Winter Onions??

ShowmemanApril 29, 2005

Hello, I purchased what the seller called winter onions last fall . I planted them in october and used some for green onions. Now they are quite big they have several onions on one plant like a shallot but much larger. What is the offical name of these and when do I Harvest. Thanks

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gardenlad(6b KY)

Winter Onion is another name for multiplying onions, most usually known as Potato Onion, Hill Onion, and other common names.

I'm surprised to hear you already have bulbs, though. Due to the mild fall we had it's possible that your onions actually bulbed then, which is rather unusual. But what's happening now is that the plants are feeding from those bulbs. Just let them grow like any other onions. Each of them, at bulbing time in the summer, will divide into a cluster of new onions. Some will be large, edible size. Others will be like sets.

This fall, plant some of each. The large ones will multiply into a clump of sets, and the small ones will grow into several full-sized bulbs.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 10:20AM
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Thanks for the response will they produce small bulbs on the leaf or blade tip like garlic or will they just bloom and seed?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 8:02PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

I've never had bulbing multiplying onions send up scapes or flower heads, Showmeman. They just produce leaves and underground bulbs.

There are top-setting multipliers, however, such as Egyption Walking onion and Catawassi. These produce bulbils at the ends of stems which can be used either for planting or eating (historically they were pickled). Top setters, for the most part, do not produce bulbs of any consequence. But other than the bulbils, there are no flower heads or seeds, as you find with common onions, ornamental alliums, and some shallots.

Rakkyo, which is a bulbing multiplier from Asia, does flower. But it doesn't produce seed. The bulbs are small, more like shallots than onions. And it's a perrenial that belongs to a different species (Allium chinense) then the others, which are A. cepa, Aggregatum Group.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 5:22PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I have top setters, and they also have more bulbs in the soil once harvested in late summer. Mine have bulbils that range rom tiny pea sized to bigger than a marble. These are in clusters at the top of a stiff stalk. I break these off before they topple over and seperate them. Later in the same month the one in the soil get dug up and dried off. Another few weeks later and the seperated bulbil clusters get planted for the next years crop. If these go unchecked, they can overtake an area in a year or two.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 7:15PM
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When I was young and growing up in Duluth, Minnesota we had a garden which had what we called "winter onions". They consisted of small clumps of small onions that would self reproduce and winter over from year to year. Sometimes we could dig them up in the middle of winter. They looked like a simple green onion except they were a squatter bulb and the tops would grow new sets on them that would fall off and root or could be taken off and rooted.
Do you have any idea what these were and where can I get some?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 3:28PM
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Those sound like Egyptian Onions, Catawissa onions, or "walking onions." Sometimes they are called Spring onions too. Do a search here.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 7:05PM
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I live in IL and have some winter onions to share. Would anyone like some?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 12:45PM
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I would like some winter onions to get a start. My dad and I have been looking all over trying to find some.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 2:22PM
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shyviolet(Z4 MN)

flowerchild, I have been looking for winter onions to no avail. If you still have some to share I would be most appreciative.
Thank you.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 10:29AM
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My mother-in-law has what she calls 'winter onions' they stand almost 4 feet tall with thick green stalks. there are also small clusters of onions on the tops which have smaller clusters on the tips of those. (pictured)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 2:24PM
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Please send me some of your winter onions! I have searched everywhere for them. Send me an e-mail at if you have some left and we will arrange a trade-off. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 2:43PM
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big_bob_tomato(WI 4b)

Flowerchild2008 I would love to have some of your multiplying onions....Please EMAIL me.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 4:12PM
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Flowerchild, I would love some winter onions as well if they're still available. Please email me at and let me know how you want to handle this transaction.

Thanks! Maureen

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 5:07PM
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I would like some winter onions if you still have any available. Please email me at

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 12:27PM
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flowergirl , I also have looked for this onion , I remmmber them from when I was a young girl, please let me know.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 8:17AM
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I would love to get a hold of the winter onions that are multiplying onions. Is there anyone that can let me know where I could get some. Please e-mail me at
thank you,

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 10:27PM
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    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 10:01PM
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in Arkansas we call them winter onions but the Egyptian Walking Onions is the accepted name !! they aren't the big, round globes you think of as onions. Egyptian Walking Onions are much smaller bulbs that offer the double bonus of forming smaller bulblets on top of their stems in clusters, kind of like a freaky flower head. You can eat either end, but usually you eat the bulbs from the ground and plant the bulblets for more onions. They get the moniker Walking because if you don't harvest the bulbs, these perennial plants will walk their way across your garden. you usually dont have to plant them they reseed themselves if you leave the tops !!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 7:30AM
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we just harvested these onions from last winter. I guess my husband forgot about them, and just left them still in the garden. I was going to blanche and freeze for soups and stews; and the flavor is lost that way. Maybe, I will try and sauteed with butter and freeze. How do you process them to keep any flavor?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 7:10PM
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I would probably use them like you would shallots or scallions. You could chop them and freeze them. Add towards the end of cooking to soups, omellettes, etc. I'm not sure you really need to blanch before freezing. But, you could try freezing some in olive oil, sort of like pesto and see if that works better.
Also, unless you are in a very cold area, you could just leave them in the garden and pick as needed.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 1:16PM
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I get 25 or so catalogs a year.
Territorial seed Company 2011/ page 40: Multiplier onion XG422
"a cluster of 10-12 or more mild & sweet-flavored bulbs....
onions keep for 8-12 months in good storage".
carolynCMV, I store my onions just like my garlic, in a cool dry place. I dug the onions in June/July & they are still good, as of today.
I have planted my bulb-lets in Oct. & hope to harvest in June.
I do not eat spring onions often.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 3:17PM
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lorabell NC(8)

The onions pictured are the ones I have been searching for! I know this is an old posting, but does anyone have any to share? Please let me know.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Lots of people grow these, myself included. I would be happy to send you some in June or July when the bulbils are ready. Repost here or contact me thru my page then.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 12:37PM
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I live in IL and will have several bulbils from my Egyptian Walking Onions that I am willing to share just for the cost of postage. You can email me at

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:26PM
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rwoods4764(5 a)

i have a lot of winter onions i love to share with others

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 7:34PM
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