Allium hybrid trends #1 
(really tall rhizomatous alliums!)

After growing thousands of allium plants, with particular interest in hybrids, a quantifiable range of
characteristics has emerged.  One can think of these identifiable traits as "lines", and new seedlings
seem to fall within these lines.  A new "line" that emerged over the last few years, is that of tallness.


Most of the Allium senescens-nutans progeny produce plants averaging about 18" tall.
Among the tallest plant in this group is an extremely robust form of A. nutans, with large 2-1/2"
globes of white flowers on stems that can reach 26"-28".  The photo below shows a distinctive

seedling resulting from this large nutans form, but differing with it's muscular base of green
strap-like leaves, and exceptionally tall stems to 36"-37" (1 meter), with white spherical heads of
bloom (in the photo, the buds just starting to open).  It is also a rebloomer, representing yet
another line of alliums with an extra long season of bloom. 

These new extra tall rhizomatous Allium hybrids enter a new category of summer
blooming plants competing for attention with other mid to late summer border perennials,
really useful as a vertical accent.




In the general garden view below, we start seeing the drifts of even-height alliums punctuated
with the new tall growing sorts.  Starting out as white-flowered types, it wasn't long that the
typical range of white to lavender to purple arrived on the scene. In the view below, we see 
mostly tall white-flowered types.




Below we see some tall rosy-purple hybrids.  One annoying "line" in my Allium hybridization and selection
regimen is the tendency for some hybrids to resort to bulbillifery, that is, the tendency to produce small
bulbils in the inflorescence that sprout with green leaves that ruin the flower head's appearance.  I try to
avoid seed from such types, as they lead to plants that increase the chance of this characteristic.


In the view below, we see a bed of selected tall Allium hybrids.  The white tape visible on some of the stems
indicate plants that have been selected and tagged, with seed heads that I want to save seed of.  Some of
the tall ones shown here, are already going on to a seed phase.




Photos by Mark McDonough

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This page was last updated on 08/31/07