Alpine Rosy Bells; aka,
Pink Lily Leek
"Let first the onion flourish there."
-Robert Louis Stevenson
Allium oreophilum (formerly A. ostrowskianum) is native of mountains of Eastern Turkestan. The species name means "Mountain Lover."
It will naturalize rapidly in full-sun rockeries. It is adaptable to zones five through ten, & may like a tiny bit of shade in the hotter end of that range, & definitely needs autumn mulching to protect the bulb at the colder end of that range.
Here in Zone 8, the only special care is to provide it the fullest possible sun (morning & afternoon, or at least full afternoon), in the best-draining soil. In the right location it is practically a no-maintenance wildflower.
We planted over two-dozen bulbs at a street corner with other alliums, sun roses, & similar sun-lovers. The bulbs were placed five inches deep, two to four inches apart, in Autumn.
I was sure drainage was adequate in this spot, yet it appeared that about half of these bulbs rotted during the rainy winter, for only about half of them flowered the following May, & those were the ones nearest the stone ledge. So when I plant more of them in the future, I will try to remember to put all of them right against a stone ledge where drainage is super-maximum. They're great front-ledge flowers anyway, because so small.
Their average height is variable. The scapes with umbels, or loose balls of clustered flowers, are in the six to ten inch range; the foliage is taller, four to eight inches to as much as a foot high. The flowers are a rich dark pink, in full bloom in late May, lasting into June, & are among the earliest of our alliums to flower. It goes completely dormant in summer.
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