How to Grow Nodding Onion

The nodding wild onion may be a unique angiosperm native to Canada, North America, and Mexico. This plant’s exotic-looking flowers and the easygoing personality that permits it to adapt to almost any conditions have made it a well-liked plant among gardeners. It’s easy to ascertain why the nodding wild onion may be a favorite. A ball of star-shaped flowers forms atop each drooping stem. The downward-leaning stems give the plant the “nodding” look mentioned in its title, but the tendency to droop downward actually serves a practical purpose for the nodding wild onion as well—nodding on their stems lets the nodding wild onion to guard the nectar inside each bloom from the rain.

Native American tribes used the nodding wild onion plant as a drug, with traditional use counting on the bulbs of the plant to treat croup, colic, colds, and fevers. The medicinal properties of nodding wild onion are almost like the healing properties of garlic. The alliaceous plant |lady’s leek|Allium cernuum|wild onion”> nodding wild onion plant is closely associated with the autumn wild onion, but the 2 varieties differ within the sort of inflorescence each plant develops also because of the incontrovertible fact that unlike the autumn alliaceous plant, the nodding wild onion is susceptible to early flowering.

The leaves, bulbs, and bulblets of the nodding wild onion plant were sometimes eaten by the primary Nations who are indigenous to the northwest coast of us. The nodding onion’s flowers have the advantage of attracting an array of butterflies, including the hairstreak, and butterflies make excellent pollinators. the town of Chicago gets its title from the Algonquin name for the plant, “chigagou,” which suggests “onion field” and, one imagines, can also are wont to ask this onion relative and member of the allium family.

The beautiful blooms of the nodding wild onion are unique in appearance and have tons to try to to with this plant’s popularity in modern cultivated gardens. Each nodding wild onion plant features pink- to purple-tinted droplet-shaped flower clusters that sit atop two-foot drooping stems, which are adorned with blue-green foliage. The flowers are known to draw in butterflies and hummingbirds. The nodding wild onion blooms in midsummer and is pollinated by short-tongued bees.

VARIETIES OF nodding wild onion 

There are several different cultivars of nodding wild onion that became popular among modern gardeners. We’ll discuss those varieties here. They’re the species of nodding wild onion that you’re presumably to seek out purchasable at your local nursery or garden center or encounter in other gardeners’ yards or in trades with them. Though other sorts of the nodding wild onion plant certainly exist, you’re less likely to seek out them in gardening settings.

Once classified as a special species altogether, the nodding wild onion variety called “Oxy White” may be a cultivar that was named for its white blossoms and is slower growing than other varieties. The “Major” cultivar is legendary for producing larger plants and flowers than most other varieties (a quality that contributed to its name). The “Leo” variety produces white flowers that are usually tinged with pink, and Leo tends to bloom later within the season than other sorts of nodding wild onion. The “Hidcote” sort of nodding wild onion is native to the united kingdom, and this breed is understood for the massive, rose-purple flowerheads it produces. The Hidcote cultivar was given the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. The RHS chooses plants to bestow with this honor as a sign to consumers that the RHS’s experts recommend the plant as an honest performer that’s compatible with the conditions of most home gardens.

GROWING CONDITIONS FOR nodding wild onion 

The most incredible feature of the nodding wild onion is its adaptability to different growing conditions. This plant has the special capability of having the ability to not only grow but to actually flourish in only about any environment. However, the nodding wild onion plant really thrives when it’s given full sunlight and comparatively dry, well-drained soil. However, nodding wild onion can tolerate some shade, too, especially when it’s grown during a hot climate. This plant is taken into account to be hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8.

Nodding onion is flexible and happy anywhere, but it’s really an ideal fit when you’re trying to find plants to put in rock gardens, borders, or cottage gardens. it’s most effectively positioned in small groups among perennial plants which will hide its declining foliage.

HOW TO PLANT nodding wild onion 

Nodding onion is out there to plant from both seeds and plugs, and both options are usually available at nurseries and garden centers. Sow seeds in containers during the spring, and transplant outdoors after danger of the last frost has passed in your area. otherwise, you can prefer to sow seeds directly into the bottom outdoors, which can allow the testa to crack as a result of the shifting winter temperatures.

Of course, this stratification process is often mimicked indoors if you desire and as long as you propose ahead. To stratify seeds indoors, simply place the seeds onto a moistened folded towel inside a plastic resealable baggie, seal it, then put them into the refrigerator for 60 days. After the 60 days have passed, then place the baggie during a warm location, and therefore the seeds inside should split. Harden off the seedlings, and place them outdoors in any case danger of the last frost has passed in your location and therefore the soil is workable.

CARE FOR nodding wild onion 

This member of the allium family has equivalent care instructions and precautions as others of its kind. The nodding wild onion will self-seed with ease and at high volume. you’ll avoid this (if you would like to scale back unwanted spreading) by deadheading the plant’s spent flowers. Collect nodding wild onion seeds when the capsules are tan or straw-colored and therefore the seeds are black, then store them within the refrigerator. nodding wild onion seeds stored in this manner will stay active for up to 3 years. Divide your plants every third year—or whenever you’re working with a nodding wild onion plant and see that eight to 10 bulbs appear in its clump.

GARDEN PESTS AND DISEASES OF nodding wild onion 

Nodding onion is usually a crop gardener can cultivate without fear an excessive amount of about pests and disease. However, it is often vulnerable to bulb rot in overly damp conditions and is usually suffering from onion flies and thrips. There are a couple of fungal diseases that affect members of the onion family, and thus nodding onions, as well. Some wildlife that undergoes your yards, like bears and squirrels, may eat the bulbs. Deer and elk may graze on new spring growth, but they’re going to not eat the flowers of your nodding wild onion plants, as they’re deer-resistant.

COMPANION PLANTING WITH nodding wild onion 

Nodding onion tends to ascertain deterioration in its foliage during the recent summer months, especially in areas vulnerable to heat. For this reason, it’s best to plant your nodding onions in groups among other hot-tempered perennials in order that they can keep the allium’s discolored foliage covered with their freshly sprouted green vegetation.

Nodding onion grows wonderfully alongside spotted cranesbill and other low-lying groundcovers. This plant is additionally an ideal companion to compact sorts of Liatris, like the “Kobold” variety, especially when the nodding wild onion is positioned directly ahead of the Liatris plants. Winecup blossoms will look especially neat rambling around the nodding wild onion bulbs.

HARVESTING nodding wild onion 

Nodding onion leaves are often gathered during the spring and fall. Harvest this plant’s bulbs during the second year, once they are large enough to be utilized in an equivalent way you’d an onion. Flower stem bulblets are often harvested during the summer. Use these within the kitchen a bit like you’d storebought onions—sauteed and included in your dishes as a seasoning or added as a raw ingredient in salads or wraps. you’ll use the onions raw, otherwise, you can saute them, boil them, or pickle them counting on what you’re preparing. you’ll dry any extra bulbs your plants produce to use later as a seasoning.

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