With a showy bloom, alliums are a popular addition to many gardens. The allium is actually a member of the onion family.
While they may not produce the familiar edible bulbs we all love to cook with, it’ll be quite evident that they are in the onion family when you cut the stems or work with the plants.
The smell can be quite strong, yet not wholly unpleasant. The flowers of the allium look very much like puffy globes, when in bloom.
The head of the flower is a cluster of small individual flowers.
The general shape of the flower head may be perfectly round, oval, or even have an attractive cascading look to it.
Alliums can be found in many charming colors. This includes blue, purple, yellow, pink, and white. They can be fun to plant all in the same color.
Many gardeners do mix and match for a fun pop of color in their flowerbeds.
The allium is late spring and an early summer bloomer. It tends to be an incredibly hardy plant. That said, you may be faced with alliums that haven’t made it.
Before you remove them from your garden, there may be an easy explanation for their untimely death.
We’ve gathered the 5 most likely culprits.
Determining Why Your Alliums Died
1. Are The Soil Conditions Right For Growing Alliums?
Alliums are hardy plants, that much is true. However, like many bulbs are, they can be finicky about the type of soil that they grow in. The soil should be loose and well-draining.
Soil that is too tightly packed, or that doesn’t allow for adequate drainage, is going to lead to unhappy plants. Poorly draining soil can result in soggy bulbs and roots. This, in turn, can lead to rot.
The good news is that you can adjust the soil conditions by loosening the soil and adding better draining sand to tightly-packed soil. You can also add rocks to the soil to help with the drainage.
It is quite easy to amend the conditions of your soil. This is a quick and easy first step to take and is quite often the culprit.
2. Are You Overwatering Your Alliums?
Overwatering is the bane of the gardener. Alliums will grow well in warmer temperatures, but may not need as much water as you are giving them.
Feel the soil at the base of your plants. It shouldn’t be soggy, but more just slightly moist against your fingertips.
If your soil is also too tightly packed, this might be the reason your plants aren’t making it.
Watering less is a straightforward solution. You do want to keep your plants hydrated when those hot days roll around, of course.
Just be a bit mindful about how much water your alliums and other bulb plants are getting.
3. Are They Not Getting Enough Sun?
Alliums grow well in sunny spots. They love the sunshine. They can also do well in areas that receive partial sun.
If your alliums are in a mostly shady area, they aren’t likely to thrive.
They may grow stunted, or they may grow tall and leggy, only to quickly die back.
If your alliums are in planters, simply move them. Otherwise, next year consider planting them in an area that gets better sunshine.
A bit of planning for next year’s garden will allow you to determine better where your alliums will thrive.
This is an easy fix. It will also allow you to evaluate whether other plants in your garden should be moved.
4. Are You Over-fertilizing Your Alliums?
Most plants need some sort of fertilizer in order to thrive and bloom. It is possible to over-fertilize and to use the wrong type of fertilizer.
Pick out a fertilizer that has been designed specifically for alliums.
If you cannot find one, then you’ll do well by selecting a generic brand with a higher content of phosphorus.
Be sure that you closely follow the instructions included with the fertilizer.
Honestly, a less is more approach is better for keeping your alliums happy and healthy.
Fertilizer is easy to buy from your local garden center. It is also easy to reverse the effects of over-fertilizing, with a bit of time.
5. Is It Simply That Time Of The Season?
The majority of alliums are perennials. This means that they will typically return blooming year-after-year.
That said, once your alliums are done flowering, they may begin to die back as the hottest months of the summer arrive. There’s not much to do at this point.
You can remove the dried blooms, or leave them in place. Add mulch to the plants and let them do what nature is going to make them do.
This is truly a hands-off fix. There’s not much that needs to be done to ensure the continued health of the plants. They aren’t dead. They are simply going dormant for their off-growing season.
What Is The Best Solution?
For alliums, sometimes the best solutions are the easiest solutions.
They are incredibly low-maintenance plants that won’t need much at all from you.
Keep the soil loose and well-draining, keep the plants watered and fertilized.
That’s about it.
Your alliums are sure to come back each year, healthier than ever before.