Bulgarian Onion (Nectaroscordum Siculum) – Planting & Care

The Bulgarian onion is known by many different names. The plant was first known as allium bulgaricum, but after research was subsequently divided into a subgenus of the allium, Nectaroscordum siculum. But you can guess… after further research, it is now subdivided again as allium kind. Whatever name you want to give the plant, the fact is that the Bulgarian onion has a beautiful and unique inflorescence. When in bloom, the plant has a large group of beautiful, bell-shaped, hanging flowers. The nice thing is that most plants normally hang up first and after a while they hang down because they become limp. This is exactly the other way around with the Bulgarian onion; the plant first flowers hanging down and at the end of flowering it will form erect seed pods, which will make them stand in a pyramid shape. For this reason alone, the Bulgarian onion is a jewel for the garden. The plant is about 90 to 100 centimeters high.

Bulgarian onion plants

The Bulgarian onion is a simple plant that, provided it is in the right location, requires little maintenance. The plant comes into its own in both partial shade and sun. It is important that the plant is in well-drained soil. When the nectaroscordum siculum is on a soil that is not well drained, it gets wet feet, which the plant cannot handle well. This can cause a lot of damage to the plant, especially during the winter.

Do you have soil without good drainage? Then you can mix gravel or hydro granules with the soil to make it drier. When the plant is in the right place and on the right soil, you don’t have to worry about it much anymore. The allium Bulgaricum is a hardy flower bulb, so you can simply leave the bulb in the ground during the winter.

Plant Bulgarian onion bulbs

Bulgarian onion bulbs are best planted between September and November. Early November is preferred, because otherwise the plant can sometimes come up too early. In general, the planting hole should be three times the size of the bulb. If you have a bulb of 4 centimeters in size, the bulb must therefore be planted 12 centimeters deep. You should plant the bulb with the roots down and the tip up.

To keep the soil from getting too moist, you can place small pebbles at the bottom of the hole. If you want to place several allium bulgaricum next to each other, you should maintain a planting distance of approximately 10 centimetres.

Transplanting Bulgarian onion

Although never ideal for a plant, the Bulgarian onion can withstand a transplant well. Pay attention: you cannot transplant the plant all year round. If you want to move the allium bulgaricum, you should do this after flowering, when the leaves of the plant have died.

Dig up the bulb carefully, taking care not to damage the bulb. Then plant the bulb directly in the excavated hole where you want to transplant the bulb. You can immediately enjoy the flowering of the plant the following year.

Flowering time Bulgarian onion

The flowering time of the Bulgarian onion takes place from May to July. In May, the beautiful bell-shaped flowers will conjure up. Around July the flowers will bloom and the plant will conjure up upright, pyramid-shaped seed pods. These remain decorative on the plant for a long time.

Nectaroscordum siculum

Is the Bulgarian onion a perennial plant?

The Bulgarian onion is a perennial bulb, so you can enjoy it for several years in a row. They often flower profusely for 4 to 5 years, after which the flowering will decrease. When the flowering decreases, you can lift the bulbs, so that they have a full bloom again the following year. In this case, you remove the bulb from the ground and store it in a dry place throughout the summer (preferably with a temperature between 20 and 25 degrees). You can then plant the bulb back in the ground in the fall and you will see (if all goes well) that it will again have a full, beautiful bloom the following year.

Bulgarian onion care

Once in the right location, the allium siculum does not require much maintenance. You only need to provide the plant with sufficient water during dry periods or extremely hot weather. However, keep in mind that the water can drain well so that the plant does not get wet feet. If desired, you can cut back the faded flower heads with stems to the ground after flowering. However, this deprives the plant of one of its decorative values: the seed pods. So it is not recommended to do this. The leaves, which often turn yellow, can be cut back during flowering. To enjoy the full bloom of the plant for longer, you should fertilize the plant at least once a year.

Prune Bulgarian onion

The Bulgarian onion does not need to be pruned. In fact, when you prune the plant, you deprive the plant of its seed pods, one of its decorative values. However, you may prefer to prune the plant back because you no longer find it attractive in the garden after it has bloomed. In that case, you can cut back both the flower stems and the faded flower heads after the plant has bloomed. Yellow discolored leaves can be cut away during flowering, but can also be removed after flowering.

Fertilize Bulgarian onion

To ensure that the allium siculum has a beautiful bloom year after year, it is wise to fertilize the plant once a year. It is best to do this at the beginning of spring, between the end of March and the end of April. You can use organic fertilizers for this. Give a handful of fertilizer per plant and spread it around the plant. Make sure you mix the soil well with the fertilizer.

Combine Bulgarian onion

Although the Bulgarian ornamental onion can easily be placed alone, it can also be combined with the plant. The green purple color of the plant combines very nicely with pink, purple and white flowers. In addition, you can also plant them very nicely in a large group, so that they can be combined with each other. Some plants that the Bulgarian onion combines very well with are:

  • Wild columbine
  • Judas Medal
  • Lupine
  • Vervain
  • Lady’s mantle
  • Cranesbill
  • Sage
  • Ornamental grasses

How to propagate Bulgarian onion

The Bulgarian onion can reproduce itself by self-seeding. The disadvantage of this is that the seeds will only flower after 5 years. A faster method of propagating the plant is by dividing the bulbs. You can divide the plant by removing the bulb immediately after flowering. Then let the bulb dry indoors. Make sure that the bulb is not in the sun, as this can damage the plant.

When you take the bulb out of the ground you will see that the bulb has smaller bulbs attached to it. You can carefully remove these small bulbs from the mother bulb and then you can plant all the bulbs in the ground. The mother bulb will flower again the following year and the smaller bulbs will flower within two or three years.

Bulgarian onion is edible: delicious in dishes

Although the Bulgarian onion is not a well-known herb in the Benelux, the leaf of the plant can be used excellently in the kitchen. Especially in Bulgaria it is widely used for dishes. The leaves of the plant should be harvested before it starts flowering. Cut only the thick, fleshy leaves from the plant and leave the smaller leaves on the plant. Then let it dry and you can use it in the kitchen!

Bulgarian onion as a cut flower

You see the Nectaroscordum siculum more and more often in bouquets these days. Not without reason: the plant lends itself perfectly as a cut flower. Its sturdy stem and unique inflorescence make it a wonderful addition to a bouquet. If you want to use the plant as a cut flower, you should cut the stem when the flowers are just opening. To avoid an onion smell, it is best to place the plants in cold water for a while.

Buy Bulgarian onion

Convinced to give the Bulgarian onion a place in the garden? Fortunately, you can easily order the plant online. Click on the button below to order the Bulgarian onion online.

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