27 May 2013

Allium 'Purple Sensation'

I was given these bulbs as a gift last year; now I am puzzled as to why I never tried them earlier.  I risked planting them in shade--open shade, at that, but realistically they never get any direct sun throughout the day.  Us shade gardeners experiment with this technique frequently- just like the gardeners out there that live in zone-denial, I live in full sun-denial.  (OK, as I wait on Lobelia tupa, Canna, Colocasia, and Eucomis to show their beautiful tropical faces, I accept that I, too, am one of "those" living in zone-denial.)

Anyways, they have fully performed in shade and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend trying this if you're lacking a tall, dramatic perennial for those shadier spots.  Like the photo below, I have underplanted my grouping with a swath of variegated green-yellow hostas.  You'll want to do something similar since Allium's foliage is a little ratty looking at the base.  

 I read somewhere recently that sometimes, people will even spray paint the flowerheads after the color has faded, since the strong stems will hold all summer.  Maybe tacky, but I think I'll test this with one when that beautiful purple has faded and see if it's worth doing!

Thanks to my success with 'Purple Sensation', in Fall I will have 3 new varieties added to my bulb order.

Allium 'Summer Drummer' - prized for its interesting purple stems

Allium atropurpureum - love the intense dark burgundy colour

Allium 'Silverspring' - A smaller flowerhead at 4'', but licorice scented!

 *Last 3 photos from Botanus - a mail-order nursery out of Richmond, BC that I highly recommend!


  1. I love the look of Allium in the hostas. There is something about hostas that I just love as well. They look like they belong in a fairy forest or something.

    1. I have amassed quite the collection the past few years. So easy to grow and all different sizes and colors! One of my favorite plants.



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