Allium ampeloprasum
Common Name: leek
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Northern Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, southern North America, Caribbean, South America
Zone: 5 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Flowers bloom 2nd year only
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable
Flower: Insignificant
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in deep, organically rich, medium moisture, sandy, well-drained loams in full sun. Plants perform best with consistent moisture during the growing season.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Allium ampeloprasum, commonly known as wild leek, is in a large genus of about 400 species of variable plants in the onion family. This species is native to Southern Europe, northern Africa, western Asia and Egypt, but has been introduced and in many cases naturalized in a large number of additional areas throughout the world. This species consists of biennial, onion-like plants now divided into three different horticultural/vegetable groups, namely (1) Porrum Group (leeks grown for their tasty stems), (2) Ampeloprasum Group (elephant garlic and levant garlic grown for their mild garlic-like bulbs) and (3) Kurrat Group (kurrat).

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for garlic.

Specific epithet comes from the Greek word ampelos meaning vine and parson meaning leek for a leek found growing in vineyards.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Bulb rot may occur in overly moist soils. Slugs attack young plants. Rust may be the most serious disease affecting leeks (remove and destroy infected plants). Watch for mildew and leaf spot. Onion maggots and thrips may appear.

Garden Uses

Vegetable commonly added to casseroles, salads, stir fry, soups and stew, but may be eaten raw.