Star of Persia
Also known as
Star-of-Persia, Downy Onion
2 years to reach maturity
This plant has a mild fragrance
Star of Persia Overview
Allium cristophii is a summer-flowering perennial bulb that produces striking round shaped clusters of star-shaped violet flowers at the top of 50cm tall stems and has earned a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Garden Merit. Commonly known as the Star of Persia, this stunning bulb will produce fragrant leaves in early spring which will have faded by the time the flower has opened, making it a useful addition to mixed flower borders. These attractive flowers can be cut for floral arrangements or left to develop into seed heads giving structure to late autumn and winter displays. Preferring a sheltered spot with full sunshine, this easy to grow bulb needs to be planted 10cm deep in autumn. If your soil is heavy, you may wish to add grit into the planting hole to improve the drainage - winter wet can rot the bulb. If clumps get too big, they can be lifted and divided in spring or autumn. Replant the healthiest bulbs 10cm apart. Take care with the unearthed bulbs as Alliums are poisonous to our pets.
Common problems with Star of Persia
How to harvest Star of Persia
Collect ripe seeds in autumn for use straight away, or store in cool dry conditions for spring sowings. Cut flowers/seed heads as and when required for floral arrangements. Although the leaves, bulb and bullets are edible with a slightly bitter flavour - and can be eaten raw in small amounts they are toxic if eaten in quantity. Although edible for humans, it is not recommended to eat bulbs produced for the ornamental industry. Consult with a medical professional for further details.
How to propagate Star of Persia
Lift bulbs in autumn while the plant is dormant and separate offsets. Replanting or potting up straight away.
Plant bulbs - or offsets from them - in autumn, up to three times their diameter, approximately 10cm.
A consideration is Allium grown from seeds may take several years to reach maximum size. Sow in containers in a cold frame when just ripe or in the spring.
Special features of Star of Persia
Attracts useful insects
This species is part of the RHS “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants which support pollinator populations by providing ample amounts of nectar and/ or pollen. A great choice for encouraging pollinating insect wildlife into your garden!
Survive dry summers in bulb form.
Suits being grown in raised beds or larger containers to balance the height of the flowering stem.
Repels harmful insects
Their mild onion scent can repel harmful insects from other plants
Other uses of Star of Persia
Dried arrangements, border, edging, rock garden, cutting bed, walls, rock garden Resistant to deer and rabbits.