Schubert’s alium

Allium schubertii, Schubert's allium, is a member of the Alliaceae family that is now producing some amazing flowers in the Hayrick Border and near the Keble Gates in the Parks. These bulbous perennials are related to onions, but are not edible. They have strap-like leaves, which usually die back before the flowers appear. The flower heads themselves are around 40cm across and rise approximately 2-3 feet above the soil; they continue for several weeks. Once they have flowered, the heads keep their shape and can be cut for indoor displays or kept in the border. Schubert’s alium likes a position in full sun, with some shelter. The soil should be moist, but well drained. If you are growing them in clay soil, add some grit to the planting hole to improve drainage. They are great for the front of borders, or can be grown through ornamental grasses to provide extra interest. They can be grown from seed, but it can take many years for flowers to be produced.