Allium cernuum

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: nodding onion
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Canada to Mexico
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to light shade. Best in full sun, but appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Best in sandy loams. Plants will naturalize by self-seeding and bulb offsets in optimum growing conditions. Deadhead flowers before seed sets to help control any unwanted spread. Foliage persists past flowering into late summer before dying back. Plants are easily grown from seed which should be planted in spring or from bulbs/bulb offsets which should be planted in autumn.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Allium cernuum, commonly called nodding wild onion, is a Missouri native plant which occurs primarily in rocky soils on glades, bluff edges, open woods and slopes in the Ozark region of the State. Plants typically grow 12-18” (less frequently to 24”) tall. Features clumps of flat, narrow, grass-like leaves (to 12” tall) and tiny bell-shaped, pink to lilac pink (occasionally white) flowers which appear in loose, nodding clusters (umbels) atop erect, leafless scapes rising slightly above the foliage. Wild nodding onion is distinguished from most other native alliums by the fact that its scapes crook sharply downward at the top just below the flower so that the flower umbel nods (hence the common name). Blooms in summer. All parts of this plant have an oniony smell when cut or bruised. Although the bulbs and leaves of this plant were once used in cooking (stews) or eaten raw, nodding onion is not generally considered to be of culinary value today.

Specific epithet means nodding.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for garlic.

Specific epithet means nodding.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage dies back in late summer.

Garden Uses

Rock gardens, border fronts, cottage gardens or naturalized areas.