Theodore Payne California Native Plant Database

Allium praecox

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Botanical Name: Allium praecox
Common Name: Early Onion

Early onion is one of the first bulbs to bloom. Locate beneath taller shrubs that provide some dappled shade throughout the day. Excellent drainage is important.
Allium praecox
Allium praecox

Plant Family: Amaryllidaceae
Plant Type: Bulb
Height by Width: 1' H
Growth Habit: Clumps of grass-like leaves
Deciduous/Evergreen: Summer dormant
Growth Rate: Fast
Sun Exposure: Part shade
Soil Preference: Well-draining
Water Requirements: Dry summer dormancy
Cold Hardy to:
Flower Season: Late Winter, into Spring
Flower Color: White, sometimes pink tinged
Endangered?: Not Listed
Distribution: Southwest California, except in the San Gabriels and San Bernardinos
Natural Habitat: Uncommon on shady slopes.

Care and Maintenance
Plant the base of the bulb at a depth three times the height of the bulb. Stop watering once the leaves begin to turn brown, but keep leaves on the plant until they turn completely brown.

Other Names
  • Harlow, Nora and Kristin Jakob. Wild Lilies, Irises, and Grasses: gardening with California Monocots. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. 2003.
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