Need Allium Flower Harvest Tips & other newbie ???

susiq(NW AR 6B)June 14, 2005

Dear All,

I'm a very small scale cut flower farmer. Bought & grew a few drumstick Alliums last fall, just cut the flowers in the last week. Lovely, not nearly enough, but sold what I had! Yippee!

Got some GIANT White Ball Garlic Flower Heads this evening from a friend's home. They grow it for the garlic, my eye was caught by the giant blooms. They said, "These ol' things? Sure, you can have them!"

I thought they'd be GREAT to sell to some florists, but....

I'm nervous that these giant white balls may be a smidgen past their prime for selling to florists, PLUS, they smell like garlic!

That may well be a "We-llll, DUH!", but I thought allium blooms DIDN'T smell garlicy or oniony--just maybe the stems when you cut them. The Drumsticks didn't smell bad, and the little wild onions I have in my woods don't smell bad. Is the smell species specific? Don't have a clue which species this garlic/white ball is.

Sooo, trying NOT to write forever, but needing some/a lot of info, here're some "more" of my questions.

1. Is "Allium" pronounced w/ a long "A" like Cake, or a Short "A" like Cat?

2. What do you do w/ the bulbs after you cut the flowers, or accidentally pull the bulbs out when you're weeding?

3. Are the named varieties like Drumstick, Gigantum, Globemaster, etc, the same as Elephant Garlic (or any other garlic) ? And, probably very "dumb", are the named varieties onions or garlic?

4. Are the named varieties also grown for their use as garlic (onions?) ? If so, do they taste different than "regular" garlic/onions?

5. Can I get the same kind of flowers from "regular" garlic (which I assume might be what my friends grew), and thus, cheaper than the named varieties? The named varieties are VERY exensive!

6. Do the named varieties' flowers have that garlic smell?

7. How does one dry a garlic flower head? Do the florets "stay" or "shatter"? Does the color stay true? On which craft/floral projects do you use them?

8. When is optimal cutting time for the flowers? How long do they last in a vase?

I'm sorry to be so long. I'd appreciate any help/advice you can give me, and I'm sure I'll have lots more questions.

Thanks!

SusiQ in NETX

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susiq(NW AR 6B)

Anybody have any help/advice? Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 11:13AM
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Geezer66(Ohio)

I know that the person who gave you the flowers from her garlic doesn't get the potential size for the variety from her garlic bulbs if she lets them flower.
I know that globemaster stalks come to a time when they fall over and with just a slight tug will come away from the bulb.
Other than that I plead ignorance and would like to read some of your questions answered by those in the know. Geezer

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 12:04AM
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windwhipped(Z4 WY)

Hi SusiQ,

I'm fairly new at growing alliums, but here are some basics. First, you need to distinguish between ornamental alliums (basically, the named varieties) and edible alliums like garlic and onion. The ones grown for flowers are the ornamentals.

1. Allium with a short a - like alley - um.

2. Ornamental allium bulbs are perennial. You just leave them in the ground and they come back, and even multiply, next year. (Having said that, I am in zone 4, I don't know if zone 7 is too hot for that. Your local nursery or master gardener program should be able to tell you.)

3/4. As I mentioned, the named varieties (Globemaster, drumstick, etc.) are ornamentals. The bulbs are not meant to be eaten. I believe they are classified as onions.

5/6. Garlic isn't generally grown for the flowers, but for the bulbs. As you noticed, garlic smells like garlic.
The ornamentals I grow don't smell.

7. Don't know, I've never tried them.

8. I have an allium caeruleum in a vase right now because it fell over in the garden. It was in the garden for at least a week before I picked it and has been in the vase for about 5 days now and still going strong. (The allium in the garden have been going for a couple of weeks and still look great despite an incredible June hot spell of 90's for the last week (by comparison, the rose buds bloomed and wilted within two days in this heat).

Well, that's about all I know. Good luck with your flower selling.

Marne

    Bookmark   June 23, 2005 at 5:29PM
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