Allium christophii

Allium Christophii: Star of Persia

We’ve just had our first little bit of rain in weeks. The garden has been desperately dry, with small cracks appearing in the ground in the worst areas. So this rain is a huge relief!

At the same time, we’ve had the sunniest May here since records began in 1929. Wonderful for sitting out in and giving us lots of flowers everywhere, but making it even harder to keep up with watering.

Many plants have suffered in the heat, but a few have coped well. One of the best has been Allium christophii, which seems quite unbothered by drought. As long as it gets lots of sunshine and has well-drained soil, it’s happy.

The allium leaves become yellowed and dead-looking by the time the flowers open. These can to be hidden by planting the bulbs with something that they can grow up through.

When the allium flowers are over, there are the lovely dry seed heads to give an interesting display for the rest of the summer. You may find seedlings if you leave the heads – or you can just cut the heads and bring them indoors to display. (Allium christophii will also multiply by bulb offsets.)

One big bonus of growing alliums is that they’re highly attractive to bees. I’m trying to increase the number of good plants for pollinators and other insects in my garden, so these really earn their place.

These alliums are well settled in my garden. I have two areas where there are spreading clumps of them and it’s a delight to see the flowers increasing every year. They’re so pretty that I won’t mind if they get a bit invasive. That just means that there will be more for me to photograph!

27 thoughts on “Allium Christophii: Star of Persia

    1. They are such pretty flowers that they’ll be welcome anywhere in my garden! 🙂 Your soil sounds like ours – thank goodness for the rain!

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  1. There’s a variety of allium that’s used as a landscaping plant here. I don’t know which species it is, but it’s very pretty, blue, and seems to thrive no matter the conditions. We’ve not been particularly dry, but we’ve already become summer-hot, and ours is blooming like crazy. Yours seems to have fewer flowers in its head than many I’ve seen photos of. Is that a characteristic of the species, or is it just beginning to bloom?

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    1. The blue alliums sound lovely. The number of flowers on an Allium christophii head seems to vary, probably with how large the bulb is. Some of my alliums did have larger heads of flowers, so must be the original bulbs. I’d expect the flowers from the offsets to be smaller for a few years – it will be interesting to see what happens!

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      1. Yes, it’s actually a small ‘light table’. That’s basically a curved piece of translucent plastic that gives you a white base and background. It’s on a metal frame that allows you to shine studio lights through it, so that there’s light coming from behind and below as well as the light at the front.

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  2. Hi Ann – Gorgeous image and flower – I had to look that one up and it does not seem to be too prevalent around here. Apparently it does not like too much moisture – we have had a huge amount of rain recently so it would be unhappy. I find your camera set up really interesting. I have been thinking about getting a Light Box for shooting some of my flowers. Did you buy your set up or did you put it together yourself?

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    1. Hi Syd – thank you! 🙂 I use a Calumet ‘Desktop Shooting Table’ like this I have mine suspended from two other bits of furniture so that I can have a light below it and there’s another behind – that gives the pure white background. Then the flower itself is most often lit by a strobe with a big softbox and another with a shoot through brolly. (Awkward in my tiny space!)

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      1. Thanks so much for the info Ann. I have never seen anything quite like this. This is a pretty nifty set up. Sort of like a light box but not really. I now have something to put on my wish list for Christmas.

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    1. I’m trying to build up the plants that help wildlife, especially bees. There’s lots more birds around this year. 🙂


    1. Thank you Steve! They’re so easy to grow if you can give them well-drained soil and sun – and the bees love them too – so I reckon it’s a great idea. 🙂

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