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ALLIUM porrum 'King Richard'

Image of Allium porrum 'King Richard'

James H. Schutte

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

ALLIUM porrum 'King Richard'

Plant Common Name

Garden Leek

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Delicate, sweet and lacking the hot acidic taste of onions, King Richard garden leek is a must for the herb and vegetable garden! This selection is fast-growing and readily forms long white stems before the green leaves unfurl. It also has decent tolerance to repeated light fall and winter frosts. Usually grown as an annual, it is a biennial that isn't affected by diseases that afflict onions. When 'King Richard' flowers, it produces pinkish white flowers in the spring. Small bulbils form in the balled flower clusters and can be removed and placed in soil. The garden leek is native to southern Europe and western Asia where it thrives with rich soil, full sun, and cool summers.

Plant the seeds or young bulbils in full sun and fertile, moist, well drained soil at a depth of two or three times their width. Leeks can be grown in hot climates if given afternoon shade and cool soil. They require regular water to thrive. In cold winter areas, plant leek transplants in the early spring to harvest them as long as soil does not fully harden with frost. As the plant grows, keep soil mounded around the stem up to the lowest leaf joint. This process, called blanching, will keep the long, thick stem of 'King Richard' white and mild-flavored. Dig up the stems when they are half an inch to two inches thick (one to six centimeters), or after about 75 days. Any small plantlets uprooted at harvest can be immediately replanted.

Grow 'King Richard' in the vegetable garden where its long white stems and medium green foliage can be used ornamentally while growing. It can be harvested at any time for culinary use. The small leaves and stems may be chopped and used like scallions. Larger slices of the leek stem may be boiled, fried or eaten raw in salads. The mild flavor perhaps could be described as a combination of cucumber and hints of sweet onion, quite common in Welsh and French cuisines. In Wales the garden leek is a national floral emblem and can be used as both a fresh cutflower or dried filler.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Europe, Southern Europe, Russia/Siberia, Northern Africa, Central Asia, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow Green, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Dried Flower/Everlasting, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes