Allium giganteum - 10 seeds
One of the tallest of the allium species, the spectacular ball-shaped blooms are made up of masses of tiny bright purple flowers and have a diameter of at least 20cm (8"). The airy spheres of bloom are followed by architectural seedheads that create a spectacular autumn display. Undemanding and easy to grow, these magnificent, long lasting allium flowers are also excellent for cutting. Height: 120cm (48"). Spread: 15cm (6").
Sow Allium seeds from January to mid March at 15-20C (60-68F), on the surface of a good quality seed compost and gently firm down. Keep the soil damp but not wet and do not exclude light. Place in a propagator or seal the seed tray inside a polythene bag until after germination, which usually takes 3 months. If germination does not occur by the end of this time, transfer the container to a fridge (not freezer) at 5C (40F) for a further 3 months. Check regularly while in the fridge and remove once seeds start to germinate. Repeat this cycle if germination does not occur to help break any seed dormancy; germination can often be erratic taking from 30-365 days to emerge.
When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow them on in cooler conditions until large enough to move outdoors. Move to a cold frame and plant out the during following spring, at a distance of 30cm (12") apart, in light sandy, well drained soil in full sun. When growing alliums, plant them where the leaves of other plants will cover the base of their stems. This will hide the old foliage which dies back before flowering begins.
Alliums require little maintenance. Leave stems of faded allium flowers intact to enjoy their spectacular seedheads in autumn. Divide overcrowded clumps of alliums after flowering. Caution: irritant to skin and eyes.