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Christophii (Allium hollandicum 'Christophii') allium bulbs

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Alliums

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Description

The allium Christophii, also referred to as the Star of Persia, offers a spectacular star-shaped pink-purple bloom in June and is just one variety of our popular allium bulb collection.

As its nickname suggests, the Star of Persia's individual flowers surround a green-jewelled centre and are formed of five long delicate thin petals in the shape of a star. Some umbel heads can contain up to 80 individual star-shaped flowers making a very distinctive plant.

The pompom-esque umbels are often described as bursting fireworks, with the large metallic blooms of the Christophii bursting up to 8 inches wide. Quite the firework display, the blooms are also followed by attractive seed heads.

A shorter variety of allium (with 60cm stems), it flowers slightly in June and July producing colour when other alliums have finished blooming and once tulips and daffodils have flowered. It is best planted between other herbaceous plants, although its grey/green strap shaped leaves wither before blooming in early summer.

It's ideal for informal gardens, but because it takes up very little space it works well in flower borders and beds as well as in gravel or rock gardens. Allowed to naturalise and self-seed, they will grow in impressive clumps.

Why we like it

  • Thin pointy petals make star shaped flowers and dramatic blooms
  • Easy to care for and very hardy

Planting know-how

  • Plant in autumn in a sunny spot
  • Plant bulbs 3 to 4 times the depth of bulb, 10-15cm apart
  • A total spread of 10-50cm when fully grown
  • Likes fertile well drained or moist soil. Consider adding grit to heavier soils such as clay to increase drainage
  • Dead-head before seeds disperse as these seedlings’ blooms will be less vibrant in colour

The Christophii has many names and is one of the oldest specimen of alliums. First collected in Persia by the Russian diplomat Bode, it was originally named Allium bodeanum after him. Its Christophii name takes the name of the first herbarium specimen which was collected by Eugenius Johann Christoph Esper, a German entomologist in 1883.

It can also be referred to as allium albopilosum, referring to the fringe of white hairs that appear on the edges of its leaves. As well as attracting bees, butterflies and birds, it also offers interest outside of the garden, working excellently as a cut flower or in dried flower.


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