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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 4-8

nodding onion Interesting Notes

Allium cernuum is a beautiful and adaptable perennial bulb. An essential plant to consider for tough urban sites! 

Although widely distributed throughout the United States, it is uncommon. It is threatened in some states including New York, Iowa and Minnesota. Allium cernuum is native to mesic prairies and other sites with well-drained sandy, loamy or rocky soil conditions. 

The adaptability of Allium cernuum is downright impressive. Despite its nativity to mesic and even moist soils, we've seen this species thrive in the toughest places. It blooms boldly and even re-seeds in the blazing sun on our green roof, shows off along curbs in sand-based urban stormwater systems, and fits beautifully in the light shade of woodland edge plantings. Once established, this native bulb is extremely drought tolerant. Its semi-evergreen basal foliage prevents soil erosion through our mid-Atlantic winters.   

Its nodding pink flowers are a important nutritional source for bees. Humans can eat this plant too. The entire plant, from foliage to bulb, has a distinctive onion scent and flavor. 

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.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

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

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Green Infrastructure
Green Roof
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Upland (FACU)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
Clay Tolerance
Native to North America
Propagation Type
Open pollinated