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ALLIUM ursinum

Image of Allium ursinum

International Flower Bulb Centre

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

ALLIUM ursinum

Plant Common Name

Bear Garlic

Special Notice

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

General Description

Chinese chives, a bulbous perennial, are grown both for their umbels of star-shaped white flowers and their edible foliage. The flowers have a fragrance like violets and bloom from late summer to autumn. The flower stalks emerge from a basal clump of upright, grayish green, grassy leaves. Alliums belong to the onion family and thus all have the familiar pungent fragrance when their leaves or stems are crushed. This ornamental onion is native to Southeast Asia, where it grows in full sun and well-draining, often sandy soil.

In the fall, plant this bulb two inches deep in well-drained soil; rot can result if planted in wet soil. Once established, alliums tolerate some drought. Reduce watering when the foliage starts to fade. Chinese chives are vigorous growers; lift and divide the clumps when they become crowded or when the flower production starts to dwindle. The garlic-flavored foliage can be snipped to enjoy in cooked dishes or raw in salads throughout the growing season. Grow Chinese chives in groups in ornamental herb and vegetable gardens, mixed borders, containers, and rock gardens. Thanks to their pleasant scent, Chinese chives make excellent cut flowers and are also long-lasting when dried.

Characteristics

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6"-10" / 15.2cm - 25.4cm

  • Width

    24"-32" / 61.0cm - 81.3cm

  • Native To

    World/Pandemic, North America, Europe, Russia/Siberia, Northern Africa, Asia, India

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Chartreuse

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Herb / Vegetable, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes