Allium cernuum, feast or famine

Last year I wrote about my success with half a packet of Allium Cernuum seeds (See here More eggs). My first half packet had produced some precious bulbs but the second half, used a year later, had failed.

My natural assumption was that these were tricky to grow and that a bigger effort was necessary to provide me with the bulbs I wanted – not only in a few pots but in the ground.

I allowed the flowers to form seeds – no problem here as they attract all sorts of pollinators – and planted them out in a pot to overwinter outside.

Believing that the seeds were difficult to germinate, I sowed them thickly.
I think every seed must have germinated.
This is where I am at the moment with the pot. I have planted areas in the border. I have already given away one planted pot to a gardener friend and planted one pot for a friend that I will keep until next year when I hope it will flower.

As you can see, there is going to be excess. I hate to throw seedlings away but I think that quite a few will find their way to the compost.

Next year the pots will be much fuller than this one!

14 thoughts on “Allium cernuum, feast or famine

    1. I think some seeds need some time in the cold before they will germinate. I think the seeds I gathered were successful because I planted the pot and left it outside in the winter. I had kept the second half of the bought packet of seeds indoors and no planted them until the spring. So it was a case of a careless gardener. Amelia

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  1. Hello Amelia,
    How exciting and successful.
    We really love these, and many other Alliums, but sadly they don’t in the main like our conditions. They’re certainly be great pollinator friendly flowers. The only one which predictably thrives with us is Nectarascordum siculum, which you may already grow – a towering flower head which turns to fairly castle seed heads once finished. In spite of heaving with bumble bees and wasps, it only ever seems to produce a handful of seeds, so never takes over – at least here!
    But the flowers aren’t anything like as pretty as cernuum!!
    Best wishes
    Julian

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    1. We have bought Nectarascordum siculum bulbs some years ago (you can imagine the name attracted us) and they were successful but I cannot remember where I put them. I do try to keep track of things but I have a limited area of cultivated land and I am finding my favourites like the Hellebores are doing more than providing ground cover but with other plants they are smothering others. I label some plants but I am unwilling to stick large plastic labels in the ground to remind me where things are. Is there a solution for absent minded gardeners? Amelia

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  2. I suppose it’s better to have more germinate than fewer! Interested to see the discussion of Nectarascordum siculum. There is a country road not far from Totnes where a drift of these grow along the verge each summer. They look very happy there.

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    1. I did a little research and it is not a native of the U.K. I could imagine that they would be very happy in the south of the U.K. probably more happy than here where it is very dry. I like the common name of Honey Garlic! Amelia

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  3. janesmudgeegarden

    One allium in my garden is very tall, a quite nondescript pale mauve colour and has spread itself around the garden significantly. The bulbs are hard to dig out. I’d love to have some of the more colourful ones, but the bulbs are quite expensive here and sell out very quickly. I like your allium cernuum very much. I would also love to find a solution to ‘losing’ bulbs. I’m trying to remember to use small bamboo stakes to show where they are, but of course the stakes don’t last forever.

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    1. I wonder if the allium might be Nectaroscordum siculum? I am not sure if the bamboo sticks would always stay in place in my garden and then I would have the problem of trying to remember why I put them there :). Amelia

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  4. Really pretty flowers. Hooe they flower well for you next year. I had unexpected allium seedlings come up in my garden this spring, but I think a lot of them fell victim to slugs!

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