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Allium cristophii, The Star of Persia, is found growing on rocky slopes in the wild in Iran and other parts of Central Asia . In the garden it grows best in free draining soils in the sun but we have some growing in rough grass in the shade and they seem to enjoy that situation as well (although their stems are longer due to the shading). The silky strap-shaped leaves are followed by the flower stem which is between 10-16" (25-40 cm) tall - the leaves then wither away as the plant comes into full flower in June. The flower head, is up to 8" (20 cm) across and made up of 50-80 star shaped florets in a pale purple and metallic silvery violet colour. The seed heads dry well, though get bleached of their colour by the sun. The seed can be sown to flower in 4-5 years but will self seed in undisturbed ground. Allium cristophii is good with grey leaved sun loving plants such as lavender and the seed heads make good a foil for ornamental grasses, which can hide their untidy leaves
Allium cristophii has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit because it has proved to be reliable in appropriate conditions and a good performing plant.
To avoid excessive overlap and crowding, plant the Allium cristophii bulbs about 8" (20 cm) apart and 3-4" (8-10 cm) deep in sunny well drained soils and try to include purple or grey in the surrounding planting for added effect. Planted amongst other plants the dry stems and the seedheads that they support last longer and are less easily pulled from the ground in high winds - this also hides their untidy leaves.
Height 10 -16" (25-40cm)