Nodding Onions for a Rock Garden

Have a few gaps to fill in your rock garden? This versatile native-to-BC edible bolsters the look and feel of your plot

The nodding onion does a great job of complementing your rock garden

Q: Can you suggest a nice native-BC. plant to fill in a few gaps in my rock garden? I would prefer an edible.

We demand more than good looks of our plants these days. Nodding onion (Allium cernuum) delivers beauty and delicious food.

Grown from a dense cluster of narrow bulbs, this perennial produces tasty green onion shoots and a 50-cm (20-in.) flower stalk. Clusters of delightful pink to purple blooms dangle from the stem in late spring to early summer.

This onion is wonderful for rock gardens, dry border edges and even rough spots in the garden in the south half of Western Canada. Eaten widely by First Nations people, all parts of the plant are tasty as a main dish or garnish. You can even use the crushed bulb as a disinfectant.

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.