The Q&A Archives: Allium 'Globemaster' Not Flourishing

Question: Last year I planted a mixture giant Globemaster alliums. They all bloomed great the first year, but this year, none are doing that well. I let the leaves turn brown after they finished blooming before I trimmed them. Some aren't even sprouting a flower stalk, just green leaves. Should I have removed them from the ground and refrgerated them? I live in San Francisco where winters do not go below the mid 40's. What do you think happened?

I am now moving to Portland, Oregon, (where the winters do go below the 40's). Can I dig them up and move them, even though they're green and growin? I don't want to damage future growth.

Answer: Your climate isn't favorable for alliums, it's true. They're native to the steppes of Central Asia, where summers are dry and winters are cold. Yours may well be suffering from a lack of cold treatment. The soil must be well-drained for best performance, too.

Yes, these bulbs are expensive, but moving them while they are actively growing is risky. If you can dig up enough soil so you don't disturb the roots you may be able to move them without harm...but you will have a lot of containers of heavy soil to move! (How big is that U-Haul?). If you can arrange for a dear friend to dig and send them to you after they've finished growing for the season, that would be the safest option. Good luck to you!

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