Drumstick Allium / Round-Head Leek Bulbs
- Colour: Purple
- Height: 60-90 cms
- Scent: Faint
- Flowering: July/Aug
- Bulb Size: 5/6 cms
- Planting Depth: 4 times the height of the bulb
- Planting Months: September - December
- RHS Award of Garden merit
The Drumstick Allium, or round-headed garlic / leek, Allium sphaerocephalon is one of the latest flowering of the alliums you can grow in the UK and it is one of the most popular members of our collection of allium bulbs for sale.
Allium sphaerocephalon has smaller flowers than many, but they are a very deep (almost blackcurrant) purple. It is treasured by gardeners for being so late into flower (one of the reasons it holds an RHS AGM), usually peaking at the very end of July or the first weeks of August at a time when many parts of a border are past their first flush of colour. The buds are pretty as well so it provides colour and interest for the best part of three months. Not bad for a bulb.
The name "drumstick" is pretty obvious. The tightly formed egg-shaped flower heads standing on tall leafless stems up to 90 cm tall look like brightly painted drumsticks. If planted in mid-border, the massed blooms sway gently above surrounding herbaceous plants adding a "height interest" in mid/late summer.
Allium sphaerocephalon naturalises beautifully self-seeding as it goes, making it a wonderful plant with which to create the massed drifts in which it looks best.
Why we like it
- Very late flowering allium
- a perfect mid-border plant
- naturalises very well
- just about bomb-proof
- RHS Award of Garden Merit
Planting Allium sphaerocephalon
- Plant in autumn, in full sun
- Plant bulbs 12-15 cm (5-6 inches) deep, 10 cm apart
- Self-seeds without being invasive
- Prefers fertile well-drained soil. Add grit to heavier soils such as clay to increase drainage
- An excellent subject to grow in a pot
A must have allium, deep purple and looking great in a massed planting, A. sphaerocephalon is a haven for late summer pollinators to the garden.
Sometimes listed as Allium descendens or Allium cilicicum in older texts.
Plant Allium sphaerocephalon in borders and containers. They also naturalise very well, self seeding where they are happy.
The principal requirement is decent drainage - alliums hate permanently wet soil and they grow best in a sunny spot.
Space them about 10 cms apart - the bulbs are relatively small for alliums, so they look a bit lost if they are not grouped together. The planting hole should be about four times deeper than the bulb is tall - so between 12-15 cms deep. The pointy end is the top...
Water in dry spring weather as late flowering daffs may not flower if they are too dry. The spent flower heads are very handsome and can be left on the plant or cut to make a dried flower arrangement. Allow the foliage to die back naturally before removing.
By all means apply a high potash fertiliser during the growing season to help bulk up the bulb for next year. Lift and divide clumps of alliums if flowering is poor.