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Onions starting to flower/seed

Posted by bucktales (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 4, 09 at 22:11

My onions are looking great this year - much better than last - but some of the tops of the stalks are buds and turning into flowers. Do I need to snip these off so that the bulbs get bigger? Did I do something wrong?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Onions starting to flower/seed

Did you plant from sets? In any event once onions begin the flowering process bulb growth is over. At this stage the onions will start taking food from the bulb.

Cutting off the flowers won't help.

It's time to get the onions that are flowering out of the ground and eaten ASAP. Their culinary quality is deteriorating.

They will not store well either so use them quickly.

RE: Onions starting to flower/seed

Yes I planted from sets.

I will pull the onions that are flowering.

Bummer! Anything I can do to prevent this?

RE: Onions starting to flower/seed

Uh... don't plant sets?

I know, too late now, but I've found onion sets are a lot more prone to bolting. I think it's because onions are biennials, so for the first year they grow a bulb, and the next year they use that bulb as a food reserve for growing a flower. Onion sets are just little bulbs that were grown last year and then went dormant, so as far as those onions are concerned, they've done the bulb part, so next comes the flower.

I started having a lot more luck once my garden center started selling onion *plants*. They look like bundles of green onions, which they pretty much are. Those guys have never made a bulb before, so that's what they'll do in your garden.

Another option is to plant onions from seed. I haven't had luck with that, but I might give it another shot sometime. But the onion plants are just super easy. The first time I planted those was the first time I had a sucessful onion crop.

RE: Onions starting to flower/seed

Great, thanks for the heads up. I'll try the plants next year. I did notice that it was mostly the red and white onions that flowered. None of the yellow onion sets I planted went to seed.

RE: Onions starting to flower/seed

Do flowers mean the same thing for shallots and garlic? Or just onions?

RE: Onions starting to flower/seed

Flowers are normal on hardneck garlic, although you want to cut them off to focus energy on making the bulb.

The shallots that I have had flower have tasted fine, but you have to remove the hard flower stalk. I have not tried keeping them though, so I do not know how it effects their storage capability.

RE: Onions starting to flower/seed

My onion sets have plenty of top growth but hardly any sized bulb.Some of them have started to develop a small flowerhead. Should I bend the heads over or just lift them?
When should I bend the top growth of the others as they are quite small as well?
Any ideas as to what I may have done wrong?And can I eat them even though they are small.
Any ideas Thanks.

RE: Onions starting to flower/seed

Yes, you can eat them small, as in sautees and sauces. Onions are HEAVY FEEDERS. I never knew this until this summer: amend your soil heavily with compost and use lots of organic fertilizer to get large onions. Then, fertilize them 2 more times, spaced out in the growing season, before harvest. Corn gets this same treatment. I am wondering what to do with the small bulbs that formed at the tops of my red onions. Does anyone have a recipe for pearl onions or any suggestions? I suppose they'd be good in a pot roast or crockpot stew.

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