There are hundreds of species of allium, a colorful flowering perennial that is a member of the plant family that includes chives, onions, leeks, scallions and shallots. Alliums grow from bulbs. They produce white, pink, purple and yellow blossoms from flowering stalks.
Allium cultivars produce flowers in numerous forms. Some varieties yield large round balls of tiny flowers on top of tall stalks. Others produce small or bell-shaped blossoms more loosely displayed. Still other cultivars produce clusters of drooping blossoms that resemble exploding fireworks.
Allium mix refers to a mixture of blossoms with different, complementary colors. Some nurseries sell mixtures of bulbs that produce blossoms in various mixtures of yellow, purple, pink and white. You can buy a preselected mixture of bulbs or you can buy and plant a mixture yourself.
It is best to mix alliums that have similar shape and size of blossoms. Alliums vary in size from diminutive varieties 2 inches tall to robust cultivars that are 60 inches tall. Mix tall with tall, short with short. Choose smaller varieties for growing in pots. Alliums are native to temperate climates. Most of them evolved in Asia, but some are native to North America. It is always best to plant varieties that are acclimated to your planting zone.
To plant an outdoor mix of allium in different colors, select soil that is well drained where your allium will get sun all day long. Plant them in the late fall for a spring blossoms. If your soil does not drain well, amend it 2 to 3 inches deep with compost, ground bark, peat moss or decomposed manure. Plant the bulb pointed end up 3 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart. Soak the area with water. When your alliums bloom in the spring, you can cut them for drying or for bouquets. When the blooming has finished, leave the foliage alone. The plant will turn yellow and begin dying in the summer as it slips into dormancy. This is when you remove the foliage from the bulb.
Mixes in Pots
Fill your pots, tubs or urns with well-drained soil or a commercial potting soil. Your container should have drainage holes. Allium bulbs will rot if they sit in waterlogged soil. Plant your bulbs with the pointed end up 3 inches deep and 6 inches apart. The cycle of alliums planted in pots is the same as those planted outdoors. Their care after they bloom is the same.