Onion sets not bulbing up

jardinerowaApril 19, 2013


I'm in the San Diego area and I got a pack of onion sets from a nursery and they were planted end of January I think. Anyway, they grew and grew and we've used the shoots for cooking and they were beautifully blue/green but now as the weather is getting warmer, they are losing their lush look and looking a little tired although I wouldn't say they are turning brown yet.
I'm wondering if they should have bulbed up by now. For Jan/Feb/March it would get down to high 40s sometimes at night but now it just gets into the 50s.
I know about short day vs. long day onions but I figured the ones I bought from the reputable nursery would be the correct ones for the season. Thanks!


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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

A couple of thoughts.

If you've been using the shoots for cooking, you have been taking away leaves necessary for good growth for the onion plants. A little nip here and there is not a huge deal, but an onion only has so much to it, and needs most of its leaves for photosynthesis.

Onions usually bulb while they are still very lush. If they look tired, and haven't bulbed at all, it may not happen.

Onions are a biennial. This means they grow and bulb the first year, then die down. After re-sprouting the second season they flower and set seed.
When planting sets, you're actually planting second season onions. Depending on many factors (variety, timing, weather, light, etc) they sometimes skip the bulb and go straight to the flower. This may be what's happening with yours.

Next year if it doesn't work out, i'd try buying plants or starting you own from seed.
Good luck.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 8:38PM
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Thanks for the reply. I haven't been snipping them a lot (they always have leaves), but maybe the weather it wasn't cool enough this season for them to bulb up. If they flower I will save the seeds for this fall and maybe the beneficial insects will love the flowers too.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 11:03PM
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