Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Drumsticks, Ornamental Onion, Round Headed Leek
Allium sphaerocephalon

Family: Alliaceae
Genus: Allium (AL-ee-um) (Info)
Species: sphaerocephalon (sfay-ro-SEF-uh-lon) (Info)

Synonym:Allium sphaerocephalum

9 vendors have this plant for sale.

36 members have or want this plant for trade.

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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Fuchsia (Red-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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5 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative coriaceous On Feb 20, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I'm not enthusiastic about this onion.

It grows well enough here. It offsets a little too enthusiastically and gets a little weedy, for my taste.

And I think it looks a little weedy, too. I might feel differently if the flowers were more brightly colored, but they're a dull muddy maroon-and-green---not really fuchsia at all---and don't show up well in the landscape.

Bulbs are very cheap. But I'd rather pay a little extra and have A. hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' or A. christophii instead, with their livelier colors and better form.

Positive nutsaboutnature On Apr 19, 2010, nutsaboutnature from Algonquin, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I planted a big bag of these (100) in Autumn 2008 that I purchased from a "Home Center Store". I was new at planting bulbs, waited too long (ground was somewhat frozen so my husband helped me to "chip" through it) & planted them in too much shade (only place I had room).

Even with all that, they came up in late Spring '09 looking really great!!

They bloomed a little later with stems that were a little thinner (from shade) & they angled "this-way & that-way", peeking through annuals & perennials (probably also from shade), but the overall effect was very pleasing with a different look than if they had been planted in full sun.

I'm really looking forward to them coming up this year. It will be interesting to see if they multiplied. Either way, I'll probably purchase some more for next year to go with the other varieties I'm planning to order from "Brent & Becky's".

Positive WillowWasp On Jun 6, 2006, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Drumstick Allium, are said to be very good for naturalizing. Their dark crimson to deep purple flowers are egg shaped and are held on thick stems up to 24 inches in height.

Positive saya On Jul 31, 2005, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

It's always surprising when it peeps out through the grasses...looks wonderfull and it demands nothing at all echos plants or flowers that have the same colour (rubra or atropurperea) very cunning..

Positive northgrass On Mar 3, 2005, northgrass from West Chazy, NY (Zone 4b) wrote:

A wonderful mixer, great interplanted among perennials. The bulbs are very reasonable to buy and they also multiply nicely.

Positive suncatcheracres On Sep 11, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I grew this plant in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, for several years, and these little bulbs are the cheapest and most readily available of the ornamental onion bulbs. I bought mine at a garden center like WalMart and planted them in the Fall in a sunny, steep, rock garden. They do spread over the years, and their bright purple, ball shaped flowers nod on slender stems in the mid-Summer breezes. The thin, strappy foliage can be evergreen in mild winters, but dies down in really cold weather.

Neutral Baa On Jul 17, 2002, Baa wrote:

Perennial bulb from Europe, West Asia and North Africa.

Has long, linear leaves. Bears rounded to egg shaped, crowded heads of tiny, bell shaped, pinkish to brownish red flowers. Sometimes the flowerheads contain bulbils as well as flowers. The whole plant is slightly garlic fragranced.

Flowers June-August

Loves well drained, fertile soil in full sun where it will happily multiply to it's hearts content.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Wedowee, Alabama
Belmont, California
Denver, Colorado
Welaka, Florida
Algonquin, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Grayslake, Illinois
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Naperville, Illinois
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Ewing, Kentucky
Cumberland, Maryland
Parkville, Maryland
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Springfield, Massachusetts
Uxbridge, Massachusetts
Garden City, Michigan
Owosso, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Florence, Mississippi
Roswell, New Mexico
Binghamton, New York
Chester, New York
Deposit, New York
Yonkers, New York
Rowland, North Carolina
Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Florence, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Boerne, Texas
Houston, Texas
Farmington, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Richmond, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Buffalo, West Virginia

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