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Plant of the Month: Allium christophii

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Cambridge is surely at its absolute best in June, don’t you agree? Canopies of green leaves overhanging the river; cow parsley lining the roads, and our own gardens and balconies full of the freshness of early summer blooms. The long days and bright, summer light mean that plants and flowers pop with colour long into the evening, and a plant that does this especially well is our June plant of the month, the beautiful, Allium Cristophii.

Also known as Star of Persia, Allium christophii is a perennial bulb native to Iran and part of the Amaryllidaceae family. Each plant has a huge globe of almost reflective, silvery-lilac star flowers atop a long, leafless stem. The striking globes can reach 20cm in diameter and really make a statement especially when weaved through borders amongst low-growing plants. A.christophii has a more open flower head than many other "globe alliums" allowing you to see the beautiful internal architecture of the flower and giving it the appearance of an exploding firework.

Allium bulbs, like most other spring bulbs should be planted in September / October. They like full sun if possible, and well-drained, sandy soils; if the soil is too wet the bulbs can rot. The stems will reach 50cm before flowering in June. The long-lasting, pollen rich globes are a magnet for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects, making Allium christophii a valuable nectar plant for wildlife.

Allium Cristophii has been given the prestigious RHS ‘Award of Garden Merit’ and it’s easy to see why. They naturalise easily and will come back year after year for decades. They are drought tolerant as well as fully hardy and are just as happy in pots as they are in your borders. Keep your borders fresh by removing spent flowers and brown or damaged leaves.

If you would like us to help with a planting plan for your garden that incorporates striking plants and considers wildlife and sustainability then do get in touch.

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