Nodding wild onion

Allium cernuum Roth

Family: Liliaceae (lily)

  • Bloom Period:
    • Late,
    • Mid-Season,
  • Growth Cycle:
    • Perennial,
  • Growth Habit:
    • Forbs/Herbs,
  • Insect Type Attracted:
    • Natural Enemy,
    • Pollinator,
  • Light:
    • Full,
    • Partial,
  • Region:
    • Southern Lower Peninsula
  • Soil Moisture:
    • Medium,
  • Height:
    • 2ft

Natural enemies attracted

Mildly attractive: Orius insidiosus, Thomisidae, Plagiognathus politus, Salticidae, Chalcidoidea, Nabidae and Coccinellidae.

Pollinators attracted

Moderately attractive: bees including sweat bees and bumble bees; also highly attractive to honey bees.

Pests attracted

Mildly attractive: lygus bug, leaf beetles, thrips and aphids.

Plant notes

Pale-pink flower clusters about 2 inches wide are borne at the end of nodding stalks about 2 feet tall. Plants remained short in their third year of growth, leaves grew to about 6 inches tall. Plants bloomed throughout August. This species was one of the least attractive to natural enemies in the mid season, with similar numbers of natural enemies as in the grass control.


This plant grows in full to partial sun, and mid-range soil moisture (neither very wet nor very dry). It naturally occurs in meadows and swales, grassy wooded banks, and on marshy ground. It is often found along roadsides and railroad embankments.

Cultivation and management

Nodding wild onion can be grown from seed (flowers in third year) or plug material (flowers in second year), although plants establish well from plugs and not as reliably from seed. We saw no evidence of deer or other vertebrate browsing on this species.