Spring is for more than just daffodils and tulips
Giant onion, Allium giganteum
Photo/Illustration: Jennifer Benner
In late spring, ‘Jeannine’ golden onion (USDA Hardiness Zones 3–9) emerges, growing a scant foot tall. It has two stems of individual, star-shaped, golden yellow flowers forming a circular floret. I love ‘Jeannine’ for the ease with which its soft, straplike, blue-green leaves tuck between the wonderful blue flowers of late spring to early summer. To get any kind of display, plant at least a dozen bulbs. ‘Jeannine’ multiplies continuously and, in a few years, will put on quite a show. If you love large drifts of golden daffodils, you will be equally impressed with this small golden treasure.
After viewing this average-size garden gem, moving on to something that looks like a giant lollipop on a stick is a shocker. Giant onion (Zones 5–9) is all that its name implies, peeking out in late spring and growing up tall and bold. The 4-inch-diameter flower is a pretty shade of lilac, but the large leaves are troublesome, turning yellow even before full flowering is complete. If this plant is not placed in the back of a border, it will need a hardy perennial to cover its dying foliage. Giant onion’s flowers are long blooming and are excellent to use as cut flowers. When planting, leave plenty of room for these large bulbs to grow.