Allium Species, 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 aegaeum
Synonym:Allium aestivum
Synonym:Allium approximatum
Synonym:Allium borbasii
Synonym:Allium bosniacum
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun





Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Fuchsia (red-purple)

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Wedowee, Alabama

Belmont, California

San Jose, California

Denver, Colorado

Welaka, Florida

Algonquin, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois(2 reports)

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


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

Lanexa, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Buffalo, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 23, 2017, klippenshliefer from Toronto,
Canada wrote:

I saw these in someone else's formal-looking garden a few years ago and thought they looked great. I bought some fairly pricey bulbs. Now, a few years later, I can't believe I paid that much for bulbs that multiply like crazy. Also, I am not as fond as I thought I would be of the flowers, which turn a pretty dull greyish lavender fairly quickly. This spring,I have spent a lot of time digging out masses of them. I haven't even bothered to knock the dirt off many of the clumps as the bulbs are so tightly packed together. I guess I let them naturalize for a few years and now I am paying the price. I want to rid myself of all of them and stick to the larger-flowering allium varieties that hardly seem to multiply at all in contrast to this type. I should add that I live and garden in Toron... read more


On Jul 29, 2015, Redbudzzz from Chicago, IL wrote:

I planted about 25 of these in full sun and was not impressed by the way they all started drooping and leaning once they bloomed, mostly across my garden walkway. I finally cut them all. They don't look droopy in photos, so maybe I did something wrong, but I usually do well with bulbs.

These could probably make a different contribution if planted among shrubs or tall perennials, as others have commented. But I would be mindful when planting them as to what will surround them when they bloom in early-mid July (Chicago, zone 6a). Bumblebees sure do love them!


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.


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,... read more


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.


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..


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.


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.


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.