Nesting Onions or Multiplying Onions?

rjingaOctober 1, 2008

When would these be planted and then when to harvest and how do you know when they are ready? How would you describe the best possible conditon of how the bulb should be? I got some on freecycle today and they seemed a bit dryed out. Since I have never grown these before, that could be perfectly normal. I was told to plant them about 10 inches apart due to them multiplying.

any tips/suggestions would be appreciated.

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shebear(z8 NCentralTex)

I'm in my first year with them and ours looked like that too but I put them in the ground and kept watering. They died back and then just before I gave up on them a little piece of green poked up. Now they're growing and multiplying like mad so I'm thinking they are pretty foolproof as long as they have decent ground and some water.

The rabbit ate them back a couple of times before I just put up a fence. They never seemed to fact I think clipping the greens makes them multiply more. I haven't pulled them so I can't tell you about size. We're trying to get enough to divide so we can get a whole row going.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 9:38AM
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Here's a good article on walking onions from Mother Earth News. You plant them in the fall. Even if what you have are a bit dried out, onions have a lot of moisture and they will grow. Put them in and water well. Yes, plant them far apart because they will multiply.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 9:39AM
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i have been trying to get started with multiplying onions.
if anyone could get me started i would be grateful.thanks.
rush williamson
po box 1927
inez,ky. 41224

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:23PM
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Do you need to clip the tops of multiplying onions the same as regular onions?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 10:31PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"Do you need to clip the tops of multiplying onions the same as regular onions?"

I assume that you mean clipping the flower stalk... and that depends upon the onion. There are 3 main types of multiplier onions:
- Walking onions, which form little to no ground bulb, are extremely winter hardy, and form small bulbs (topsets) at the end of their stalks, in place of flowers.
- Perennial bulbing multipliers (such as shallots & potato onions) which divide at the base, and may form flower stalks.

Both of these are Allium cepa, the same species as common bulbing onions.

- Bunching onions, which are a different species (A. fistulosum) form no bulb, multiply at the base (to a greater or lesser degree, depending upon variety), and blossom in their second year.

For any of these, clipping off the stalk as soon as it appears will stimulate better multiplication from the base, especially for the bunching onions. You might not want to clip the stalk for the walking onions, if you want the bulbils to increase the size of the patch, or to share with others.

When I lived in San Diego, I was given a small nesting onion by a Hmong gardener, that multiplied very rapidly - splitting into up to 20 stalks. Looked like a bunching onion, but formed small bulbs. Left it behind when I moved, and haven't seen anything similar since.... wish I still had it here.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 3:43AM
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I too have been looking for these multiplying onions and it has been difficult to find them. The descriptions above sound very familiar as the bulb is small and does not develop but multipls by the base. If someone could spare a hand full I would greater apprciated or tell me where I could find them. I have searched gardern shops in SC, NC and VA. Thanks

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 4:15PM
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I also have been looking for these multipliers. Mom used to have some in her garden years ago. My siblings do not remember these. They keep saying that I`m remembering the bunching onion. Can someone tell me where i can get a start of these onions. Would be much appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:06PM
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moosemac(Z5 NH / Z3-4 ME)

Try the Potato Lady in Maine. I ordered Potato Onions from her several years ago and they multiply like crazy.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 8:04AM
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Try Nichols in Oregon. Their recent newsletter talked about it.

Here's an excerpt:

This year we have a good supply of Egyptian Onions/Walking onions . This onion is a perennial and you harvest the snappy little topsets for the kitchen and let the 'mother bulb' grow. The leaves of these appear early in spring and have a robust flavor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nichol's Nursery walking onions

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 11:49AM
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