Virtues: This late-blooming allium, or ornamental onion, has round purple flowers that appear in early to midsummer, later than most other alliums. The long-lasting flowers are great in the garden or for bouquets. Drumstick alliums are deer-resistant plants. The flowers attract pollinators.
Common name: Drumstick allium, round-headed garlic. round-headed leek
Botanical name: Allium sphaerocephalon
Flowers: 1-inch oval-shaped purple flowers appear in early to midsummer on stiff, thin stems 18 to 36 inches tall. These allium flowers first appear green but turn pink then purple as they open and mature. Good flowers for fresh or dried bouquets.
Foliage: Gray-green, grassy leaves to 14 inches long appear as a clump in spring.
Origin: Europe, northern Africa and western Asia
Cultivation: Drumstick alliums look best grown in clumps or drifts of 12 or more. The bulbs can also be scattered among perennials so that their purple flowers poke up amid the other plants. Grow in full sun or part shade. Full sun is better. Alliums prefer well-drained, fertile soil. Drumstick alliums grow from fall-planted bulbs. Plant the bulbs 3 to 5 inches deep. These bulbs naturalize (spread) easily by seed. If you don’t want drumstick allium to spread, deadhead them before they set seed. Allow the foliage to die back naturally. USDA Zones 4–8.
Image: H. Zell
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