If roses are the divas of the garden, then Millenium (Allium hybrid) is the aspiring hopeful who is winning our hearts. There’s room for both in our gardens, but if you haven’t planted Allium millennium, do it now. But, before I sing the praises of this little non-stop bloomer, let me shout out to the roses. David Austin Roses.
We mostly think of alliums as the big show-stopping globe-shaped flowers that rise above the spring garden in whimsy, and we would be right. Allium bulbs are planted in fall (do plant lots of them) and bloom March-May. Allium millenium is not a bulb but is a perennial that can be planted in spring or fall. It blooms early June through late August and stays in its spot, i.e., it does not overtake the borders like the rudbeckia and echinacea are currently doing. But best of all, this tidy, little plant blooms its heart out. It is non-stop blooming all summer long.
Allium millenium was the Perennial Plant of the Year for 2018. This designation comes from the Perennial Plant Association (PPA). It puts this ornamental onion in the company of many of our favorites (Rozanne and Bikovo geranium, Asclepias tuberosa, to name a few.) It’s a butterfly and bee magnet, perfect for the pollinator garden and low-maintenance gardening. It fits all the checkboxes.
All the Good Things About Allium Millenium
- Blooms prolifically from June-early September.
- Color stays fast for weeks.
- Deadheading is easy and encourages re-bloom.
- Faded flower blooms are pretty.
- Good cut flower.
- An upright, clumping plant that doesn’t flop in heat or rain.
- Showy as massed plantings or small groupings.
- Great companion planting for taller summer perennials or underplanting for shrubs.
- No disease or pests issues.
- Produces 50% fewer seeds, so no unwanted self-sowing.
- Deer resistant.
- Rabbit resistant.
- Divides easily for propagation but does not require it.
Allium millenium performs without flopping, invading, or stopping (the blooms). In an August border, where perennials are often completely out of control and faded blooms are screaming to be dead-headed, that’s a good plant to have.
Easy to grow:
- Size: 15-20” x 10-15”
- Zone: 4a-8b
- Light: Full Sun preferred 4+ hours of direct sun daily. Partial shade okay. Try for morning shade and afternoon sun if the full sun is not available.
- Soil: Poor, clay, average, fertile, acidic, neutral.
- Fertilize monthly with a bloom booster product.
- Plant in containers, borders, edging, masses.
Cinthia Milner, Landscape Consultant, Blog Writer
B. B. Barns serves all of Western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, and Tennessee.