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Allium senescens subsp. glaucum

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Kemper Code:  Y720

Common Name: German garlic
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Bulb
Family: Alliaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: Europe, northern Asia
Height: 0.5 to 1 foot
Spread: 0.5 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: July - August   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Lilac to lavender
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun, but appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Tolerates a wide range of soils. Drought tolerant. Although this allium is a true bulb not a rhizome, plants form dense clumps which are easily divided in either spring or autumn. Clumps will slowly spread and self-seeding often occurs. Deadhead flowers before seed sets to help control any unwanted spread.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

This German garlic variety is an ornamental onion which is noted for (1) its unusual swirling and twisting leaves which are bluish-gray (glaucous) and (2) its compact size (it is smaller than the species). Twisted, thin-but-flattened, grass-like, linear, basal leaves form dense, spreading clumps which typically grow to 6" tall and as wide. Lilac/lavender florets appear in globular clusters (umbels to 3/4" diameter) atop leafless stems rising above the foliage to 12" tall in mid-summer. Unlike most other alliums, the flowers of this variety are mildly fragrant. All parts of this plant have an oniony smell when cut or bruised. Although the leaves are edible, this plant is considered to be an ornamental and is not usually used for culinary purposes. This plant is sometimes sold as Allium senescens 'Glaucum'. The Royal Horticultural Society lists the correct name as Allium senescens subsp. montanum var. glaucum.

Problems: Click for detailed list of pests and problems.

No serious insect or disease problems. Plants may colonize but are not considered to be as aggressive as some of the other alliums.


Rock gardens, border fronts, herb gardens. Good edging plant for gardens or paths.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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  High resolution image available.