Allium cristophii
Common Name: star of Persia 
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Eurasia
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Pale lavender
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in rich, sandy to gritty, dry to medium moisture, well-drained loams in full sun. Plants form dense, slowly-spreading clumps over time. They perform best in dry, sunny areas of the garden. Established plantings have good drought tolerance. Plant new bulbs 3-6" deep and 10-12" apart in fall. Established plants may be divided in fall. Plants may self-seed in the garden. Deadhead flowers before seed sets to help control any unwanted spread.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Allium christophii, commonly called star of Persia, is a bulbous perennial that is ornamentally grown for its spring bloom of large, spherical, pale lavender flowerheads. This plant is native to Iran, Turkey and central Asia (concentrated in territory once known as Persia). It typically grows to 12-24" tall. Strap-shaped, gray-green, basal leaves (to 20" long and 1" wide) form a clump of foliage in spring. As the leaves begin to wither in mid-spring, flowering stems rise up (to 15-24" tall) topped with large globular pale lavender to amethyst flowerheads (umbels to 8-12" in diameter) in an impressive spring bloom (May in St. Louis). Each flowerhead is packed with up to 100 individual flowers. These flower heads are among the largest produced by any of the ornamental onions in commerce today. Seed heads dry well after bloom. Flowers lack fragrance. Leaves and bulbs have an oniony aroma when cut or bruised.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for garlic.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Bulb rot may occur in overly moist soils. Mildew, rust, leaf spots and thrips may appear. Plants may colonize over time, but are not considered to be invasive.

Garden Uses

Ornamental onion for rock gardens, beds and borders, cottage gardens and meadows. Containers. Cut flowers are excellent for both fresh cut and dried flower arrangements.