Alliums (Allium giganteum) commonly known as giant onion or ornamental onion belong to the family Alliaceae (onion family). They produce spherical blooms which contain hundreds of tiny flowers that attract many pollinators and honey bees. Here we are going to discuss how to grow Allium plants in balcony garden.
As their blooms appear on a slender stalk, they seem wonderful for garden hedges especially when grown with lower plants.
Alliums bloom in many different colors and create a magnificent view of parks and gardens. Many gardeners grow Alliums for its large attractive showy bloom flowers.
Blooming time varies between early to late season throughout the year and requires minimal efforts for growing, generally used for creational and ornamental purposes in the lawn and garden.
There are almost 400 allium species, flowers comprising 6-8 inches round heads, with many colors. Garlic and chives also are members of the Alliums.
Due to their large, attractive, and showy flower heads, they have the potential to repel many insects and small animals with their potent smell.
How to grow Alliums in balcony garden
Growing Allium is quite easy, requires minimal effort, and can be grown anywhere. They can be grown from seeds as well as from bulbs. However growing from bulbs is faster, easier, and a recommended method.
Good quality plant bulbs can be obtained easily from your local nurseries, or underground dormant bulbs are a good option for the next growing season and propagation.
In the case of seeds, they are also obtained from local garden shops or nurseries. You may also collect from flower blooms on maturation while deadheading and stored for the next growing season.
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This is one of the easiest and time-saving propagation methods. Bulbs are quite hardy and can be grown in all kinds of soils. For better growth use a potting mix that is more fertile and filled with organic matter.
The most preferable time to plant them before winter freezes are between September and November.
Allium bulbs can be planted in groups or individually, while planting individually maintain proper spacing of 6-8 inches apart between bulbs in 3 inches depth or simply scatter them for a natural look.
Once planted you don’t have to worry about watering as they like dry conditions. Select a sunny place, water once while planting them, and wait for the pretty flowers in spring and early summer.
Similarly, you can plant more closely in containers and pots too, but it is important to note that bulbs are not touching pot walls, the soil has a well drainage capacity as waterlogged conditions cause rotting of the bulbs.
Alliums mostly propagate themselves by developing bulblets underground. As soon as the bulblets mature they start to produce flowers.
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Allium plants can also be grown from seeds too, however collecting seeds is quite a laborious task and planting from seeds requires more time and attention. In early spring seeds can be sown in a cold frame.
After sprouting of allium seeds thin the plants and maintain space almost 4-6 inches between them. In early growth periods, seedlings require regular water almost once a week, or in hot weather more than once water can be required.
Soil with good organic matter or mulch helps in more moisture retention. When they are large enough pick out the seedlings and grow them individually in pots or containers.
In the case of clump planting, it is recommended to grow tree seedlings in each pot.
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Important factors for balcony grown Alliums
Good quality soil is very important for your plants, especially when you are going to plant them in pots and containers.
Well-balanced nutritive soil can enable you to grow healthier plants. For balcony grown Alliums it is recommended that use a potting mix instead of using ordinary garden soil.
A potting mix contains the garden soil, compost, peat, coir, vermicompost in equal proportion. You can also buy a potting mix from your local gardening shop or nursery.
Pots and containers
Alliums grow best in garden beds, however, you can also plant them into containers or pots too. For planting select large containers having drainage holes.
Containers or pots must be five to six times deeper than the bulb diameter. As allium bulbs rot easily if they are grown under waterlogged conditions.
For balcony or terrace, grown plants require good quality pots. Avoid poor thin quality plastic pots as they heat up easily and don’t support your plants.
Ensure pot length and depth according to your plant size and requirements and make a hole in the bottom for good drainage.
The diameter of the container should be wide enough that it leaves 6 inches of space from all around the bulb.
Allium plants have large underground rhizomes known as bulbs, so while choosing your pots it makes sure that your plants bulb flourish well.
Bulbs are easily susceptible to root rotting, to avoid this keep check on the watering schedule.
For the large size container, there must be 3-4 drainage holes at the lower side of the container. Fill with the pots or containers potting mix by leaving some space from the edges.
In the case of large immovable pots find an appropriate location to set your pots, where enough sunlight reaches for maximum time in a day.
However, balcony grown plant pots can move from time to time and according to light requirements for plants.
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In the case of balcony grown plants, set an appropriate container position where enough sunlight reaches. The giant allium plant grows well in full sunlight and flourishes well when protected from high winds.
Try to find a location on your balcony where sunlight easily reaches at least 6 hours a day. Plants also grow in partial shade but they don’t flourish well.
As more sunlight helps in developing strong stems which supports larger flower blooms.
Allium plants require a moderate water supply. This makes a good choice to grow them on a balcony and terrace where daily watering is not required. Saturates the soil once after planting and fertilizing a flowering bulb.
As plants are established they don’t require enough water and fertilizers, even Alliums survive well in drought conditions.
There is no need for watering if you get regular rain, instead remove extra water after rain from the pots because excessive water becomes the reason for bulb rot. In dry and hot conditions you can water almost 1 inch in a pot once a week.
This water helps the plant in its active growth in spring summer or in early winter. While in dormant periods stop plant watering.
Beautiful and well-maintained balcony plants require regular care and maintenance. However, Alliums doesn’t require much care and attention.
On the onset of flowers, allium leaves die back leaving a slander flower stalk. Maintain the stalk and prevent it from collapsing.
Allium plants require minimal attention and bloom with attractive flowers both in the garden and pots. Deadheading, wilted flowers, and yellow leaves must be regularly removed.
Planting Alliums is considered a good option for gardens and balconies as they repel insects with their potent smell and flavor when they bloom.
Although some Thrips and flies remain there on the Alliums. A strong water-based spray may prevent your plants from these insects.
Plants are easily susceptible for mildew, rot, and mold, in order to prevent these diseases keep a strict check on the watering schedule, necessarily remove water from the pots in case of excessive rain.
Proper spacing also reduces these diseases as spacing enhances air circulation between plants.
A well drainage good quality potting mix also helps to reduce such diseases. Alliums also prevent themselves from rodents and small animals due to their potent smell.
Many growers use alliums for garden hedges as these plants are too good for discouraging garden pests and small animals and rodents.
Benefits of growing Alliums
Alliums plants produce large showy flowering bulbs, they are economically very important, as they are used in flower exhibitions. Like lilies, Alliums are also used in bouquets due to their colorful large blooms and long straight stems.
Dried flower heads are beautifully used in craft projects and artistic bouquets by spraying with silver and gold paints. It enhances the outer look of gardens and parks.
Many growers grow them as garden hedges and produce flower beds. They are tall enough to create an artistic view in gardens and parks by growing as a border with other hedges plants.
Alliums blooms are always a source of fun either in standing positions in the garden they look like bubbles, balloons, lollipops or displayed beautifully at the flower shops for sale.
In light wind, blooming flowers float like explosive fireworks and they stand all above the other garden plants.
In fact, Alliums have all the characteristics that anyone wants to have in their garden, such as attractive flowers that fascinate butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, in addition to this they are also resistant to many other harmful insects pests.
Plant juice is used for insect repellent. Growing alliums are not just appreciated but it is hard to figure out their beneficial aspects.
It is quite surprising how this lovely flower plant belongs to many other culinary cousins plants such as onions, shallots, garlic, and chives. Plant bulbs and leaves are used for edible purposes either as raw or cooked.
Raw flowers are used for salads or garnish. However Allium giganteum bulb is almost 4-6 inches in diameter, there is no record found for its edibility, but the bulb tastes like a mild pleasant onion flavor and has no poisonous signs.
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In the conclusion, we can say although many plants of this genus are very healthy and flourish to the diet. The alliums contain sulphur compounds which provide an onion flavor. Such additions to diet, aid the blood cholesterol levels, helps in digestion, and improve the circulatory system.
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.