Do Alliums Self Seed? ( From Seed To Flowers )

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Alliums are one of the most common flower bulbs in our gardens, due to their unique look they can be a focal point in even the smallest gardens. While one or two Alliums do look good, but a large clump of them looks even better, and by far the easiest way to achieve this is to plant alliums that self seed. With just a couple of bulbs, you can have dozens of Alliums in a couple of years, as long as you allow them to self seed.

Alliums do self seed, some of them are more vigorous self seeders than others, although the germination rate of the seeds will vary as it depends on a lot of factors. Allium seeds will germinate in about 3 months although they can lay dormant in the soil for a long time if the conditions aren’t ideal for germinating. It takes around 2-3 years until the Allium seeds take to flower, so make sure to sow the seeds in the autumn to give them a head start.

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Most types of Alliums will self seed, although there are a couple of hybrid varieties that either do not self seed or are relatively poor at doing it. Alliums tend to produce a lot of seeds, you can allow the plants to self seed in the garden, and you will have Alliums popping up in random places, or you can collect the seeds. If you want a more strategic approach on where the Alliums will actually grow then you should harvest the seeds.

The best part about Alliums self seeding is that it is a hands-off approach, especially if you let the seeds drop in random places in your garden. Although there are a couple of things that you should definitely avoid doing if you want your alliums to self seed. Alliums not only self seed but their bulbs will also multiply, for more information check out my recent article Do Allium Bulbs Multiply? ( How Fast? ).

Do Alliums Self Seed?

Alliums do self seed, but the vast majority of ornamental Alliums have sterile seeds that do not germinate. Alliums produce large flower heads containing many small flowers, but these flowers rarely produce viable seeds. The majority of allium species and cultivars are sterile or have low seed viability, which means that they do not produce seeds that can successfully germinate and grow into new plants. As a result, if you want to expand your allium garden, it is best to rely on bulb division by separating the offsets or bulblets that form around the base of the main bulb and planting them separately.

Larger Allium Bulbs Produce More Seeds

The bigger the Allium bulbs are the bigger their flowers will be, and the bigger the flowers are the more seeds they will produce. Although this will also depend on the type of Alliums you are growing, as some have smaller and others have massive flowers. Even if you have plated giant Allium bulbs into your garden, you might find that the flowers are not as big as you were hoping for, and for the most part, this is normal.

In the first year, the Alliums will self seed as long as they are flowering, but in the second year, you will notice that they will have bigger flowers and even more seeds than the year before. If you want to know how to plant Alliums into a flower border then check out my recent article How To Plant Alliums In A Border ( In 8 Easy Steps ).

Do Not Deadhead Alliums If You Want Them To Self Seed

The best part about letting Alliums self seed is that even their seed heads look nice. During the winter when there is not much going on in the garden, you can still look at the Allium seed heads, which with a little bit of snow will look like massive snow globes. It is extremely important to skip deadheading Alliums, as there is no point in doing it as they are single-stemmed flowers, so they will not grow new flowers after being deadheaded.

If you are doing your autumn maintenance, then either skip cutting the Alliums or make sure that the seed heads are dry at which point you should collect the seeds.

Do Not Cut The Allium Leaves Down Too Early To Allow Them To Self Seed

After the Alliums have finished flowering most people cut their leaves down as they can be an eyesore in the garden. By doing this you are not allowing the Allium bulbs to store more energy and to grow for the next year’s growth. If you do cut down the leaves too early then in the best case scenario you will see smaller flowers in the next year, and in the worst case scenario, the Allium bulbs will not even be able to survive the winter.

When To Plant Allium Seeds

If you have collected the Allium seeds then you should plant them in the autumn, as this is the ideal time for them. On the other hand, if you sow the Allium seeds in the spring they will still germinate, although the germination rate will be lower and it will take more time for the seeds to actually germinate. When you are sowing Allium seeds, make sure to not cover them up entirely with soil, this way they are more likely to germinate. If you are wondering how late can you plant Alliums and what are the consequences then check out my recent article How Late Can You Plant Allium Bulbs ( Winter-Spring ).

How Long Does It Take For Allium Seeds To Germinate?

Germination of Allium seeds depends on several factors, like humidity, temperature, direct contact with the soil, access to sunlight, and so on. Generally speaking, Allium seeds germinate in 3 months, although in certain cases it can take a lot longer than that. Some seeds will stay dormant for a long time, and only to pop up the next year, this is normal so don’t worry if you do not see a lot of Allium seedlings in the first year.

How Long Do Allium Seeds Take To Flower?

It takes anywhere between 2-3 years until the Allium seeds have matured into plants that will actually flower. Autumn sowing is extremely important, as this way the Allium seeds will have a head start in your garden. Sowing them in the spring can mean that the seeds will take around 3 years to actually grow big enough to flower. A lot of Allium seeds will stay dormant in the first year if you sow them in the spring as they do benefit from cold exposure.

Key Takeaways

  • Alliums will self seed, the larger the bulbs are the more seeds they will produce.
  • Make sure to sow the Allium seeds in the autumn, as this is the ideal time for sowing them.
  • It takes between 2-3 years until the Allium seeds turn into a plant that can actually flower.