Stunning new allium for pots, patios and borders

This new allium from America brings us prolific flowering, compact growth and impressive resilience

Flower shows of all kinds have been disrupted over the last eighteen months, but one that went ahead – virtually, rather than in “real life” – was The National Plant Show, a trade show that always highlights the best of what’s on its way into garden centres and mail order listings.

Allium 'Lavender Bubbles'Highlight of the show is the New Plant Awards and this year 93 entries vied for the Gold Medal in five different categories plus the Best In Show.

The results were announced recently and the award for the Best Herbaceous Perennial and the Best in Show went to Allium ‘Lavender Bubbles’.

‘Lavender Bubbles’ is a neat, prolific and exceptionally frost hardy perennial.

Expect a three year old plant to make a clump about 60cm high and 70cm across packed tight with slender upright bulbs from each of which emerge two grey-green, rather upright, slightly twisted leaves and a flower stem.

The foliage is strongly onion-scented – a deterrent to deer and rabbits.

A three year old plant should carry about thirty self-supporting spherical flower heads. These are formed of up to 300 tiny individual dusty dark purple flowers in heads about 9cm across. Each individual floret last up to six days and they open in sequence through July and August. The result is a plant that thrives in a sunny garden border, and also as a specimen, or in a mixed planting, in a container.

‘Lavender Bubbles’ was developed by Hans Hansen, at Walters Gardens in Michigan, who crossed together two seedlings of ‘Millennium’, a popular variety raised by American allium wizard Mark McDonough, in 2011.

‘Lavender Bubbles’ is superficially similar to a number of existing varieties but the flowers are noticeably darker than those of ‘Millennium’ and the first flowers open three weeks later. ‘Blue Eddy’ makes a smaller plant, with smaller, paler flowerheads and shorter leaves featuring more of a twist. ‘Medusa’ is also shorter than ‘Lavender Bubbles’, with paler flowers in smaller heads. ‘Summer Beauty’ has less glaucous foliage, and paler flowers in larger umbels; it produces no seed.

Allium ‘Lavender Bubbles is available from Cowell's Garden Centre, and also from Dobies, and also from Hayloft Plants.

See also: discover alliums
Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and do not constitute an official endorsement by the RHS.

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