The ornamental onion is adorned with large, spherical, mostly purple inflorescences. So that they don’t miss the admiration they deserve, they are enthroned on long stalks high above the foliage. The small star blossoms that form the flower balls stay fresh for a long time. But even their heyday finally came to an end. The beautiful sight is gone! Can their decorative value be saved by drying? Here you can find out how to dry ornamental onions and how to preserve the allium flowers.

Suitability as dried flowers

Drying flowers has a long tradition all over the world. This is how a piece of blooming summer is carried into the icy winter. Of course, the dry flower balls cannot be compared with fresh specimens. But they have their very own ornamental value and can also be kept for months or even years. While we’re masters at drying rose petals, the allium is a blank slate for many gardeners. Is it really easy to remove moisture from the spherical ornamental onion? So that its shape doesn’t collapse afterwards?

Yes, ornamental onions can actually be dried well. It retains its round shape, even if its brilliant color fades. Wait anxiously for the next flowering period and see if a few extra flowers will sprout. In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with the ideal drying process so that the result is good.


Allium is one of the largest onion families with over 900 species. In addition to the useful varieties, pure ornamental varieties are also cultivated in gardens. More than 30 different varieties of ornamental onions are commercially available. New breeds that want to elicit further color nuances from the leek are already being planned. But no matter what variety you have in your garden, it will bloom sometime in May or June. The location and the weather like to play time delays or time accelerators. Watch the development of the flowers closely so that you do not miss the ideal time to cut the flowering plants.

Tip: A particularly nice variety of leek for this project is the star bulb leek. Its violet flower balls, whose star blossoms have a metallic sheen, have a diameter of up to 25 cm. During the drying process, the star bulbs change only slightly.

cut flowers

After the buds open, the inflorescences of ornamental onions remain in full bloom for a long time. It is understandable that this sight wants to be admired for a long time. But don’t wait too long to cut it off. The ideal time to preserve the ornamental onion has come as soon as all the individual flowers of an inflorescence have fully opened.

  • Prune flowers on a dry day
  • a piece of the stalk should remain attached
  • for dried bouquets, cut to the base of the stem
  • Use secateurs or a sharp knife
  • do not store fresh flowers on top of each other
  • the spherical shape must not be destroyed
  • all individual flowers must also remain intact
  • so there are no unsightly gaps in the flower

Appropriate drying method

Allium can only be used as a whole inflorescence, so the spherical shape should be retained. If the flower is laid down, the side on which it is laid becomes flatter and flatter over time. The form thus defaced cannot be subsequently restored. Therefore, the ornamental onion should only dry in such a way that no pressure is exerted on the flowers. Gentle drying in the air has proven its worth. The leek blossom hangs upside down.

Prepare allium flowers

Hold the buds upside down and gently shake them out. This means that any small animals that may be inside can fall out. Other mini plant parts blown by the wind can also get caught between the small individual flowers. If the ornamental onion is clean, you can hang it up to dry.

  • tied a piece of twine or raffia to the stem
  • tie a loop at the end for hanging
  • Tie several inflorescences together to form a bouquet
  • but not too many together
  • otherwise the flowers can flatten each other
  • the flowers could also become moldy
  • Leek with the thread on a nail or similar. attach

Ideal place to dry

Now look for a suitable place where you can attach the ornamental onion flowers with the thread. Remember that the leek needs to be hanging upside down. It is best if the single flower or bouquet is hung from the ceiling. In this way, pressure is not exerted on the flower from any side. The ideal place for this is:

  • cute
  • dry
  • airy

Drying can take place both indoors and outdoors. In the second case, ideally under one roof. However, should the days be too rainy, the ornamental onion finds it difficult to lose its moisture. Better bring him in.

drying time

Drying of the leek takes place in May or June. The outside temperature during these months can fluctuate. The warmer and drier it is in place, the quicker the ornamental onion will dry out. On average, you can expect a drying time of around 2 weeks. If you want to be absolutely sure, let the allium hang a little longer.

Dry seed heads

If the flower stays on the plant, a visually very attractive seed head will develop after withering. Like the flower, it can also be dried. But beware, the small, numerous seeds detach very easily. You should know that they trickle out so easily if you dry them upside down indoors. Even dry in the vase, the seed head can lose seeds at the slightest touch, which can be explained by its spherical shape.

But how about just leaving the seed head on the plant in the garden, where it will dry out on its own over time? Even after that, it will remain a great eye-catcher. The only problem might arise with strains that propagate heavily from seed. If a strong self-sowing is not desired, you must cut off the flower heads before the seeds ripen.

use and durability

How you use the dried ornamental onion is left to your imagination. Classically, it is in good hands in a vase or in a drying arrangement. Of course without water! Gladly combined with other flowers. But Allium should always be arranged in such a way that its flower shape comes into its own. Allium can be dried for many years without changing its appearance. Over time, however, it will collect some fine dust.

Note: If you decide to dry dug up bulbs of this plant for storage so that they last longer, you are making a mistake. They are much better off in wet sand.

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