Allium cernuum

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials, Bulbs

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: neutral, alkaline, rich, loam, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 12"-18"

Bloom Time: June, July, August

Bloom Color: pink, lilac

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, colonizing, cottage garden plant, deer resistant, edible, fragrant plant, fragrant root, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, rock garden plant

Allium cernuum (nodding onion)
  • Allium cernuum (nodding onion)
  • Allium cernuum (nodding onion)
  • Allium cernuum (nodding onion)
  • Allium cernuum (nodding onion)

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Description

Allium cernuum

Also known as:

nodding onion

,

nodding wild onion

,

wild onion

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Allium cernuum is easy to recognize by its umbel consisting of a cluster of individual flowers that gently arch downward, hence the common name nodding onion. Bloom color may vary from whitish to pink or lilac. The foliage is basal and grass-like with erect or arching leaves up to 12" long and 1/4" across that persist past the blooming period and die back in late summer. Each plant typically produces only one flowering stem that is up to 18" tall.

Cultivation

Nodding onion is easy to grow under average garden conditions. It prefers a high quality environment and soil that is moist to dry. Flower production is best with more sun, but it will tolerate open shade or dappled sunlight. The bulbs will produce offsets creating dense clumps over time. It will spread readily by seed when grown in disturbed areas, but can easily be controlled by deadheading. The blooming period lasts 3 to 4 weeks from early to mid-summer. Zones 3-8

Propagation

This species is easiest to propagate by separating and transplanting bulb offsets. It can also be propagated by seed, but new plants are slow to reach blooming maturity.

Additional Notes

Allium cernuum is very versatile and can be incorporated into meadows, or grown in cottage gardens or mixed perennial borders and beds. It is highly tolerant to deer and other herbivores. Can be grown in the proximity of black walnuts.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, AZ, CO, DC, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, NE, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, WY

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Threatened: IA, MN, NY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida Monocotyledons
Subclass Liliidae
Order Liliales
Family Liliaceae Lily family
Genus Allium onion
Species Allium cernuum nodding onion