Allium, Carolinianum Rosy Beauty
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ALLIUM, Carolinianum Rosy Beauty
Rosy Beauty is a genuine Himalayan native allium indigenous to the rugged, mountainsides of the Himalayas. The 10-16 inch plants produce dainty, fuzzy pink globes approximately 2+ inches in diameter. The leaves are somewhat unusual for Alliums. They are broad, fleshy and quite large for a plant this size. Plant these little bulbs deeper than other bulbs of this size. Plant them about 8 inches deep and 3 inches apart. They show best in the garden when planted in groups of at least 10 bulbs.
Allium, Carolinianum Rosy Beauty
The Allium family includes an enormous collection of plants including leeks, onions, elephant garlic and shallots. There are more than 200 species and thousands of cultivars. In the wild, they are found all over the Northern Hemisphere including North America, the Middle East, western China, the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Mediterranean. They flourish with exposure to full sun, in rugged mountainous areas where the ground drains quickly and completely. They also love bonemeal, so add a generous helping of bonemeal (1/4 cup) to the hole where you plant each bulb.
Of all the ‘critter resistant’ bulbs, the Alliums are the most ‘critter resistant’. Deer, rabbits, squirrels, mice, moles and voles cannot stand the smell of Alliums. The fragrance is so strong and so offensive to critters that Alliums can be used to deter the critters from tulips and other more vulnerable bulbs. A critter has to be really desperate to eat an Allium.
One of the rare Alliums is Allium carolinianum Rosy Beauty. If I did not tell you this was an Allium, you probably would never guess that it was a member of the Allium genus. Despite its name, it does not hail from the Carolinas. It is native to the Himalayas, growing from Afghanistan to Nepal.
A. carolinianum Rosy Beauty grows in full sun in the scree (a rocky mixture of small gravel and scant pockets of soil) that rests on the mountainsides of some of the world’s highest mountains. This Allium can be found at elevations of 9,000-12,000 feet. Some of these environments are among the harshest on earth.
The 10-16 inch plants produce dainty, fuzzy pink globes approximately 2+ inches in diameter. The leaves are somewhat unusual for Alliums. They are broad, fleshy and quite large for a plant this size. These leaves are cooked by locals as a nutritional source. The juice of the leaves is reputed to be a moth repellent and the entire plant is known to repel insects, moles and deer.
The beautiful little globes attract and nourish pollinators. They can also be dried and used in floral arrangements. In the markets of Central Asia, they can be found being sold for ornamental and nutritional applications.
Planting Bulbs in the Fall for Glorious Spring Color
Bulbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. Fundamentally the process requires four steps.
1. Dig a hole.
2. Dust the hole with bonemeal.
3. Place the bulb in the hole.
4. Fill the hole with soil.
There are, however, some additional refinements which help produce even more lavish results and enhance protection from critters.
First, bulbs can and should be planted deeper than the instructions you receive on the package labels. An easy way to remember how deep to plant the bulb is to think of a quarter. If the bulb you are planting has the same diameter as a quarter or less, plant the bulb 4 inches deep. If the bulb is broader than a quarter, plant it 6-10 inches deep. Large bulbs like some alliums, camassias, standard tulips and fritillaries can easily be planted 10 inches deep. As the soil compacts days, weeks and months after planting, it produces a thinner layer of soil on top of the bulb. Planting bulbs deep helps with critter control. Moles, voles, chipmunks and squirrels are lazy little creatures, and they don’t like doing a lot of digging to reach their food.
Second, bonemeal is a must. It is an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus which help the bulbs to form a strong root system and healthy stems. For large bulbs (those bigger than a quarter), use ¼ cup per bulb. For small bulbs, dust the entire surface or hole where the bulbs will reside.
Third, small bulbs should be planted in clusters of 10 or more – 1 inch apart. Large bulbs, like allium, can stand along, but create a much more pleasing presence in the garden when planted is clusters of 3-5. They should be separated by no more than 4-6 inches.
Fourth, bulbs usually multiply fairly quickly and once crowded will not produce blossoms. Plan to divide your bulbs in mid-summer to fall when the top growth has dried out.
These simple, easy, quick tasks are all that is required to produce a lovely bulb display year after year.
Planting Bulbs in Containers
If you live in Hardiness Zones 5 and higher all you need to do is mix some soil. . Check out the soil mix described in detail in our Harvesting History YouTube video. Do not use prepared soil mixes.
The Best Soil Mix for Containers
Always plant bulbs more densely in containers than in the ground. Pots as small as 6-inches in diameter can have a showy presence on a deck, porch or patio. You can use much larger pots and plant several kinds of bulbs.
Fill the pot half full, dust the soil surface with bonemeal, arrange the bulbs on top of the bone meal and fill the pot with the rest of the soil. Dust the surface of the soil with more bonemeal. Water thoroughly, but do not let the pot stand in a saucer of water.
If you live in Hardiness Zones 1-4, you must protect the pots by bringing them into an unheated garage or surrounding them with bales of straw. If you do not do this, the bulbs usually freeze and turn to mush.