Sunday, July 20, 2008

Allium bulgaricum: Bulgarian Onion

About two years ago I came across a package of Allium bulgaricum commonly known as Bulgarian Onion. From the moment I saw the photo on the package at the garden center I was enthralled by the unique bell shaped flowers that hang down. The flowers are pruple and green with a creamy white edge. It is said to be a deer resistant plant but in the inner city of Chicago that isn't something I have to worry about much. But that's where the positive qualities of this cousin of the onion begin and end.
This is how the flowers normally look when not being propped up to be photographed like in the picture above. Not very impressive is it? I often don't even notice that this bulb is in bloom unless I'm pulling a weed from somewhere near it. This drawback (IMO) was compounded by the fact I made the mistake of planting this bulb too far back in the garden bed so it also gets obscurred by other plants. I don't understand why this allium bulb is popular and readily available when so many other plants don't get the same amount of distribution. To truly enjoy this plant you'd have to be about 8-10 inches tall so you can look up and see inside the chandalier like flowers. Unlike other alliums in my garden I haven't noticed that this one is visited by bugs in the garden. Allium bulgaricum does make a good cut flower but it gives off a very pungent scent when cut or broken.

Unless you really love alliums and want to expand your collection of these bulbs I don't recommend this bulb. The flowers while nice, don't stand out in the garden much and don't seem to be attract many beneficial insects. I give this allium two out of five stars.

1 comment:

tina said...

A friend left me a bag of them on my porch while I was out of town. I had to research it and find it quite funny it brings me to your blog. Thanks for the info to plant them where I can enjoy them up close.

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