How to Grow Allium aflatunense Plants in your Garden

Allium aflatunense, commonly known as Persian onion or ornamental onion, is a perennial bulb and member of the Amaryllidaceae family.

A late-spring bloomer, it is recognized for its typically one-inch (2.5 cm), dense purple or lavender spherical clusters that sit atop two-to-three foot (60 to 90 cm), nearly leafless (except at its base) stems. The plant spread is around four inches (10 cm).

Ornamental onion
Ornamental onions photograph by F. D. Richards; CC.

These low-maintenance flowers thrive in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8; UK hardy in most areas.

Persian onion, purple sensation
Allium aflatunense photograph by Charles Smith.

Purple sensation, a cultivar with larger, showier globes, is great to use to fill gaps in garden beds where early spring flowers have begun to fade but summer blooms have not yet arrived.

Their colour pairs well with pink salvias and blue hyacinths blue hyacinths. When grown in bunches, Allium aflatunense make a nice addition to borders and are lovely in cottage and informal gardens.

They are particularly eye-catching when strewn with assorted wildflowers in meadows and other naturalized areas.

Allium aflatunense attracts bees and butterflies.

Allium aflatunense flower
Beautiful Allium aflatunense globe shaped flowers, photograph by Charles Smith; CC.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Persian Onion 'Purple Sensation'

Allium aflatunense prefers full sun or partial shade and moist, well-drained, clay, loamy or sandy alkaline soils.

For spring flowering, rhizomes / bulbs are best planted in the autumn (fall) before the first frost at about four to six inches (10 to 15 cm) deep.

To ensure that there is no risk of roots becoming intertwined, plant them about four to six inches (10 to 15 cm) apart.

Water deeply after planting.

There are a handful of varieties of this plant, and you can add interest to your garden by buying a few different ones that will display in different colors such as blues, pinks, whites and yellows.

Seeds from this plant can also be propagated in containers in cold frames when they are ripe or in the spring.

Offsets from the mother plants should be removed and planted in autumn. It typically takes about one or two years for plants to reach their full height.

Allium aflatunense Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Allium aflatunense
  • Common Name: Persian onion, purple sensation
  • Growing Zone: USA: 4 to 8. UK Hardiness Zone H5 (hardy to -15°C / 5°F).
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Herbaceous, Perennial

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 24 to 36
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 3 to 6
  • Time of Bloom: Late spring to Early summer
  • Flower Details: Purple
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Upright / erect

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Average pace
  • Suitable Soil Types: Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: Moist

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance:
  • Propagation: Seed in containers in a cold frame, when ripe or in spring; removing offsets in autumn
  • How to Prune: idy as leaves fade, remove seedheads if self-seeding not needed
  • Pests: May be affected byallium leaf mining flies
  • Diseases: Susceptible to onion white rot and downy mildews

Further Information

  • Can Attract: Bees
  • Tolerant of:
  • Best Garden Use: Container, Foundation, En masse , Rock garden, Seashore, Specimen
  • Family: Amaryllidaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Agapanthus, Amarylis, Narcissus, Galanthus, Zephyranthes.

  • Miscellaneous: Fragrant foliage, Non-native to North America, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers
  • Genus Detail: Allium
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

  • Allium Aflatunense Purple Sensation cultivar
    Allium Aflatunense Purple Sensation variety, photograph by Jean Jones; CC.

    I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Allium aflatunense. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Zephyranthes and Narcissus plants.