metallic sheen and green center eye.  This Allium requires full sunlight and rich, well-drained soil and while it only reaches a height of about 2’, the seemingly explosive flower heads can be anywhere from 9-12”!  The flower heads of this variety as known to self-seed within the landscape.  Plant this Allium in regular intervals throughout the landscape for an exhilarating effect.

When it’s time to plan the new additions to your landscape beds, especially if you are considering something unique which will most likely turn into a conversation piece, ask your landscape designer about Alliums!  While they may technically be a member of the onion family, these specimens belong front and center in your foliage instead of within your raised garden bed.  Simultaneously offering whimsy and structure, there aren’t many flowering plants that can compare with the garden-party feel that Alliums provide.

If you are searching for more outdoor inspiration to take your backyard from “nah,” to “yea!”, reach out to MasterPLAN Landscape Design.  As backyard transformation specialists, we love partnering with our clients and exposing the full potential of their properties for a true custom-fit for their family and their lifestyle.  Serving the Poconos and the Lehigh Valley, through the Main Line of Philadelphia and western New Jersey, we would love to sit down with you and unearth the possibilities for your outdoor living space!  When you are ready to chat, we are ready to listen.

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