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ALLIUM sphaerocephalon

Image of Allium sphaerocephalon

James H. Schutte

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

ALLIUM sphaerocephalon

Plant Common Name

Drumstick Onion, Round-headed Garlic

General Description

The drumstick onion, a bulbous perennial, is grown for its dense, egg-shaped clusters of small, greenish-pink to dark-red flowers, which bloom in the summer on tall flower stalks that emerge from a basal clump of long, linear green leaves. When crushed, the leaves and stems have the familiar, pungent fragrance of the onion family. The drumstick onion is native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, where it grows in full sun and well-drained, often sandy soil.

In the fall, plant this bulb a hand’s width deep in well-drained soil; rot can result if planted in wet soil. Once established, it will tolerate some drought. Reduce watering when the foliage starts to fade. Like many alliums, this one has a tendency to self-sow freely. To avoid weediness remove the flower stalks before the flowers makes seeds. The bulbs multiply and one becomes many in a few years, Eventually, the crowding reduces the flowering. Then, it is time to dig up the bulbs and replant the largest at generous spacings. Grow this unusual plant in groups in the mixed border (it’s especially congenial with daylilies, both blooming at the same time), in containers, or in a rock garden. These are also good cutflowers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    0"-36" / 0.0cm - 91.4cm

  • Width

    0"-0" / 0.0cm - 0.0cm (12)

  • Bloom Time

    Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Northern Africa, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Green, Pink, Dark Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Cutflower, Dried Flower/Everlasting, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes