Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls


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The onion (Allium cepa) and the chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are known to every hobby gardener. But very few have an idea of ​​how big the genus leek (Allium) really is. There are at least 800 different species worldwide - and many of them have found a home in the Central European gardens thanks to their attractive flowers as ornamental plants.

Short vegetation cycle

Like almost all bulbous flowers, the various ornamental species grow predominantly in extreme locations that can only be colonized by a few plants. Their habitats are often steppes and stony mountain slopes, which are blessed with sufficient rainfall only for a few months of the year. The onion allows the ornamental species a very short vegetation period, because the complete plant including the flower is already laid out in it and rests in the soil until soil temperature and humidity allow it to bud. When the first green tips of the different species of ornamental lilies break through the soil surface, it takes only a few weeks until the plants are in full bloom. The entire inflorescence is surrounded by a bract that dries quickly after opening.

After pollination by insects and the onset of seed ripening, most shrimp species wither and store all of the important nutrients back into their bulbs - the entire growing season rarely lasts longer than three to four months, allowing the plants to survive in summer-dry regions, But this also means that most ornamental species, like tulips, react very sensitively to damp, impermeable garden soils. Under constant humid conditions, the onions can sometimes rot very quickly.

Plant ornamental lilies in autumn

Ornamental garlic is planted like most bulbous flowers that bloom in spring and early summer, already in autumn - from the end of September to about the end of November. On clay soils you should bed the onion on a shovel load of coarse grained sand so that the rainwater can seep in well. The depth of the planting holes should be about twice the diameter of the onions. Tip: It is best to mark the planting sites with thin bamboo sticks so that you do not damage the late-blooming ornamental-lemur species in the spring during tillage.

Zierlauch: darling of the garden designers

Allium christophii ornamental onion

The star-ball leek (Allium christophii) is also in the withered state a great bed ornament

Anyone who has ever been to a garden show, will be encountered various ornamental species, because garden designers love the Zierlauch. No wonder: especially with large-flowered species such as the giant leek 'Globemaster' or the star-ball leek can be made great bedding designs. The plants are usually in full bloom during the main visiting season in May and June and seem to float above the bed with their large violet balls. Ornamental species are often combined with bed roses and medium-sized summer perennials such as phlox, catmint, magnificent cranesbill and steppe sage. The star-shaped leek is also an excellent bedding partner for ornamental grasses and late summer perennials such as sun hat, fat hen and asters, because its golden yellow, withered inflorescences set the end of the season great accents.

Small ornamental species for the rock garden

In addition to the larger ornamental species for the bed, there are a number of small species that feel comfortable in the rock garden. Most prefer calcareous gravel soils, but are quite adaptable to the pH, as long as the soil is permeable. The winter hardiness of onions also depends heavily on the permeability of the substrate: low winter temperatures are no problem especially for the Central Asian ornamental species, because even in the continental climate of their homeland, temperatures can drop far below freezing. It is only important that the soil is airy and dry, because wet cold do not tolerate the onions. By the way: A rock garden is ideal for hobby gardeners to live out their ornamental love - but in view of the diversity of species, it should not be too small.

In the following picture gallery we give you a small insight the ornamental variety. You can also order many of the species described there during the planting season in late summer and autumn as onions in the MEIN Shop.

Purple Sensation (Allium aflatunense)

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Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: ornamental

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: flowers

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Colorful Ornamental Lily Variety (13)

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: flowers

The ornamental 'Purple Sensation' was introduced in England in 1988 at the well-known Chelsea Flower Show. He is about 90 centimeters high and its inflorescences reach up to 10 centimeters in diameter. The small single flowers carry small intense red-violet-colored petals. The species affiliation is not completely clear, but most experts consider the variety for a selection of Iran leeks (Allium aflatunense)

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: balls

The petite gold leek comes from southwestern Europe and grows there on shady mountain slopes. The flower stems are up to 35 inches long and carry flat, to seven centimeters wide umbels of bright yellow single flowers. The golden leek feels most comfortable in shady locations in the rock garden, but also thrives on permeable, loose soil in the flowerbed. In addition to the wild species, the variety 'Jeannine' is widespread. It often forms two flower stems per bulb

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: Colorful

The dark green shiny ovaries gave the black leeks its name - actually inappropriate, because the petals of the small single flowers are white. The plant is native to southern Europe and flowers only in June / July. The approximately 70 centimeters high flower shoots carry almost spherical inflorescences with up to ten centimeters in diameter. The black leek is also known by the synonym Allium multibulbosum and is well suited as a bedding plant and cut flower

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: flower

With its hanging on long thin stems single flowers of the beautiful leeks is a very graceful appearance and also an excellent garden plant. The light pink flowers are on up to 30 centimeters high shafts. They only open in July and last into September. The delicate leeks need well-drained soils and tolerate no overly strong root competition, so a rock garden is the optimal location

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: Colorful

The star-shaped leek is one of the largest and best-known leeks. He bears the name because of its small, star-shaped flowers, which are arranged into a near perfect sphere. The flower balls have about 25 centimeters in diameter and can consist of up to 80 individual flowers. The star-ball leek is native to the mountains of Central Asia and flowers from May. Tip: Cut the thick, up to 40 centimeters long flowering shoots after flowering not, because even in the wilted state of the star-shaped leeks in the late summer beet is a great eye-catcher

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: flower

The decorative bluetong leek is very suitable for rockeries and sunny perennial beds with well-drained soil with its broad blue-green leaves and the pink-white flower ball. It spreads even in good locations even by seeds and daughter onions itself and can even be cultivated in a pot with permeable soil. The plant is native to Central Asia and forms a thick, at most 20 centimeters long flower stem with a ten-centimeter large, round flower buds. The flowers open in May and are usually already withered in June. The dry inflorescences are often used in floristics. With the variety 'Ivory Queen' is also an ivory white form in the trade

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: balls

The name ball leeks leads something astray, because the flowers of this robust leeks tend to form a rather cone-shaped dense umbel in intense violet red. The ball-leek is very hardy and comes in large quantities planted in full-sun Staudenbeet with permeable, calcareous soil to its best advantage. The umbels reach up to five centimeters in diameter and bloom from July. They thrive on up to 100 centimeters long flower shoots. Tip: Ball leeks are very suitable for dry bouquets

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: ornamental

The wild garlic is an old acquaintance for many nature lovers: it grows in the native beech forests and pervades the air in spring with its intense garlic scent. Its broad green leaves are edible, but are repeatedly confused with the leaves of the poisonous lily-of-the-valley, although a quick taster test actually eliminates any likelihood of confusion. The white star-shaped flowers open in April and sit in flat umbels on about 20 centimeters long flower shoots. Bear's garlic is also suitable as a garden plant for shady, nutrient-rich and sufficiently moist soil under trees. Note, however, that the plants can spread widely and usually move in as early as May

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: lily

The inflorescence of this leeks reminiscent of the fireworks of a New Year's Eve rocket: The pink flowers sitting at the ends of different lengths stems, so that on the strong to 60 centimeters long shaft creates an irregular spherical umbel with up to 30 centimeters in diameter. Particularly interesting is the propagation strategy of Schuberts leeks: When the seeds are ripe, breaks the entire inflorescence and is rolled by the wind over the earth. In this way, the plant manages to distribute their seeds over a large area. The leeks are native to Asia Minor and, like most species, are suitable for perennial beds on well-drained soils in sunny locations

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: flowers

The Naples leek is native to the Mediterranean region and forms in May / June small flat umbels with white single flowers on up to 40 centimeters high shafts. The plant grows like most leeks on loose, well drained and not too humid soils in full sun. The onions of Naples Allium are relatively rare in commerce. The plants are very suitable as cut flowers

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: ornamental

The small pink flowers of the single-leaf leek appear from May and shine in the sun, as if they were covered with a frosting.They are arranged on the up to 50 centimeters high shafts in loose flower umbels with about five centimeters in diameter. The single-leaf leek is considered the most beautiful of the American Zierlauch species and is native to the mountains on the southern west coast of the United States. He is only partially winter hardy in Germany and should therefore be cultivated mainly in the pot. Planted in the bed he needs a well-drained winter-dry soil and should be protected from frost with a thick layer of leaves

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: balls

Huge purple flower balls with up to 15 centimeters in diameter on stems that are strong, 100 to 150 centimeters high: The giant leek 'Globemaster' is an impressive appearance at the height of flowering in May. The wild giant leek comes from Central Asia. In the opinion of most experts, however, the variety 'Globemaster' is strictly speaking a hybrid, probably a hybrid of the star-shaped allium (Allium christophii). The variety 'Globemaster' feels most comfortable in the sunny perennial border on well drained soil. The flower is not very durable when dried, unlike most other species

Ornamental Lily: Colorful flower balls: ornamental

The Sicilian Zierlauch is officially no longer leeks, because he now listens to the botanical name Nectaroscordum siculum. In gardener circles, the old name is still very common. The Sicilian leek is common in the northern Mediterranean from France to Asia Minor. It occurs - unusual for a Zierlauch - in damp, shady forests and flowers from May to June. Its greenish red single flowers are very large and hang bell-like in the flower dandelion. The flower stem is up to 120 inches high. The plants also grow in the garden in shadier locations on fresh to slightly moist soil and multiply in suitable soil conditions on daughter onions

Purple Sensation (Allium aflatunense)

Gold Allium (Allium moly)

Black leek (Allium nigrum)

Beautiful leek (Allium carinatum ssp. Pulchellum)

Star Ball Allium (Allium christophii)

Blue-tongued leek (Allium karataviense)

Ball leek (Allium sphaerocephalon)

Wild garlic (Allium ursinum)

Schubert's leek (Allium schubertii)

Naples Allium (Allium neapolitanum)

One-leaved leek (Allium unifolium)

Giant leek 'Globemaster' (Allium giganteum)

Sicilian Ornamental (Allium siculum)

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