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David Beaulieu

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag About Allium

By May 11, 2012

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Some plants are so gorgeous and so unusual-looking that it's hard to describe them adequately in just a few words. picture of schubert onion It's really best to see them for yourself (at least in pictures); only then will you understand what all the hoopla surrounding them is about. Schubert's flowering onion is one such plant, so I won't even attempt to describe it here in a blog post. Instead, check out the picture I've provided (left) of a dried seed head from the plant. I also hope you'll click through to my article on Schubert's flowering onion, where I discuss how to grow this beauty and other interesting facts in some detail.

For a quick peek at the striking flower head before it goes to seed, you can view my full-sized picture of an ornamental onion (Allium schubertii).

But the subject of this blog post is a warning regarding the growing of alliums. Many of you own pets, and some of you are already aware of how many compromises you have to make between landscaping and the keeping of those pets. I treat this issue (from the perspective, specifically, of keeping dogs outside) in my story on landscaping with dogs.

My warning to you is that alliums are toxic to dogs and cats. As I relate in my article on Schubert's flowering onion, our cat became quite sick from nibbling on the dried seeds. So should a pet owner grow Schubert's flowering onion? Well, it depends. If you own a pet that stays indoors, you can compromise easily enough: just don't bring the dried seed head indoors. The seed head is highly decorative, and our mistake (since we have an indoor cat) was in yielding to the temptation to bring it inside to display it.

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