Allium Species, Persian Onion, Star of Persia

Allium cristophii

Family: Alliaceae
Genus: Allium (AL-ee-um) (Info)
Species: cristophii
Synonym:Allium albopilosum
Synonym:Allium bodeanum
Synonym:Allium walteri



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:



18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 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


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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


Anchorage, Alaska

Sebastopol, California

Sun City Center, Florida

Lula, Georgia

Winterville, Georgia

Glencoe, Illinois

Winnetka, Illinois

Inwood, Iowa

Adamstown, Maryland

Cumberland, Maryland

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Ludington, Michigan

Warren, Michigan

Eveleth, Minnesota

Florence, Mississippi

Dover, New Hampshire

Buffalo, New York

Hilton, New York

Rugby, North Dakota

Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Brazoria, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Vernal, Utah

Kalama, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Buffalo, West Virginia

Dodgeville, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 7, 2014, amelliso from Lubbock, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

I inherited these bulbs when I bought my house. All I saw the first year were the scraggly leaves, and I had no idea what they were. After I cleared Bermuda grass from the flower beds and began watering, I got my first blooms. And, boy was I excited! They are beautiful. Last year, I was lazy and didn't clip off the dead flower spikes. They fell over into the bed and this year, under each, is a mass of tiny grass-like sprouts. Yesterday, I cleaned out that bed, and moved the mature bulbs to another site. Even with all the disturbance, the sprouts are still there and looking strong. Amazing.


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

Big showy silvery-violet spherical inflorescences, about June 1 in Boston Z6a. The foliage disappears while it's blooming. The flower scapes are short, so this allium is best planted among short-growing perennials. It's also a great companion for Ornithogalum magnum, which blooms at the same time.

In over ten years of growing this, I've never seen it offset or self-sow. But it does persist in the landscape for many years.


On Jul 13, 2010, Brekka from Rugby, ND wrote:

We moved into our new home in northern North Dakota last fall, I planted 12 bulbs and 11 beautiful flowers grew this year. I planted them on the south side of the house, with full sun and no mulch. We live in zone 3, and had -40 degree weather (and colder) over the winter. They are extremely hardy! I've had so many compliments that I'm drying the seed heads and planning to share them with family and friends.


On Feb 21, 2009, Jamesk from Seattle, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I put in a dozen bulbs amongst Lady's Mantle in the autumn of 2007. The following spring, all 12 emerged then produced 10" spheres of amethyst blooms in early summer. The combination of lavender hues and chartreuse was very effective. Even after the allium blossoms faded, the flowerheads remained as very striking-looking spheres in the border for the remainder of the summer and fall.


On Aug 15, 2008, cedar18 from Lula, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant elicits comments and questions more than any in my garden when it's blooming and for weeks afterwards as the dry seedhead still looks like fireworks. It has been perennial for me, even coming back for 7 years in a poor garden situation where I have a MG project. I am adding more this year.


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

This is another huge globed Allium, with it's 10+ inch globes that are an incredible Deep Violet color with a hint of Silver and a touch of green in the centers it is indeed striking and a beauty in any garden. Beautiful Sword like leaves top it all off and keep a spot for future blooms the next season.


On Jun 14, 2005, PadreWayne from Mount Pleasant, MI (Zone 4b) wrote:

Planted Star of Persia last fall on a whim -- and what a successful whim it was! All five bloomed this late spring (just as iris were fading), with 8" or so across heads containing 100 or so (I didn't count) individual stars of a gun-metal blue. Gorgeous. I'm thinking of moving them away from the iris, though -- they're a bit shorter and I want to show them off next spring! (Perhaps with a background of "Black Tie Affair" bearded iris?) I'm in Zone 6, they get full sun.


On Jun 12, 2005, kooger from Oostburg, WI (Zone 5b) wrote:

These are fantastic! My husband calls them dandilions on steriods! I planted 5 or 6 bulbs 3 years ago. The first year, only one deformed flower appeared and some leaves. Last year, there was one 6-7 inch bloom and more leaves. This year, there is a 12" bloom plus 4 smaller blooms, about 6-7 inches. Next year I anticipate them to be all 12 inch in size. They are on the south side of the house in zone 4 with no winter mulch.


On Sep 3, 2003, taramark from (Zone 4a) wrote:

I have several bulbs growing happily here in Zone 4, and without winter mulch. Perhaps it is the thaw-
freeze cycles that determine the difference?


On Jul 3, 2003, Karenn from Mount Prospect, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have not found this variety of allium to be hardy in Zone 5, even with mulch! The only occasion this variety overwinters is when we have had an extremely mild (Zone 6/7) winter!


On Nov 25, 2000, gardener_mick from Wentworth, SD (Zone 4a) wrote:

Allium christophii bears the largest flowers in the genus. Spherical clusters 8-12" across, composed of many amethyst blue star shaped flowers that are 1/2" wide. There are 3-7 leaves on sturdy 1 1/2-2' stalks. They need full sun and bloom from early spring to early summer.

May be left undisturbed for years until fewer blooms signal that bulbs are overcrowded. They can be separated after foliage dies back. Winter mulch should be used north of Zone 5.