Botanists and horticulturists, what is this plant?

Link to a Flickr album

There’s not a lot I can say about this, except that the three bud stalks have been growing at least an inch a day yet still aren’t blooming. Because this house is still relatively new to us, we’re pretty sure this isn’t anything we planted ourselves.

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Looks like hardneck garlic to me. Pinch a leaf and see what it smells like.

It smells like garlic.

BTW I added two more images to the album. There are what seem to be strings of tiny pods each containing a few small black seeds ad shown in one of the additional photos.
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ETA: I’m not entirely sure the tiny pods I mentioned actually belong to this plant, though they did smell a bit garlicky.

An ornamental allium?

Looks like a different plant growing up through the garlic.

You’ve missed the harvest period for scapes (flower stalks), from the look of it; they’ve already straightened up. When they’re young and curled, they’re very edible; by the time they straighten up, they’re tough. Scapes are generally removed to increase the size of the bulb – they’ll produce not true seed, but tiny little bulbils, if given the chance, which if planted will grow, but will only produce tiny little bulbs. You can work them up to full sized but it’d take several years.

Harvest bulbs when about half the leaves have died down and about half are still green; which will probably be sometime in July, though it depends on year, climate, and variety. Don’t leave them too long in the field or the cloves will separate and they won’t store well. Save some of the largest cloves from decent size bulbs for replanting, about 6 inches apart, in the fall (late October here, varies depending on where you are); cover with several inches straw mulch for the winter, they’ll grow right up through it in spring. Eat the rest of the bulbs; not all at once necessarily, they’ll keep for months – store somewhere with good air circulation, temperature not all that critical as long as they don’t freeze (planted cloves can freeze in the ground and that’s fine, but they shouldn’t freeze while out of the ground.)

– that may be more information than you actually wanted –

ETA: that’s a point, they might be an ornamental allium. I’m not actually sure what those look like. If so I don’t think you’ll get edible bulbs.

Yeah, sure looks like something in the onion family. Onion, garlic, scallions, chives. Without scale, it’s hard to tell. If it smells like garlic that’s probably what it is.

The large stalks are about three feet tall.

FWIW, I now know for sure that we didn’t plant these. I was looking over the old photos for the house listing, and this plant was already there a year ago last month.

As the tree mentioned, those bulges on the top are full of tiny new bulbs, sort of like this.

That makes it more likely it’s an ornamental allium. They have huge flowers. Well, technically, the individual flowers are small, but they are arranged in a large, showy globe.

If the plants in the picture are garlic, they look like they’d have been planted last fall. Garlic left in the ground from an earlier planting will regrow the next season, but as all or most of the cloves in the bulb will be trying to grow all jammed in together, you’d be seeing a batch of small stalks growing right next to each other (and would only get small bulbs at harvest.) What’s in the photo is large individual stalks. So either last fall’s planting by a human, who divided cloves and planted some individual cloves back in the same place; or not garlic – maybe it is an ornamental allium. I don’t know anything about their growth habits.

(well, I suppose there’s a slight possibility that someone either accidentally or on purpose planted garlic bulbils or very small cloves, and those each produced a single undivided clove the first season that’s producing a single stalk above ground this year. But I would still have expected some multiple stalks, not this sort of uniform result.)

ETA: garlic scapes, if left unharvested, will also produce tiny bulbils.

The plant with the black seeds looks like a Bluebell, maybe Hyacynthoides hispanica.

At 3’ tall, my guess for the other is either an ornamental allium or Elephant Garlic, it’s a bit tall for regular garlic. Can’t tell which with the flower bud still unopened.
Probably can’t tell with it open either, if I’m honest, but at least I’d have a shot then :wink:

Impossible, because we moved in last summer and the plants were already here by then. Could they have been planted in the fall of 2017?

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Could they have been planted in fall 17 and still be regular garlic? If I’m judging the spacing and size of stems correctly, very unlikely. Garlic planted in fall 17 and then just left in the ground would regrow, yes – but all or most of the cloves in each bulb would try to grow, and they’d all be jammed in way too close to each other, which would produce a clump of stalks growing very tightly together; and, due to being overcrowded, I’d expect each of them to be small. I have seen regular garlic three feet tall, but it’s unusual, generally it doesn’t get that tall; and if those stalks are as thick as they look to me, I wouldn’t expect that from garlic regrowing from a bulb that hadn’t been split up and replanted on proper spacing, either.

Again, I don’t know anything about the growth habits of ornamental alliums. Maybe they don’t usually divide their bulbs into cloves, or maybe they take more than a year to do so.

I have ornamental giant alliums in my garden and they look a lot like the pictures. The buds at the top open into big spherical purple flowers. The plants die down to the ground and come back each year with no human intervention.

I think they might be Leeks

In case anyone was wondering, it’s in bloom now.


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