Allium Roseum

Tips on Growing Allium Roseum

Everyone is familiar with the uses of garlic in cooking, but many are unaware that rosy garlic, or allium roseum, is one type of garlic plant that is used for an ornamental purpose.

Allium is the genus of onion and garlic plants.  Included in this classification of plants are the commonly found kitchen varieties of both food bulbs, but also plants that are more at home in the flower garden.  They all begin as a bulb, and are perennial plants.  All of the bulbs are edible, although many are distasteful to the human palate and the animal kingdom as well.

Among those plants that fit nicely into a landscape or flower garden is the allium roseum, or rosy garlic plant.  This variety is one of the smaller versions of allium, reaching a height of only about 18”.  Roseum is considered to be a great transitional plant as its bloom season begins in late spring and continues to the early summer.  Because its bulb flavor is an intense one, the normal invaders such as squirrels and deer avoid the allium.  Mixing the bulbs throughout the garden, surrounding the early blooming tulip and daffodil bulbs that wild animals usually favor, will provide not only a continuous wave of beauty in the garden but protection for the early season flowers.  Just as the roseum begins to fade away, the summer blooms will have begun to blossom; creating an appearance of a forever blooming garden.

The pale pink coloration, hinting toward shades of lilac, is typical of the roseum.  Unlike many alliums which display rounded globes of flower clusters, roseum blooms feature loose florets that measure about 3”.  Multiple six petalled blossoms open at the end of long green stalks with spiked leaves; spreading out into a starfish pattern that accent the cuplike features of tulips sharing their bloom season.

Allium roseum are fragrant when left in the garden or used in floral displays as cut flowers.  The blossoms retain their lovely rosy colors throughout the blooming season, making them an ideal complement for white bloomers and blue blossoms in the flower bed.  Their green stems are strikingly attractive against their delicate flowers.  To showcase the flowers and greenery to their fullest ability, many gardeners cluster the bulbs when planting to provide a colorful blanket of blooms.

Whereas many of the ornamental alliums find their place at the back of landscapes or flower beds due to their towering size, roseum can be placed throughout the interior of the garden.  Varying heights of flower heads will be achieved by the plant, so they are compatible with a number of other perennials.   The easy to grow perennial begins to bloom as early spring bulbs die back, and then roseum fades away just in time for the summer blooming plants to take their place.

When planning a perennial garden that include the allium roseum, choose a sunny to mostly sunny location that has a well drained soil.  As with most bulb plants, roseum does not enjoy getting its feet wet.  The bulbs should be planted twice the depth of their height with the pointed end facing the surface of the ground.  Fall is the best planting time for the bulbs to ensure a spring bloom.  During the fall, the bulb will establish itself by rooting and sprouting; a good foundation for winter hibernation to be followed by its emergence in the early spring season.

Adding the roseum to a perennial bed or landscape will enhance the spring blooming appearance and scent.  Lovely, fragrant and easy to care for, this allium will soon become a favorite.