Allium ‘Millinium’ 2018 Perennial Of The Year

The Perennial Plant Association has awarded the title Perennial Plant of the Year® 2018 to Allium ‘Millenium’. This herbaceous perennial, relative to the common onion, is a workhorse of the late summer garden. Bred by Mark McDonough, horticulture researcher from Massachusetts, ‘Millenium’ was introduced through Plant Delights Nursery in 2000 where it has proven itself year after year earning rave reviews. ‘Millenium’ is spelled with one “n.”  This cultivar is bred for late flowering with masses of rose-purple blooms, uniform habit with neat shiny green foliage that remains attractive season long, and for its drought resistant constitution. 

Allium ‘Millenium’ has numerous virtues to add to the landscape setting. Growing best in full sun, each plant typically produces an upright foliage clump of grass-like, glossy deep green leaves reaching 10-15” tall in spring. In midsummer, two to three flower scapes rise above the foliage with each scape producing two or three showy two-inch spherical umbels of rose-purple florets that last as long as four weeks. The flower umbels are completely round (spherical), not domed or hemispherical as they are in some Allium species. They dry to a light tan often holding a blush of their former rose-purple color. While other alliums can look scraggly in the heat of the summer, ‘Millenium’ does not let the heat bother it! Easily grown in zones 4-9 (possibly zone 3) makes it a great perennial in many areas of the country. In very hot summer climates it does appreciate afternoon shade. 

Pollinators will flock to Allium ‘Millenium’!   Butterflies and bees will thank you for adding ‘Millenium’ to your garden. Pair with shorter goldenrods (Solidago sp.) such as ‘Little Lemon’ that reaches one and a half feet tall. Goldenrods are late summer pollinator magnets that will offer beautiful contrasting golden yellow blooms.    Allium ‘Millenium’ looks great backed with the silver foliage of Russian sage. Or simply plant ‘Millenium’ en masse and enjoy the rose-purple display!  

This low-maintenance dependable perennial will not disappoint! Blooming at a time when most of our garden begins to decline in the tired excess of the season, ‘Millenium’ offers much needed color.  It is truly an all-season plant that offers attractive shiny foliage spring through summer and caps off the season with its crown of perfectly round rose-purple flower umbels!

No serious pest problems have been reported. Leaf spot may occur in overcrowded growing conditions. Deer and rabbits leave ‘Millenium’ alone. Alliums are sometimes avoided due to their reseeding behavior. Fortunately ‘Millenium’ exhibits 50% reduced seed production, raising less concern for self-sown seedlings. 

Allium ‘Millenium’ has a fibrous root structure forming an ornamental herbaceous clump easily propagated by division. Once in the garden, ‘Millenium’ can easily be lifted and divided in either spring or fall. Cut back foliage in late fall.

Previous Perennial Plants of The Year have been:
2017 – Asclepias tuberosa – Butterfly Weed
2016 – Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’

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