Walking Onions are perennial plants and will grow back each year
and yield new and bigger clusters of sets on the top and new onion
bulbs in the soil - they will divide. During their first year
of growth they will not produce topsets (although there are some
exceptions depending on your growing conditions). You might see
only greens the first year. But don't be disappointed, your Egyptian
Walking Onion plants will grow back the following year in full
force and produce their first clusters of topsets. Once established,
plants may be propagated by division or by planting the topsets.
Egyptian Walking Onions are extremely hardy plants. Our plants
have endured harsh winters with temperatures plummeting down to
-24° below zero! Hence the name, "Winter Onion."
They grow well in zones 3-9.
and when to plant your Egyptian Walking Onion sets:
each "topset" in the soil about 2 inches deep. Soil
should be slightly moist and well drained. Egyptian Walking Onions
hate wet feet! Plant in rows about 1 foot apart. The sets should
be spaced approximately 6-10 inches apart in each row. Plant in
full sunlight. Partial shade is ok too, but full sun is the best
for optimal growth. Egyptian Walking Onion sets can also be planted
in clusters. When planted this way they make a great addition
to your herb garden. They can even be planted in pots to be kept
outside or indoors. They can be planted any time of the year even
in the winter as long as the ground isn't frozen or covered with
snow. However, fall is the optimal time to plant them so they
can develop a strong root system and be ready for good growth
the following spring. NOTE: Egyptian Walking Onions sets will
not produce topsets during their first year of growth. Topsets
will grow during the plant's second year and every year thereafter.
The following is a list of what to expect when planting your sets
at different times of the year:
in the spring:
is a good time to plant your Egyptian Walking onion topsets. The
topsets will grow throughout the spring and summer and develop
tall green leaves and bulb/root growth in the ground. Since it
is the plant's first growing season, it will probably not produce
in the summer:
planted at this time will grow roots and leafstalks, and have
some onion bulb development in the ground, but they will not produce
in the fall:
This is the optimum time to plant your Egyptian Walking Onion
topsets. Topsets planted at this time will grow roots and leafstalks
only. The leafstalk will die back for the winter. The topset will
develop into a small onion bulb in the ground and store enough
energy to carry itslef through the winter. A leafstalk will reemerge
in the spring and the plant will grow throughout the spring and
summer to maturity. More than likely, there will be no topset
growth the first summer, but some plants have produced topsets
their first summer after planting in the fall.
in the winter:
Yes! You can plant Egyptian Walking Onion topsets in the winter
as long as the soil is not frozen. If you can dig a 2" deep
hole in the soil, then you can plant your sets. The topsets will
not grow much at all - maybe a little bit of root growth only,
unless you live where the winters are mild. If this is the case,
you might also get a leafstalk. When planting in the winter, mulching
is a good idea. In fact, mulching is good practice at any time
of the year. Mulching keeps the weeds down, prevents unnecessary
water evaporation and erosion, and fertilizes your plants.
to Harvest Your Egyptian Walking Onions:
In mid to late summer and autumn the topsets may be harvested.
The optimal time to pluck off the topsets is when the leafstalk
has dried and turned brown. More than likely, it has fallen over
by this time. Be sure to remove any topsets that have fallen to
the ground if you do not want them to self-sow in their new locations.
Despite their name, these plants are very easy to control and
keep from spreading just by harvesting the topsets. You can eat,
plant, or store your Egyptian Walking Onion topsets.
The greens (leaves) may be cut and harvested at any time of the
year. Just harvest one or two leaves from each plant. Be careful
not to cut the stalk that has the topsets. Soon after you have
harvested the leaves from an Egyptian Walking Onion plant, new
leaves will start to grow in their place which can be harvested
again. If you live in a mild climate, your Egyptian Walking Onion
plant may produce greens all year round. In the fall after the
topsets have matured and fallen to the ground, or after they have
been harvested, new greens will start to grow - yummy!
the onion bulbs in the ground:
The onions at the base of the plant that are growing in the ground
can be harvested in late summer and fall. Be sure to leave some
onions in the ground for next year's crop. An Egyptian Walking
Onion bulb is about the same size and shape as a shallot. Bigger
bulbs may be obtained by cutting off the topsets before they develop.
That way the plant can put its energy into the onion bulb in the
ground instead of into the topsets. Note: if you harvest the onion
bulb in the ground, you will destroy the plant - it will not grow
back next year. So, if you want to eat the onion bulbs in the
ground, make sure to replace them by planting topsets, or offsets
from the bulb (divisions).
to eat your Egyptian Walking Onions:
Walking Onions taste just like a regular onion, only with a bit
more pizzazz! The entire plant can be eaten. Small onions form
at the base in the soil. They can be eaten and prepared just like
any other onion. The hollow greens may be chopped to eat like
chives or green onions. They are excellent when fried, cooked
in soups, or raw in salads (my favorite). The topsets are excellent
when peeled and fried. You can even pickle them. Or just pop them
in your mouth like popcorn! Watch out, they're a little spicy!
of the Egyptian Walking Onion:
Walking Onion" or "Walking Onion":
The name "Egyptian" is very mysterious. The ancient
Egyptians worshipped onions. They believed that its spherical
shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life. Onions were
even used in Egyptian burials for the pharaohs. Small onions were
found in the eye sockets of Ramesses IV. It is not known whether
the Egyptian Walking Onion came from the Egyptians or not. The
"Egyptian" part of the name remains a mystery. Maybe
the name refers to the way they walk.....do they "walk like
name "Walking Onion" was given to this plant because
it literally walks to new locations. When the cluster of topsets
becomes heavy enough, it will pull the plant over to the ground.
Depending on how tall the plant is and where the bend occurs,
the topsets may fall up to 3 feet away from the base of the plant.
Here, if the conditions are right, they will take root and grow
new plants. When these new plants mature, their topsets will eventually
fall to the ground and start the process all over again. Egyptian
Walking Onion plants can walk between 1 and 3 feet per year!
Egyptian Walking Onions are known for their ability to grow a
twisting stalk from the cluster of sets at the top of the plant.
Another cluster of sets will grow at the end of this second stalk
giving the plant a branching, tree-like appearance.
Onion", "Topset Onion", or "Top Setting Onion":
Walking Onions grow a cluster of sets at the top of the plant
instead of seeds.
Onions can survive freezing cold winters with temperatures plummeting
well below 24°F! They are hardy to zone 3.
following three scientific names refer to the Egyptian Walking
cepa var. proliferum
Egyptian Walking Onions are proliferous. A proliferous plant produces
new individuals by budding. This type of plant also produces offshoots,
especially from unusual places. In the case of the Egyptian Walking
Onion, an offshoot will grow out form cluster of sets. Proliferous
plants produce an organ or shoot from an organ that is itself
normally the last, as a shoot or a new flower from the midst of
a flower. In the case of the Egyptian Walking Onion, a cluster
of topsets grows from a cluster of topsets forming a multi-tiered
cepa var. bulbiferous
Walking Onions are bulbiferous. They produce bulbs!
cepa var. viviparum
Walking Onions are viviparous. They produce bulbils or new plants
rather than seed. Egyptian Walking Onion sets germinate while
still attached to the parent plant. They can be seen growing leaves
and roots before they ever touch the ground.
(monocotyledon - having one seed leaf)