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If you think onions are only for eating, then you’ve got another thing coming. There are many fantastic ornamental onions for your garden that can deliver a splash of color along with quirky forms for a playful touch. Millenium Ornamental Onion is one of the best. It will charm you from mid- to late summer with rosy purple blooms shaped like lollipops. The perky flower heads attract butterflies, bees, and other valuable pollinators, too. Plant this compact grower near the front of your mixed border or keep it in a container and have a fun, portable summer color spot on your deck or patio.
Onions belong to a genus (Allium) that includes familiar edibles like garlic, chives, shallots, and so much more. There are around 850 species of Alliums in the world, nearly all of them native to the Northern Hemisphere. Many have in common musky-smelling foliage and uniquely arranged flower heads that form globes or starburst patterns. Millenium was bred in 2000 (hence the name) by Mark “The Onion Man” McDonough of Pepperell, Massachusetts. McDonough is an architect by trade and an amateur gardener on the side with a passion for ornamental onions. Millenium is one of his finest introductions.
Ornamental onions have a bad rap because of a few thugs that seed around the garden and become a real nuisance. Millenium Ornamental Onion is a hybrid that sets no seed and behavesitself. The clump will slowly bulk up and may be divided in spring or fall to start a new patch, but it won’t venture out on its own.
How to Grow
Plant Millenium Ornamental Onion in a site in all-day sun; afternoon shade may be a good idea in very hot climates. Millenium grows best in light (sandy), free-draining soils. It has average to low water needs, withstanding periods of drought once established. Most border situations suit it well, and it is at home in the rock garden, too. To use the flowers in arrangements, cut them as soon as they open, and they’ll last a long time in water. Diseases and insect pests are rarely a problem with this carefree Spirit; deer and rabbits avoid the aromatic foliage as well.
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