Spray-painted alliums add punch to the summer garden. Photo: Jana Last, Flickr
The genus Allium offers a host of plants of interest to gardens. First, such edibles as onions, garlic, leeks and chives, then summer and fall blooming perennials like A.‘Millenium’, A. senescens ‘Blue Eddy’ and A. thunbergii ‘Ozawa’.
However, the most widely grown ornemental allies are fall-planted, late-spring or early-summer flowering bulbs, including a whole host of tall alliums bearing beautiful balls of blooms on a straight stem, like A. giganteum, A. ‘Purple Sensation’, A. ‘Globemaster’, A. ‘Mount Everest’ and many, many more.
Drying on the Spot
It’s the latter that are of interest here: the tall drumstick alliums. As the flowers fade (by then, the leaves are long gone), they leave upright stalks of dried flowers slowly turning into seed capsules, dried flowers you can harvest for indoor decoration … or leave standing in the garden for the summer.
I just leave them where they stand: wheat-coloured balls of beauty that last until winter.
Paint Them for Extra Color
However, the latest trend is spray paint drumstick alliums in bright colors for added punch.
I’ve seen people do this on the spot, directly in the garden, but then you tend to get spray paint on nearby plants. It’s therefore best to harvest them and spray them indoors, in a workshop or in a garage. You can then put them outside again, inserting the solid stalks into the ground. Spray paint helps preserve them, so you can then bring them back indoors in the fall as a winter decoration, then put them outdoors again the next summer.
Spray painting alliums: never thought you’d be doing that, did you?
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My alliums have already fallen over and seed themselves so prolifically that I cut off the flower heads and toss them. And I detest the painted versions, so that isn’t gonna happen here.
You can try the dried indoor versions. I have some au naturel that still look good after 4 years.
Oh my! No you didn’t! This is excellent. We did it to dried lily-of-the-Nile flowers a long time ago, and I am still embarrassed about it. (It was the neighbor’s idea.) They did not stand up straight, even though I plucked off all the pods. These alliums look weird, but I would like SO do this (if I grew alliums), and then blame the neighbors.
Hi, if i were to just leave them to spread their seeds, would i get new and more alliums the next year?
Alliums do self-sow, as long as there is space for their germination. They probably won’t bloom for at least 3 years, though.
I have mid-size alliums…no idea what cultivar…and they seed around too freely to leave them standing in the garden. Their stems are not strong enough to just insert in the heavy soil of my garden after painting either. BUT…they look fabulous inserted into a Christmas tree! Just like little starbursts or fireworks. And I love them in a vase too.
No, I never heard of that. 🙂