This month, we're going to take a look at alliums. Often referred to in the horticultural world as ornamental onions, you'll find a wide range of these striking flowers at New Covent Garden Flower Market.
A popular variety is Allium 'Gladiator', pictured below, with its pom-pom shaped flower head made up of 100s of tiny purple flowers. Read on to discover more about these popular summer blooms…
From the Alliaceae family, the name allium is the Latin word for garlic.
Most alliums have a distinctive spherical flower head, with some varieties being described as looking like fireworks!
They're usually available from April until July, but Allium sphaerocephalon is generally available from June through to November.
Towards the end of May and during June, drumstick alliums can usually be found at Pratley.
Then, you’ll also find Nectaroscordum available, with their gracefully drooping clusters of bell-shaped blooms.
One of the larger allium varieties with spectacular giant flower heads, made up of numerous star-shaped, purple flowers.
Allium 'Purple Sensation'
Globe-like blooms in a stunning deep violet hue.
Radiating pink flowers reminiscent of a giant sparkler! And some describe it as 'sputnik-like'.
Allium 'Summer Drummer'
With tightly packed, pale purple and white flowers, they get their name from the flower head resembling a giant drumstick.
Featuring bi-coloured oval flower heads, they're also known as bullet alliums.
Instead of a completely spherical flower head, these burgundy blooms tipped with white, have a striking tuft on top.
Allium 'Mount Everest'
With flower heads packed with white, star-shaped flowers…
Features clusters of pure-white flowers which form umbels.
Most varieties of allium are available in bunches of ten stems, apart from Allium 'Globemaster' which tends to be sold in bunches of five stems and Allium schubertii which you can buy by the individual stem.
Alliums produce a chemical called cysteine sulfoxide, which gives them an onion smell. It can discolour water and make it smell. So, it's best to change the water regularly.
Some varieties have delicate flower heads and the florets can stick together. If you find the flower heads are little flattened from transit, it's been said that a good way of fluffing them out is to hold the stems upside down in between the palms of your hands and spin them to and fro.
Jonathan from J H Hart Flowers says: "Initially when alliums arrive at the Market at the beginning of April and then for 2-3 months, they're Dutch and then the Israeli alliums appear."
A very popular bloom for contracts, the allium varieties which have spherical flower heads work well in modern, minimal designs.
Longer stemmed alliums look wonderful in tall pedestal arrangements. And individual stems of Allium schubertii look lovely in slender vases down the centre of a dining table.
Here are some examples of beautiful floral designs featuring alliums…
(Source: Rebel Rebel)
(Source: Bloomsbury Flowers)
We'd love to see photos of arrangements that you've made using alliums from New Covent Garden Flower Market. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating your company name and website address. Or if you prefer, you could post your photo on Twitter and copy us in, by including @MarketFlowers in your tweet. We'll then upload your photos into this section.
(Source: The White Horse Flower Company)
(Source: Rebel Rebel)
I hope you've enjoyed reading this month's Product Profile. Please do ask away below if you have any questions or would like to make any general comments. As always, we'd love to hear from you.
P.S. Alliums are suitable for drying and can look fabulous in designs, whether used in their natural state or sprayed.