Ask a Question forum: Ramps (Allium tricoccum) desirable or "thug"?

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Name: Linda
southern Minn. (Zone 4b)
Hostas Peonies Cat Lover Daylilies Garden Procrastinator Region: Minnesota
Garden Ideas: Level 1
Jul 27, 2014 8:54 AM CST
I received an on-line ad for ramps this morning. The ad promoted this plant both as a edible food similar to garlic and onions and as a shade landscape plant with beautiful flowers. It multiplies both by bulbs increasing naturally and from seed production. I have an extensive hosta collection and also have tried to blend in many other shade plants: native jack-in-the-pulpit which has spread quite a bit but not invasive; may apple; mertensia; lily-of-the-valley so invasive I am considering pulling out all of it; bleeding heart which can spread wherever it wants and be welcomed; bloodroot, hepatica, vinca so invasive I did pull all of it...took several years to really get rid of it. That's what comes to mind.
My question: Does anyone have experience with ramps? Would I be risking another lily of the valley or vinca invasion? I think it might be great for anyone who did a lot of cooking and would harvest most of the increase, but I'm not that into cooking with garlic, (although we like garlic/onion flavors). I think I would use some of it for cooking, but am worried that it would spread too much. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 27, 2014 9:04 AM CST

Plants Admin

It's nothing like vinca or lily of the valley. It's nowhere near as aggressive as even jack in the pulpit. I've had ramps in my woodland garden for years. They multiply, but at very slow rate.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Avid Green Pages Reviewer
Jul 27, 2014 9:22 AM CST
Same thing here.
I garden for the pollinators.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Jul 27, 2014 8:54 PM CST
I received (probably) the same email notice from Berry, too. I'm seriously considering his offer. I am already growing native MN ramps (from seed) and ones from seed collected in Indiana. I want to see if these different provenances have different tastes. Here, ramps don't seem to required constantly moist areas, but do want cool areas. Though I've only had them for several years, I can't imagine them getting out of control.

Aug 17, 2015 8:11 AM CST
Hi Linda,

You could try Allium ursinum (Wild garlic or Bear's garlic) instead: I believe the plant isn't that invasive (I've got it in my garden for the second year now) and it also has a garlic-like scent.

Kind Regards,


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