Bulbs forum: Problems with Alliums?

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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
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ge1836
May 4, 2013 10:21 AM CST
Last year I planted many allium Purple Sensation.I noticed some have not returned and a few others are small and look short lived.
Has anyone had problems with this variety?
Name: Patti
Nantucket or Vt
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
bbrookrd
May 5, 2013 9:30 AM CST
I planted some Purple Sensation in 2008 and they seem to all be gone now. I had it listed in my journal as aflatunense which apparently it isn't, maybe it was offended. Patti

From Pacific Bulb Society notes: Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' is a deep coloured strain believed to originate in 1963 from a selection by J. Bijl. It is often incorrectly called Allium aflatunense 'Purple Sensation' or described as a garden hybrid from Holland named Allium ×hollandicum 'Purple Sensation'.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
May 5, 2013 9:37 AM CST
hmmmmm.Glad to know yours disappeared. I take these things as a personal failure.
Name: Patti
Nantucket or Vt
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
bbrookrd
May 5, 2013 9:42 AM CST
Failure, never, just a minor bump in our Botanical path. Just think of all the things that we didn't plant that thrive. I am just wondering which one will be my "weed of the year" this season. I have my eye on a few new kids that seem to be going gang busters though I know they were not planted by my hands. Ha, aren't I talented. Patti
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
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ge1836
May 5, 2013 9:55 AM CST
I also look at the allium fade away as an opportunity for another plant I want but dont have room for.
Name: Brian
Ontario Canada (Zone 5b)
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bearsearch
May 11, 2013 7:17 AM CST
I have Allium Purple Sensation and have had them for at least 6 years. They don't seem to multiply that fast for me but I have had some offspring from them. I also have Allium christophii which has turned into a noxious weed here. I think the key to growing them is lots of sun, excellent drainage and allowing the foliage to die off naturally.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
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ge1836
May 11, 2013 7:40 AM CST
Thanks Brian.Maybe clay soil isnt for them.
I enjoyed the abundance last year but dont want to replace what was lost..The July blooming Drumsticks are alright. as are the Globe Masters.
Thanks for the tipon your invasive.Molly Jenine is a pain here.
Name: Julia
Upstate NY (Zone 6a)
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JuliaNY
May 16, 2013 5:00 PM CST
Mine are up and blooming however, the foliage looks like it is dying already. Same with the Gladiator variety. Foliage looks horrible.
They spread quickly here in one of my old garden spots. The newest ones I added was Star Of Persia and the foliage looks fine and this variety won't bloom till later in the spring or so the instructions say LOL.
Julia
Upstate NY
Zone 6
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
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ge1836
May 17, 2013 4:21 AM CST
I think your allium foliage looks are normal.Some gardeners cut back the dead stuff.I just push it to someplace it wont show.

maggiemil
May 19, 2016 4:15 PM CST
I planted Purple Sensation in 2014. They flowered last year, but there is no sign of them this year. Enormously irritating, and very relieved that this has happened to others. Won't bbe buying any more.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
May 19, 2016 4:18 PM CST
maggiemil, Welcome to the website.
I have Purple Sensation and it only lasted in the gardens that were very well drained.
I don't buy allium any more either.
I planted Silver Spring Moooocho bucks per bulb and they only bloomed one year ,then disappeared.
Name: Kabby
Lowndesboro, AL (Zone 8a)
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Kabby
May 19, 2016 6:05 PM CST
My adventures with allium. Planted Ivory Queen, Ambassador, caeruleum, drumsticks in fall '14. Ivory Queen never showed, one caeruleum bloomed at the level of the soil, all 3 of Ambassador bloomed, drumsticks bloomed well also.
This spring, foliage of Globemaster came up, one rotted. Ambassador foliage up, one bloomed. Schubertii foliage came up during the winter, disappeared this spring without blooming. Drumsticks getting ready to bloom.
How can we all suck at this? Group hug I want allium! Globemasters are NOT cheap. I may just buy more drumsticks in the fall as they seem the most reliable.
(Zone 8b)
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sallysmom
May 19, 2016 6:22 PM CST
I had 10 allium last year and 4 this year.
Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a)
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javaMom
Jun 6, 2016 12:53 PM CST
I plant my first Alliums last Fall, they sprouted and just stopped.... And few of them did not even came up...
Name: Debbie
Manitoba, Canada (Zone 3a)
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DebbieC
Jun 7, 2016 2:45 PM CST
The Purple Sensation alliums seem to do well here. I've noticed the Globemaster and Christophii have diminished in size over the years but they still return. Globemaster is now about the same size as my Purple Sensation, both the height and the size of the flower ball. It's too bad the foliage is already dying when the alliums bloom, but that is their nature. I understand there are a few varieties that hold their foliage fresh while blooming, Karativiense is one of them, but it requires excellent drainage to do well.
Thumb of 2016-06-07/DebbieC/c9e3dd

Name: Sandy
Croft, PA (Zone 5a)
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Sandymaex
Jun 15, 2016 1:22 PM CST
I have purple sensation alliums--I have had them for years. There is only 1 allium that I hate--that is hair allium!
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Jun 27, 2016 12:07 PM CST
I cannot believe they sell hair allium! I always thought it was a weed because every garden I have had it comes up and I have never planted the bulb. I wonder if birds drop seed from the woods into the gardens and they grow into a bulb eventually.
Name: Sandy
Croft, PA (Zone 5a)
Region: Pennsylvania Daylilies Bee Lover Hummingbirder The WITWIT Badge Birds
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Sandymaex
Jun 28, 2016 4:08 PM CST
I traded for it. I am trying to rot it out. I hope it works! Grumbling
Skåne, Sweden (Zone 7b)
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William
Aug 13, 2016 2:03 AM CST
I'm sorry that so many of you have had problems with Alliums. It's no secret that commercial growers cultivate Alliums in very light soil and lifts them annualy. This helps a lot in controlling diseases such as fungal rots, but if pathogens are present it may not solve all problems. Pathogens could be both in the bulbs and in the soil.

If the soil is clay consider planting in a raised bed with sandy or even gritty soil or why not in a pot that is protected from too much rain in the winter. In milder areas this could be as easy as to make a light bulb potting mix made of well draining materials such as horticultural grit, sharp sand or similar mixed with just a little compost. Then just place the pot under a roof overhang. No peat based soils please! Personally I have a lot of sand in my potting mixes for bulbs as the soil is nothing but fine sand here and I try to use what I already have, but this wont be as well draining as a bit coarser sand or grit nor will it hold as much air. Or plant bulbs close to a tree or plant them among a low growing ground cover that helps to suck excess moisture out of the soil.

Don't mulch Alliums. Last autumn I did an experiment and planted some Alliums in a semi shaded situation and mulched with some leaves. This would simulate the conditions in a well drained but more moisture retentive soil. We most often have a lot of rain during autumn/early winter, but this year was worse than most, so the soil remained fairly wet until bloom, but still had excellent drainage. I used Allium Ambassador that I previously had some problems with. I suspect that the bulbs had become infected with fusarium or similar. I also tried the white blooming Mount Everest.

Many of the Ambassador bulbs were very disappointing. Some rotted before blooming and others showed signs of rot and were discarded when dug this summer. Mount Everest on the other hand remained healthy, but almost didn't multiply, rather seemed to produce a little larger bulbs than the previous year, but still overall not a great result. So I think the soil matters here. I think that those of you that try to grow in clay soil are up to a real challenge with the more sensitive species or cultivars.

Some additional thoughts:

Whenever I've checked on an Allium bulb that tries to bloom on a very short stem it has been in the process of rotting. It has been too wet and/or attacked by some pathogen.
Also consider that some Alliums are raised from seed and produce few or no offsets so with time the old bulb will die. This is completely normal. I've read that this is the case with for instance Allium schubertii, but haven't been able to confirm it.

Perhaps obvious, but I'd also say one should start out with healthy stock and get it into the ground in time. While storage above ground for summer is healthy for many bulbs, I believe too long storage can induce rot in many species as they become weakened and too dry. Besides they need to grow roots at the proper time.

These Turkestan Onion (Allium karataviense) has grown for several years in this position. A bit more shade than ideal as seen on the elongated stems, but my belief here is that the ground cover of Lysimachia nummularia (a yellow leaved cultivar, don't know which) has helped to keep the Alliums healthy. It should be noted this allium multiply very slowly for me or not at all.





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