Hybrid Potato Onions

catherine_nmJune 19, 2010

Okay, this is the first year I have grown potato onions (listed in the Teritorial Seeds catalog as Allium Cepa), so I was mildly surprised to see some of them puting up flower stalks. Okay, others aren't, so I will still have onions when I need them.

This is also the first time in YEARS that I have planted onion sets (also Allium cepa), generic red, from the hardware store (hey, they were on sale for pennies, didn't hurt to try). But almost all of them are bolting.

So what is the chance that if I let the onions cross-pollinate and plant the seeds I will end up with red potato onions? I have a large yard, most of it in weeds at the moment. I can create a bed to play with onion seeds for a couple of years, I guess.

That's me, a very casual plant breeder.


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The potato onion flowers may be sterile, but it'd be worth a try. Onions will self-pollinate, so if only the regular onions set seed you'd have to grow out a bunch of seed and try to figure out of any were from pollen from the potato onions. If both the potato and regular onions set viable seed, then some of both seed will likely be hybrids - though it'd likely be considerably less than half unless you manually pollinated them extensively.

Commercial hybrid onions are made using special strains of onion that are self-sterile, ensuring that all seed set on those plants are the result of a cross with the other parent onion planted nearby.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 2:57PM
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