Decorative onions – Alliums, are of great variety and are able to decorate any garden with bright balls of their inflorescences. Unpretentious bulbous plants begin to bloom in late spring and “freeze” for a long time at the peak of beauty. And even after the end of flowering, during the ripening of the seeds, the drying heads of decorative onions look very attractive.
Ornamental onions are close relatives of the common edible onion and garlic and are part of the Alliaceae subfamily of the Amaryllidaceae family. If you rub a leaf, stem or bulb of any plant from this family, you will get an easily recognizable “onion” or “garlic” smell. In nature, there are several hundred species of onions that grow in the northern hemisphere.
Linear or belt-like leaves of basal onions. Each onion flower is very small in size, but the flowers are combined into an inflorescence, which gives the plant the main decorative effect.
Some ornamental bows can be as large as 30 cm in diameter, such as Christof’s Onion (Allium cristophii). Most ornamental onions flower in May-June, but there are also autumn-flowering varieties. The flowering of some species can last for a long time and even after its end the plant will not lose its attractive appearance. So, dried balls of inflorescences of Christof’s decorative bow look no less charming in the autumn garden than bright purple ones in the spring.
Features of growing decorative onions
Location: most of the onions are photophilous, so sunny areas and southern slopes with well-drained, loose fertile soils are chosen for them. The best illumination determines the color intensity of flowers and leaves.
Soil: A near neutral soil solution is preferred. At pH below 5, the soil must be limed.
Fertilizers: When preparing a plot for planting onions, the soil is filled with rotted compost and a complete mineral fertilizer with trace elements is applied, based on the indicators of its fertility. Like all bulbous plants, ornamental onions are very susceptible to potassium deficiency in the soil. An excellent potash fertilizer for them is wood ash.
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Watering: Bows tolerate both short-term drought and short-term waterlogging well. Sufficient moisture supply is a necessary condition for the normal development of plants in the first half of the growing season, when the formation of leaf apparatus and flowering shoots occurs. With a lack of moisture, the growth of leaves stops and resumes again when watering.