dividing ornamental alliums

brokemommy203March 28, 2005

I have two remaining 'Gladiator' alliums in my herb garden...full sun, well-drained sandy soil top-dressed with compost once or twice a year. I started with three, in a triangular arrangement which complemented the other plantings beautifully. Two look kind of like they`re missing their third. So I now have two questions: Can and should I divide the remaining two, to fill the empty spot, and what does anyone think of the conditions I`ve described? Would anything have caused the demise of the original third? Okay, so it`s three questions: what is the best time of year to divide alliums?

I much appreciate any info.

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cheerpeople

Hilton,

I love allium. Your soil/sun conditions sound fine.They are not fond of being too wet. They don't need anything more than 30-40 inches of rain/yr here and mulitply happily!

Two is not a great number. 1-3-5's ...odd numbers look best.

I'm going to tell you what the experts say...
Don't move anything now, let them bloom and spend all summer where they are. The reason is spring bulbs go dormant after flowering. Then when the soil cools in the fall- they come back to life and continue root developement.

That being said- i was ignorant and divided allium in the heat of summer last year and when I say divide I mean seperate the offsets from the momma.
I'm glad to see they forgave me and all are coming up anyway.

I'm not sure what would cause the loss of your bulb- but I have found they don't tolerate ANY shovel damage. I got 5 damaged ones for free- (globemasters!) last fall and all are dead. Make sure you mark them so you don't accidentally hurt one after they have gone dormant and disappeared from view.

So far my gladiators have not multiplied. I have purple sensation and globemasters that are multiplying readily after 2 years. I haver a mt everest that never came up and I have allure/azure- blue that have never bloomed.

Karen

    Bookmark   April 6, 2005 at 3:25PM
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cheerpeople

I just noticed one of my gladiators has 3 babies this year. I guess the multiply as well..Karen

    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 3:09PM
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brokemommy203

Karen,
Please forgive me for not responding to your answer...I have just gone back to work after a few years "off", and I find I`m a bit overwhelmed and letting things slide a t home. I just read your answer and very much appreciate your info...since posting my question I have heard elsewhere that alliums are to be divided in the fall. I`m a little perplexed now, though--if the bulbs won`t tolerate `damage', how CAN you divide them? Wouldn`t that rough them up a bit ? I have in fact noticed that the two remaining seem to have increased somewhat since last year, but I think I would wait to see how they bloom this year before deciding if I will risk division in the fall.
I also have planted alliums that never came up, and read recently that some growers ship them at the wrong time of the year, which does them in. I will try to find that article and send it to you.
Thanks again! Jane in New Jersey

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 3:22PM
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