Wednesday, June 03, 2009

perennial onion

perennial onion

A friend of mine grows perennial onions and I asked for one. I planted it in the corner of a bed at my community plot. But I'm still confused about what on earth this is.... I'll have to ask more questions next time I see her.

I have read about perennial onions at Bifurcated Carrots. OK. I guess they are like chives, but they make bulbs as well as greens. Sounds reasonable. And they also make top sets that are like little onion bulbs that can be planted for more onions. OK. Patrick also writes that their best use is for green onions. Super. I'll look forward to this.

Right now its just a scrawny single onion stem. I assume it will turn into a clump after a while. Another new veggie to watch!


Dan said...

It really can be confusing with the amount of diversity in the onion family. It must be like a potato or multiplier onion.

aspiritofsimplicity said...

I had these in garden long ago. We called them walking onions. They will fall to the ground when they get big and heavy enough. Then, they will just start growing again where they fall. That's why they are called walking onions. If I remember correctly you eat them like a green onion, meaning you eat the "leaves".

Patrick said...

You'll like this!

There are lots of different perennial onions around. Some propagate with root divisions, others with topsets and some both root divisions and topsets.

Usually the greens taste nice and you can eat them, otherwise you have to eat the root. They always take a long time to propagate, so the ones you can leave in the ground and eat the leaves are probably nicest. If you can eat the greens, these are great early spring when it's hard to get good onions from markets and stores.

Jane in Edmonton said...

We call these Egyptian onions. I have tons of them, because those little clusters of bulblets at the top all root where they touch the ground. The Egyptian moniker probably relates to gypsy, again for the travelling. I've given hundreds away.

You can peel the bulblets for pearl onions (a tedious process), use the leaves/stems for green onions, and use the lower bulbs like any onion (although the latter are very strongly flavoured so best in stews and things).

They grow just fine in terrible soil, come up reliably every spring, look kind of cool with the little bulblets on top and are very useful in the kitchen. What more can you ask :)

Mary in Trootno said...

Jane in Edmonton, any chance you could send me a couple of your walking onions? I'm in Toronto, and will spring for postage.

Mary in Toronto said...

oops, sorry, Mary in Toronto.

pjkobulnicky said...

Good for greens in the early spring but barely edible and certainly not choice the rest of the year. IMHO ... not at all worth the use of the space.

But I haven't asked my wife to get rid of hers :-)

RoseBH said...

I have just bought a Walking/Perennial onion and I'm not sure how to care for it. It's in a large pot at the moment but I'd be glad of advice on what to do with it. Unfortunately due to a disability I can only garden in pots, any opinions please?

kathy said...


My guess is a big pot will be fine. When they make top sets next year, you can plant these in the same pot if there's room, or start other pots.