Alliums are a genus of bulbous plants containing over 280 species, many of which are found wild all over the Northern Hemisphere. Allium giganteum is a member of the onion family and native to the Himalayas and given the right conditions can grow to a height of over 4 ft! The leaves are glaucous and broadly strapped shaped, and they produce these beautiful, deep lilac, star-shaped flowers on impressive 4-5 inch umbels in June.

Allium cultivation

Allium giganteum
Allium giganteum seed head
The giant allium will do best in well drained soil, and prefers a site blessed with full sun. If you are purchasing Allium giganteum as bulbs in the autumn then these can be planted September to October. Just make sure that they are planted a good 3-4 times the depth of the bulb - otherwise the plant may not be able to support the height of the stem and will fall over in strong winds. In exposed sites you may need to consider staking!

Deadhead after flowering, leaving the stem to die back naturally so that the nutrients and carbohydrates within can bulk-up and strengthen the bulb for the following year. Allowing the seeds to ripen will use precious energy, unless you are collecting the seed for propagation.


The flowers of the Allium giganteum are impressive by anyone's standards, and a personal favourite of my own. You can readily purchase them in the spring as bulbs - huge bulbs obviously - but as you can imagine, just one bulb can be pricey. However, growing Allium giganteum from seeds is surprisingly easy and as a hardy plant you can choose to grow them inside under protection or outside in a prepared seedbed.

TIP. Your giant alliums should germinate straight out of the pack, but if you purchased them early and are not ready to sow them yet then I would keep them in the bottom of the fridge to help break any dormancy issues and improve germination rates.

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