Allium darwasicum
Sat, 24 Aug 2002 20:45:39 PDT
Lisa Flaum wrote:

>I just received a bulb of this from Janus Ruksans.  
>I have read that it needs a very dry winter, so plan
>to pot it up and leave it in the garage.  Should it 
>be potted with dry soil, damp soil, or ever watered
>in when planted?  

Allium darwasicum needs very good drainage, more so than a dry winter per se.  I plant my bulbs in raised sand beds and they seem reliable growers, regardless of our cold, snow, rain and winter treachery.  I once had the form from Janus Ruksans, and it flowered one year, then succumbed the following winter.  It was planted in "normal" garden soil (that was a mistake), and it rotted off in the 2nd winter.  I now grow a different form that I like even better (although the Ruksans form is a fine one too).  It is available from Paige Woodward at

It's an intriguing species, not the most beautiful, but alluring all the same because of it's incredible sweet fragrance, like Gardenias.  This species is a member of the Melanocrommyum section of the genus Allium, a section that contains the big cricket-ball types of Allium such as A. giganteum and A. cristophii.  With Allium darwasicum, the bloom head is a dense, upright knob of chartreuse whitish flowers atop 16"-20" (40-50 cm) stems.  Check out my gallery of selected "melanocrommyum" alliums at:…

...or go directly to a couple pictures of Allium darwasicum at:…

So, plant it in very sandy soil, or pure sand for that matter.  It's perfectly hardy.  In spring, even the dryland alliums respond well to ample water while they're growing.  In summer, after the plants have gone dormant, avoid watering the bed where it is planted.  Some summer rain dosen't hurt, particularly if planted in sand.  I simply avoid watering my "melanocrommyum bed" in the summer, but I don't worry about it getting rained on if mother nature decides to produce rain.  I hope that helps.

Mark McDonough        Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States    "New England"               USDA Zone 5 ==============================================
web site under construction - 
     alliums, bulbs, penstemons, hardy hibiscus, western 
            american alpines, iris, plants of all types!

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