How to Plant Allium Bulbs? A Beginner’s Guide.

To plant allium bulbs, choose a site with full sun and well-draining soil. Dig holes two times the diameter of the bulb and 2-3 times the bulb’s height deep.

Place the bulb in the hole with the pointed end facing upwards, and cover it with soil. Water thoroughly. Alliums are diverse and hardy plants that bloom in late spring and early summer, making them a perfect addition to any garden.

These plants work well in borders, rock gardens, and naturalized, or wildflower gardens. Alliums can also be planted in containers, making them a versatile choice for any outdoor space. Planting allium bulbs is a relatively simple process, but there are a few key steps that should be followed to ensure their success. This guide will provide you with essential tips on planting allium bulbs to make sure you get the most out of your garden.

How to Plant Allium Bulbs? A Beginner's Guide.


What Are Allium Bulbs?

Allium bulbs are one of the most popular spring-flowering bulbs that add a unique charm to gardens. Allium, a latin word alluding to garlic, is a member of the onion genus that comprises over 850 species. Allium bulbs are uncomplicated to grow and require minimal care.

Are you curious to know more about these fascinating bulbs? Keep reading this beginner’s guide, and you will learn everything you need to know about allium bulbs.

Definition Of Allium Bulbs

Allium bulbs, sometimes known as ornamental onions, are perennial bulbs that belong to the amaryllidaceae family. They produce spectacular globular flowers that sit atop long stems of varying lengths, creating a striking addition in any garden. These bulbs come in various shapes, sizes, and colors and thrive equally well in sunny and partially shaded areas.

Types Of Allium Bulbs

Allium bulbs are available in numerous varieties. Here are some of the most popular types of allium bulbs:

  • Allium giganteum: Produces enormous purple flowers that can reach up to 5 feet tall.
  • Allium sphaerocephalon: Also known as drumstick allium, it exhibits a reddish-purple, egg-shaped inflorescence that appears in late spring.
  • Allium nigrum: Grows white flowers that have a delicate green vein running through the petals.
  • Allium moly: Produces yellow flowers that are ideal for naturalizing areas.
  • Allium schubertii: Produces large, spidery, pink flowers that are perfect for creating a dramatic effect.

Allium bulbs are an excellent choice for beginner gardeners. They are incredibly flexible and can be planted in the fall or spring, making them an excellent option for those who miss the fall planting season. Moreover, they don’t require much maintenance and are deer and rodent resistant, making them a must-have in any garden.

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When And Where To Plant Allium Bulbs

Best Time To Plant Allium Bulbs

Allium bulbs should be planted in the autumn or the spring, depending on the variety. It is best to plant them during the dormant period, which is when the bulbs are not actively growing, to ensure healthy development. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Spring-flowering alliums, such as allium neapolitanum and allium sphaerocephalon, should be planted in the autumn.
  • Autumn-flowering alliums, such as allium moly and allium schubertii, should be planted in the spring.
  • Planting in the autumn allows the roots to establish themselves before winter, while planting in the spring gives the plants a head start on growth.

Ideal Planting Location For Allium Bulbs

Allium bulbs prefer sunny, well-draining soil. Here are some key points to keep in mind when choosing a location to plant your allium bulbs:

  • Alliums prefer soil that is fertile and well-draining. Poor drainage can cause the bulbs to rot.
  • Choose a sunny spot for your alliums, as they require plenty of sunlight to grow tall and strong.
  • Alliums are great for borders and rock gardens and can also be planted in containers.
  • Avoid planting in wet areas as this can lead to root rot.

Preparing For Planting

Purchasing Allium Bulbs

Before we dive into the process of planting allium bulbs, let’s take a closer look at purchasing allium bulbs.

When buying allium bulbs, it is essential to consider the following factors:

  • Size: Select bulbs that are large and healthy, avoiding any squishy or soft bulbs.
  • Bulbs that are not dented or have signs of cracks.
  • Avoid purchasing bulbs with signs of mold or mildew.
  • Choose bulbs that are firm and feel heavy for their size.

It’s important to buy high-quality bulbs as they will produce healthy plants and beautiful blooms. Keep in mind that price usually reflects the quality of bulbs, so don’t hesitate to spend a little extra on healthy bulbs.

Selecting The Best Bulbs For Planting

Selecting the best bulbs is a crucial factor in creating a healthy and beautiful garden. Using new bulbs is always best, but if reusing bulbs, insect dust can be used to help prevent insect infestation.

Here are some tips for selecting the best bulbs for planting:

  • Look for large, healthy bulbs.
  • Avoid any bulbs that are soft or deteriorating.
  • Choose bulbs that are firm and heavy for their size.
  • Check for signs of mold or mildew before purchasing.

Select bulbs that have intact roots, as roots play a big role in the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients. When planting large bulbs, it’s important to know they might require more space than smaller bulbs.

Storing Bulbs Before Planting

When storing bulbs before planting, it’s essential to provide the right environment to help the bulbs survive until planting time. Not every bulb can survive in room temperature, so make sure to take special care.

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Here are some steps to follow for storing allium bulbs before planting:

  • Keep the bulbs in a cool, dry place.
  • Keep the bulbs away from any direct sunlight.
  • Ensure the bulbs have good ventilation and air circulation.
  • Store the bulbs separately, so they don’t touch or overlap each other.

By storing the bulbs properly, you can help them last until planting season. Remember to check on your bulbs periodically for any signs of damage or rot.

Preparing Planting Site

Preparing the planting site is essential to proper bulb growth and plant health. Ideally, you should plant allium bulbs in a well-draining soil, as excess moisture can lead to bulb rot.

Here are some tips for preparing the planting site:

  • Choose a spot where the plants will receive full sun.
  • Dig a hole twice the depth of the bulb and space the bulbs approximately 6-8 inches apart.
  • Make sure that the soil is aerated and has good drainage.
  • Add organic matter to the soil to enhance nutrient absorption.

Bulbs should be planted in the fall, as this provides enough time for the bulb to acclimate to the environment and grow strong roots for optimal growth. Remember to provide adequate water to your bulbs to help them thrive.

Planting Techniques

Planting allium bulbs is an easy and rewarding gardening task, but newcomers may need some guidance. Here are some planting techniques to help you get started:

Planting Depth And Spacing

  • Before planting allium bulbs, loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches and add compost to promote healthy growth.
  • The planting depth of allium bulbs depends on their size. Generally, plant small bulbs around 3 inches deep and larger bulbs around 6 inches deep.
  • Space the bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart to give the plants room to grow. Remember that allium bulbs will multiply over time, so avoid overcrowding the area.
  • Cover the bulbs with soil and lightly water them. Be patient as alliums are known to take their time to emerge in the spring.

Arranging Bulbs In Groups Or Clusters

  • Planting allium bulbs in groups or clusters can create a more dramatic effect in your garden. Plant bulbs of the same variety in groups of 5 to 7 bulbs for a cohesive look.
  • Consider blending different allium varieties for more interest. For example, plant tall alliums in the back of a flower bed and shorter alliums in the front for depth and contrast.
  • When arranging bulbs, make sure to place them in odd numbers for a balanced look.

Tips For Successful Planting

  • Choose a sunny location for your allium bulbs, as they require at least six hours of direct sunlight per day for optimal growth.
  • Alliums prefer well-draining soil, so add sand or small rocks to the soil to improve drainage if necessary.
  • Add slow-release fertilizer or bone meal when planting to ensure the bulbs have enough nutrients throughout the growing season.
  • Alliums are deer and rabbit resistant, making them a great choice for gardens with wildlife pests.
  • Once alliums have finished blooming, allow their leaves to die back naturally before trimming. Allowing the leaves to die back provides the bulbs with energy for the next growing season.
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By following these simple planting techniques, you can enjoy vibrant blooms from your allium bulbs year after year. Happy planting!

Care And Maintenance Of Allium Bulbs

Allium bulbs are low maintenance plants that can add a splash of color to any garden. However, like all living things, they require some care and attention to thrive. Here are some tips for ensuring your allium bulbs are healthy and happy.

Watering Requirements For Allium Bulbs

Allium bulbs are relatively drought-tolerant, but they do require some watering. Here’s how to ensure your allium bulbs are getting just the right amount of water:

  • Water your allium bulbs once a week if there has been no rainfall.
  • Water deeply, so the water reaches the roots.
  • Don’t overwater your allium bulbs as this can lead to rotting.

Fertilizing Allium Bulbs

Allium bulbs are light feeders and do not usually require any fertilizer. However, if you want to give your allium bulbs a little extra love, here’s how:

  • Use a balanced fertilizer once in early spring before new growth appears.
  • Use a low-nitrogen fertilizer to avoid burning the bulbs.
  • Avoid fertilizing after the bulbs have started to bloom.

Deadheading And Pruning Allium Plants

Deadheading is the practice of removing spent blooms from allium plants. Here are some tips for deadheading and pruning alliums:

  • Deadhead alliums to encourage more blooms.
  • Cut the spent blooms just below the flower head.
  • Prune alliums after they have bloomed, to help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Cut the spent foliage back to the ground.

Managing Pests And Diseases

Allium bulbs are generally pest and disease-resistant. However, here are some common pests and diseases to look out for and how to manage them:

  • Onion fly: Use row covers to prevent adult flies from laying eggs in the soil.
  • Thrips: Spray with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
  • Botrytis blight: Remove infected leaves and use fungicides as needed.

Harvesting Edible Allium Bulbs

Certain varieties of allium bulbs, such as onions and garlic, are edible. Here’s how to harvest and store them:

  • Harvest onions when the tops start to fall over.
  • Braiding the tops of garlic and hanging it in a dry, cool location.
  • Place harvested bulbs in an airy, cool location to cure.
  • Store cured onions and garlic in a cool, dry place.


To sum it up, planting allium bulbs is an easy and rewarding task that can add a pop of color and interest to any garden. From selecting the right location, choosing the best time to plant, and preparing the soil, to actual planting and caring for the bulbs, every step is crucial for the success of your alliums.

Remember to keep in mind the specific requirements of the variety you choose, such as spacing, depth, and sunlight exposure. Also, don’t forget to protect the bulbs from pests and diseases and to water and fertilize them regularly. By following these simple tips and tricks, you can enjoy the beauty and elegance of alliums year after year and impress your friends and family with your gardening skills.

Get ready to enjoy a stunning display of blooms that will turn heads and create a relaxing atmosphere in your backyard.