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Allium cernuum (nodding onion)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Allium cernuum

nodding onion

Found on ledges, in dry meadows, gravel, rocky or wooded slopes, this delicate onion has gently nodding pink flowers in late spring. Beautiful in the garden or naturalized in a meadow. Easy, dependable and very drought tolerant once established.

Allium cernuum LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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12-18 Inches


8-10 Inches


6-12 Inches

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone 3-9

nodding onion Interesting Notes

Easy to identify by its distinctive, nodding, pastel lilac-pink flowers, nodding onion survives in challenging sites. Native to the US, this diminutive 1-2' Allium thrives on rocky outcrops, dry woodlands, and bone-dry prairies. In the garden, tuck a handful here and there, among rockery, in the woodland popping up through Carex foliage, nestled up against a tree trunk, or in the sunny rock garden. It readily reseeds. If this is not desired, deadhead when the flowers fade. - Niche Gardens

Nodding onion is a beautiful and carefree native bulb for the garden. Clusters of pink flowers are borne in loose heads on 1’ tall stems above grass-like leaves. Nodding onion grows well in a perennial border, open woods, or meadow in light shade to full sun. This versatile plant competes well in the garden among other companions such as Eragrostis spectabilisSchizachyrium scopariumStokesia laevisSymphyotrichum spp., and Solidago spp. In the open woodland garden it combines nicely with Heuchera americana and Thelypteris noveboracensis. - Mt. Cuba Center

Allium cernuum Growing and Maintenance Tips

Best in full sun in moist, average or dry soil. Very easy to grow and drought tolerant once established. Will tolerate light shade, but will give best show in full sun.

Good Substitutions

smooth oxeye Heliopsis helianthoides
swamp milkweed Asclepias incarnata 'Ice Ballet'
wild bergamot Monarda fistulosa 'Claire Grace'
common milkweed Asclepias syriaca

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Spring / Early Summer
Green Infrastructure
Green Roof
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Open pollinated