Despite the fact that Allium vegetables, like onion and garlic, have been used for thousands of years, Allium flowers are a relative newcomer. All Alliums have one ball-shaped flowerhead per stem with purple to blue flowers. White is also available but can be rare. The Giant Allium (A. giganteum) can be up to 15 cm across, while Drumsticks and A. christophii are much smaller and spikier. A. shubertii on the other hand, is huge, with a spidery flower head up to 50 cm across. It can be quite difficult, however, to find this species as a cut flower.
Flowering starts with A. shubertii in September, followed by A. christophii, Giant Allium and last of all Drumsticks, which flowers in January – February.
Allium is grown as a field crop. Most are grown in Victoria and NSW.
Types: Drumsticks (A. sphaerocephalon), Giant Allium (A. giganteum), A. christophii, A. shubertii
What to look for
- Buy when about half the flowers at the base of each ‘ball’ are open. Buds will open in the vase;
- Avoid stems with all flowers open, as these can drop when bunches are shaken.
- Keep cool at all times.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each branch and place in water immediately.
- Never bash or split branch ends.
- Always use a preservative as this will help keep open flowers looking fresh.
- Replace vase water with fresh preservative every day.
- Keep flowers away from direct sun as this can fade the blue colour.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
These flowers are close relatives of onion, garlic and shallots. They make spectacular garden plants, particularly the Giant Allium.
Botanical Name: Allium sphaerocephalon, A. giganteum, A. christophii, A. shubertii
Common Names: Drumsticks (Allium sphaerocephalon), Onion Flower
Stem Length: 30 to 100 cm
Country of Origin: Europe, Mediterranean
Available Colours: Blue, Purple, White