Dry Alliums for Winter Decorations

Alliums make beautiful dried flowers that can be enjoyed all year.

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Every spring a number of gardeners at garden centres request the name of the fluffy, dramatic, and spiky purple plant they have spotted blooming in their friend’s garden. The mystery plant is one of the many ornamental onions, from the genus Allium. Unfortunately those Allium-seeking gardeners must wait a year for their own blooms, since these bulbs are only available in the fall. The optimum planting time is mid September until mid November. If you live in a cold area you can plant alliums in a container, protect them for the winter and enjoy them the following spring. Alliums make beautiful dried flowers that can be enjoyed all year. The time to start the drying process is when they are in full bloom. For best success, water the plant thoroughly the day before. The next morning cut the flower stem at the base, bring it inside and set it in a vase with 2 cm (3⁄4 in.) of water. Place the vase out of direct sunlight and allow the flowerhead to dry out. After 10 days you can use it in crafts or flower arrangements. Best Alliums for Spring Bloom and Winter DryingAllium x hollandicum ‘Purple Sensation’: Bright-purple, fragrant blooms top 90-cm (3-ft.) stems. Hardy to zone 4. • Allium ‘Globemaster’: This is an amazing sight in the spring garden, standing just over 90 cm (3 ft.) with blooms the size of a small melon. Hardy to zone 6. • Allium cristophii: Hardy to zone 4, star-of-Persia grows to just over 30 cm (1 ft.) and has fragrant violet blooms. • Allium karataviense ‘Ivory Queen’: This unique cultivar has large, pure-white, fragrant blooms and is only 10 cm (4 in.) tall, making it a good choice for the front of the border or a container. Hardy to zone 5. • Allium neopolitanum: Fragrant, white blooms grow in bunches atop 30-cm (12-in.) stems. Hardy to zone 6. Related links: Allium giganteum video Ornamental native onions Ornamental onions