It is the Latin name for garlic or onion, including ornamental varieties.
Tight or loose, round clusters of small, star-shaped flowers on long smooth leafless stems. Both flower head and stem length varies according to the variety. All alliums have a slight onion smell.
Purple, pink, green and white
Summer and autumn
Allium giganteum 'Purple Sensation' is the most popular flower variety with a big flower head of tiny star-shaped flowers. Other varieties are Allium sphaerocephalon which has a smaller egg-shaped head. Allium aflatunense and Allium neopolitanum (white flowers) have a much looser cluster of flowers. An unusual and relatively new variety Allium 'Hair' has loose green hair (or stems) which can grow to 14cm, from its tiny purple/red sphere in the centre. Stunning varieties are Allium schubertii and A. christophii, which looks like a firework, with long stalks bearing delicate star shaped pink flowers.
A long cut life of 12-20 days. Alliums are suitable for drying.