Allium lusitanicum
Common Name: German garlic 
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Europe
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: Pale pink to pinkish-purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Performs well in sandy soils. Add sand to clay soils as needed to improve drainage. Best in full sun, but appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Tolerates a wide range of soils. Although this allium is a true bulb (albeit weakly developed) on a rhizome, it forms a clump which can be lifted and divided somewhat easily in either spring or fall. It will spread in the landscape by short fleshy rhizomes or by self-seeding. Deadheading spent umbels before seed set not only helps control unwanted spread but also helps build a stronger bloom for the following year.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Allium lusitanicum, commonly called mountain garlic, is a bulbous perennial that typically grows to 9-14” tall. It is native to cliffs, meadows, mountain slopes, dry grasslands and pine forests in Europe (Ukraine to Northern Portugal). It is synonymous with and formerly known as Allium senescens subsp. montanum. Allium senescens, its subspecies and varieties are primarily native to Asia except for the within plant which is native to Europe. This geographically separated European native has now been removed from A. senescens and renamed Allium lusitanicum.

Each plant typically produces 4-9 linear, grass-like, green leaves (to 1/4” wide) which emit a strong onion-garlic aroma if bruised or crushed. Leafless, hollow, unbranched flowering scapes rise above the leaves to 14” tall in mid-summer (July-August), each scape topped by a single terminal globose umbel (to 1.25” diameter) bearing tiny pale pink to pinkish-purple florets. Seeds mature in fall. Although all parts of this plant have an oniony smell and taste, this species is primarily considered to be an ornamental and is not usually grown for culinary purposes.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for garlic.

Specific epithet is from Lusitania the old Roman name for Portugal.


No serious insect or disease problems. Bulb rot may occur in overly moist soils. Watch for mildew, rust and leaf spots.


Mountain garlic is an attractive summer-flowering perennial which may be grown for both ornamental and culinary uses. It is a good ornamental addition to flower borders and cottage gardens where it is best grown in groups or massed. May be grown as a culinary herb in herb gardens.