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Giant Allium

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - 6:00am

Dr. Gary Bachman: Have you ever wanted a landscape plant that can wow your neighbors? We'll take a look at giant alliums today on Southern Gardening.

Announcer: Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University extension service.

Dr. Gary Bachman: Alliums for use in the landscape or the ornamental cousins to our culinary onions, and while they're not used to dress up our sandwiches, they certainly enhanced the landscape. Giant allium has a clean architectural form with straight flower stems up to four feet tall and nearly perfect globular flower heads reaching almost six inches in diameter. Flower colors include dark violet, red purples, and shades of white.

Always plant allium bulbs at a depth of about three times the bulb diameter in a well-drained sandy soil. So a two inch bulb is planted six inches deep. Add an additional layer of sand or small gravel below the bulb base to increase drainage. Allium is a heavy feeder, so apply a good bulb fertilizer such as seven-ten-five in the spring, summer, and fall, and always follow label directions.

Plant in a mass to have a more dramatic landscape effect. Accessorize your allium with artemisia, geranium, or other favorite perennials to help hide the feeding foliage. The round allium flower head provides interest even after the flowers have faded. As it dries, the flower head changes color from green to light brown. The flower stems can then be cut and used in dry arrangements or simply moved to new places in the garden for the more creative, add a touch of spray paint or even glitter to add sparkle to the dried flower heads.

Not every landscape has a place where a big lollipop, but giant allium is worth considering. I'm horticulturist Gary Backman for Southern Gardening.

Announcer: Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University to the extension service.

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