Every year since 1990, the good folks of The Perennial Plant Association has chosen an outstanding perennial to tout for the upcoming year. The plant must be able to grow in many climates across the country, require little maintenance, offer interest to the garden in multiple seasons and rarely be bothered by pests or diseases.
This year, Allium ‘Millenium’ has been named their Perennial Plant of the Year®. I fell in love with this ornamental onion a couple years ago when I saw it on the benches at the garden center where I work. I didn’t purchase it quickly enough, however, and they sold out before I got one. Allium ‘Millenium’ had to occupy the top spot on my plant wish list instead of space in my landscape.
I didn’t make the same mistake the following year. A lovely grouping of seven Allium ‘Millenium’ plants is now planted at the front of a newly-renovated perennial border. Here’s why I love them.
- Their upright clumps of flattened, grass-like, shiny, deep green foliage, growing about a foot tall and wide, are pretty from the time they emerge in spring until late fall.
- In mid to late summer, 2-inch globes of rose-purple (more rose than purple) flowers are held like lollipops on 18-inch leafless stems. Blooms hold their color for almost a month before drying to light brown.
- They don’t mind the heat. In fact, the more sun the better for Allium ‘Millenium’.
- They are easy to grow and care for. Their only must-have is well-drained soil. They are drought tolerant and besides cutting back their foliage in late fall or very early spring, they require no maintenance.
- Deer, rabbits, chipmunks and other garden troublemakers ignore Allium ‘Millenium’. Like other ornamental onions, their foliage and flowers smell and taste like onions.
- They are good bedfellows. Allium ‘Millenium’ is ideal to plant at the front of borders; their upright form makes them easy to tuck in between other summer-blooming perennials; and, planted in mass, would make a beautiful ground cover for sunny, dry spots in the landscape.
- Allium ‘Millenium’ is a pollinator magnet.
Do you already grow Allium ‘Millenium’? If you don’t, put it at the top of your plant wish list. Garden with me!