Allium senescens var. glaucum,
corkscrew chives     1810

corkscrew chives heirloom bulbs

This cute little allium gets its name from its tufts of short, flat, blue-green leaves that are “curiously twisted like a corkscrew” (The Garden, 1875). In her 1936 Adventures with Hardy Bulbs, Louise Beebe Wilder praised not only its foliage but its “very decorative” buds and mauve flowers which open in late summer and look especially “nice in combination with Sedum sieboldii.” 6-10”, zones 4a-7b(8bWC), from Michigan. Last offered in 2010. Widely available elsewhere.

SUB TYPE   American

ZONES   4a-7b(8bWC)

HEIGHT   6-10”

BLOOM SEASONS   late summer

SOURCE   Michigan, America, United States

LIGHT   full sun


Choose a sunny site with well-drained soil, though alliums are adaptable to most soils except heavy clay. Plant with tip up, about 3” deep and 4-5” apart (or closer for a lush look sooner). Scratch a bit of bulb fertilizer into the soil surface after planting (slow-release 10-10-10 is ideal) and water well.

Consider protecting with plastic netting, chicken-wire, etc., for a few weeks after planting, typically the only time critters bother these relatively animal-resistant bulbs.

Mulch lightly or not at all. Bark mulch is often too thick or heavy for small bulbs to emerge through and their growth will suffer.

When well established, alliums don’t require a lot of water. Water moderately their first spring till they bloom. After that and in following years they’ll do best if you allow them to dry out between waterings.

Learn how to use alliums in bouquets at our Bulbs as Cut-Flowers page.

Learn more about growing and enjoying alliums at our Fall Diverse Newsletter Archives.