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Onion Allium

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Onion:

Phonetic Spelling
AL-ee-um
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Allium, commonly referred to as ornamental onions, are bulbous herbs that are characterized by their onion or garlic odor originating from their long, basal foliage. The genus contains hundreds of species and include the ornamental ones plus the garlic and onions we grow for food. Many are native to the northern hemisphere where they can be found growing in dry, mountainous regions. Although they are cultivated within the landscape, in nature ornamental onions can be found growing in forests and are present as a weed in disturbed areas. The genus contains approximately 700 species; most of which bloom between late spring and early summer. 

The easiest method of propagation for ornamental onions is division as they are easily grown from bulb offsets. These should be divided and planted in spring for the best results. Sowing from seed is also an option but some seeds may take years to germinate. After flowering, the foliage may look unwell so the leaves should be cut back to revive the plant’s interest. To protect plants over winter months, dig and store any non-hardy species. 

Ornamental onions are great for border gardens, rock gardens, edible gardens, or as a mass planting. They should be planted in full sun in rich, sandy loam soil at a depth of 5-8 inches and 6-12 inches apart. They bloom in late spring to early summer.

Pests, Insects, and Other Plant Problems: Overly damp conditions leave ornamental onions prone to fungal issues, including bulb rot, white rot, rust, and mildew.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Flowers Galore
Cultivars / Varieties:
A. aflatunense, A. caeruleum (A. azureum), A. canadense, A. christophii (A. albopilosum), A. cowanii, A. giganteum, A. karataviense, A. moly (A. luteum), A. neapolitanum, A. oreophilum (A. ostrowskianum), A. schoenoprasum, A. sphaerocephalon, A. tricoccum, 'Globemaster'
Tags:
#bees#purple#fragrant#red#white#hardy#sun#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#full sun#fragrant flowers#edible plant#perennial#white flowers#container plant#perennial bulb#purple flowers#pink flowers#showy#red flowers#yellow flowers#weedy#fragrant leaves#tubular flowers#spring flowers#mass planting#herbaceous#full sun flowers#perennial flowers#organic soils#summer flowers#full sunlight#herbaceous perennial#edible landscaping#summer bulbs#bell shape#rich soil#sunshine#star shaped flowers#summer interest#rock gardens#borders#spring interest#pollinator plant#edible garden#edible#sandy soils tolerant#loamy soils tolerant#perennials#loam#border#butterfly friendly#loamy soil#ebh-vh#ebh#butterflies#pollinators#pollinator garden#sun tolerant#bee friendly#bee
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
A. aflatunense, A. caeruleum (A. azureum), A. canadense, A. christophii (A. albopilosum), A. cowanii, A. giganteum, A. karataviense, A. moly (A. luteum), A. neapolitanum, A. oreophilum (A. ostrowskianum), A. schoenoprasum, A. sphaerocephalon, A. tricoccum, 'Globemaster'
Tags:
#bees#purple#fragrant#red#white#hardy#sun#bulb#showy flowers#poisonous#full sun#fragrant flowers#edible plant#perennial#white flowers#container plant#perennial bulb#purple flowers#pink flowers#showy#red flowers#yellow flowers#weedy#fragrant leaves#tubular flowers#spring flowers#mass planting#herbaceous#full sun flowers#perennial flowers#organic soils#summer flowers#full sunlight#herbaceous perennial#edible landscaping#summer bulbs#bell shape#rich soil#sunshine#star shaped flowers#summer interest#rock gardens#borders#spring interest#pollinator plant#edible garden#edible#sandy soils tolerant#loamy soils tolerant#perennials#loam#border#butterfly friendly#loamy soil#ebh-vh#ebh#butterflies#pollinators#pollinator garden#sun tolerant#bee friendly#bee
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Allium
    Family:
    Amaryllidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northern Hemisphere, North America and Eurasia
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Fragrance
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Flowers have a mildly bitter flavor and like young leaves can be eaten in small quantities raw in salads and sandwiches or cooked in tea and soups. However, the plant also has poisonous characteristics as noted in the "Poisonous to Humans" section of this record. Toxicity can depend on the age of the person or animal, the age of the plant, the part of the plant ingested, how much is ingested, whether the person or animal has sensitivities or allergies, whether it's eaten raw or cooked, and so forth. Consult with a medical professional for further details.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Edible
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Poisonous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Cup
    Star
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are small, 6-parted, in a cluster at the top of a naked stem. They vary in shape depending on species but can either be tubular, bell, star, or cupped. Their spherical umbels can be shades white, pink, violet, or yellow and are oftentimes have long-lasting interest.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are upright to spreading, long, slender, flat or cylindrical and hollow. Leaves are basal or stem-clasping. Plants smell of garlic or onion. Varies per variety.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are leafless and range from 6"-5' depending on species.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Poisonous through ingestion. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. (Poison parts: All parts; bulbs, bulblets, flowers, and stems)
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Sulfides
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems