Another Reason to Love Ornamental Alliums: Seed Heads!

Another Reason to Love Alliums - Longfield Gardens

The big, round flower heads of ornamental alliums are irresistible — at least they are to me. My gardens now contain about a dozen different types, yet still I crave more. There’s just something so unexpected and playful about them. These hardy and reliable perennials are also long-blooming, pollinator-friendly and seemingly immune to diseases and pests, including deer.

Another Reason to Love Alliums - Longfield-Gardens

As if that’s not enough, here’s yet another reason to love alliums: their seed heads! Though the late spring/early summer flowers eventually fade and lose their color, what remains is still impressive — both in and out of the garden. Here are some ways to make the most of these decorative seed heads.

Another Reason to Love Alliums - Longfield-Gardens

Use Allium Seed Heads in Fresh Arrangements

You can cut the seed heads while they’re still green and add them to fresh flower arrangements. Their color, shape and texture bring a special sparkle to home-grown bouquets. Allium Purple Sensation is ideal for this.

Another Reason to Love Alliums - Longfield-Gardens

Leave Them in the Garden

You can leave the seed heads right in the garden, where their unusual shapes and textures will continue to attract admirers. I find alliums with strong, thick stems such as Globemaster and Gladiator last the longest. That said, the seed heads of allium Christophiii also last for months. In a dry summer, they can still look good right through August.

Another Reason to Love Alliums - Longfield Gardens

Display the Seed Heads Indoors

You can cut the stems and bring them indoors to create striking flower arrangements that last for weeks or even months.

Another Reason to Love Alliums - Longfield-Gardens

Spray the Dried Seed Heads

Another option is to let the seed heads dry completely and then paint them. Last year I dried some Gladiator seed heads and then gilded them with gold spray paint. This year I plan to paint some of them silver.

Another Reason to Love Alliums - Longfield-Gardens

I have also sprayed the dried seed heads with glossy white paint and used them in wedding arrangements. The ones shown below are Gladiator.

Another Reason to Love Alliums - Longfield Gardens

If you want to dry allium seed heads for painting or displaying indoors, here’s a tip. The seed heads should be sprayed with paint or a clear fixative when they are dry, but before the capsules begin to open and release the seeds. By sealing the seeds inside the capsules at the end of each “stem” you will preserve the starburst effect and also won’t have to sweep up lots of seeds.

In the photo below, the seed head is still too green to paint, but the swollen seed capsules are evident.

Another Reason to Love Alliuns - Longfield Gardens

To see some beautiful dried alliums (Allium schubertii) hanging from the rafters in an old stone barn in Wiltshire, England, check out this article on Gardenista.

The time to plant ornamental alliums is fall, and we are able to ship bulbs from September through early November. Plan ahead to make sure you get the varieties you want.  You can view our complete selection HERE and pre-order your bulbs from about April on.

To learn more about these easy and impressive fall-planted, spring-blooming bulbs, read: All About Alliums, Types of Alliums, How to Plant Allium Bulbs (VIDEO), and Alliums for Every Garden.