Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Multiplier Onions

Potato onions. Multiplier onions. Perennial onions. 

Last year one of the community garden volunteers donated a pot of what she was told was a walking onion. That one plant divided into several, then those replicated, and the next generation once again. Now there is a fairly good sized bed of these onions. 

I'm guessing that what these onions really are is a multiplier onion, rather than a walking onion. Ours have never produced a floret, although that may be because I am located in the tropics. But the plant habit seems far more like that of a multiplier than an walking. 

These have never formed root bulbs either, but the larger ones get thick bases. But that's because of being in the tropics. Many onion types require longer days of sunlight in order to initiate bulbing. 

But they surely make multiple root divisions. I'm seeing anywhere from two to a dozen new plants per one original plant. 4 seems to be the norm. 

I've decided to make a separate propagation bed for the multiplier onions, so that there won't be confusion when it comes down to harvesting onions for eating. So I took a pile of the plants and separated out the individual plantlets, cleaned the old leaves off, trimmed the roots back, trimmed the tops. 

I then planted them about six inches apart in the row, with the rows about twelve inches apart. This gives me room to apply mulch. 

All of these should transplant just fine. In a few days the outer, older leaves will yellow and die, but that's normal. Just the young emerging leaves in the center will stay green. So I'll trim the dying leaves off with a scissors in a week or so, just so I don't get mold and rot. It's been wet here recently  and everything rots quickly if I don't watch it. 


  1. Thanks for the post. Interesting that onions require longer days to bulb. I don't understand the two bed system. Do the onions in the eating bed multiply too? Or do you harvest the eating onions when they are fatter but not yet multiplying?

    The rock wall looks nice behind your neat rows of trimmed onions.

    Twitter @honeytubs

    1. The main reason I have two separate beds is so I don't accidentally eat all the onions and have no more to propagate for future crops. These are multiplier onions, so they don't reproduce from seed. They reproduce by separating the multiple onion plants. I tend to eat them when they get about 1/2 inch in diameter.