Egyptian walking onions, also called tree onions, perennial onions, winter onions, or just walking onions belong to the allium genus, Allium proliferum.
They prefer growing in full sun, are extremely hardy and easy to grow. I find these onions are fascinating to grow in the garden. They are one of the first plants to poke through the ground in the spring. At the top of each stem a small bulb starts to grow. From this develops the onion for next year. When the plant gets top heavy the stem bends over and the little onions plant themselves into the ground.
After several years if left to do this on their own the onions would “walk” around your garden. I will pick off the little bulbs to replant where I want them to be and I also give them away at Seedy Saturdays and to friends so they can watch the fascinating growth in their own gardens.
If you don’t want the onions to ‘walk’ or spread around the garden, just snip off the bulblets.
The bulbs measure only 1/2 to 1 inch in length and look like small purple/red onions. Plant these little bulbs just below the surface of the ground with the green shoot (if there is one) poking out.
They can be planted in the Fall or in the spring. Fall is best as they will start growing and give you new plants in the spring. In fact in the Fall they will plant themselves if you have left the little bulbs on the plant.
The plant is edible. You can eat either end of the plant, but usually you dig the plant and eat the bulb below the ground, and save the top for planting or sharing. There is quite an ‘onion’ smell when they are lifted from the ground. You can use the greens (stem) like chives, and chop to add to salads or soups. I would recommend doing a taste test first to see if you like the taste before adding to your food.
I’ve started my garden journal for this year and these onions are always one of the first plants to poke through the ground. Here are photos in 4 different locations of how they were growing at the end of March 2018.
Here is a printable bag topper or a printable seed label if you are sharing your bulblets with others.
More from the gardener side: garden areas, bulbs, corms & tubers, plant profiles, seeds & seedpods, veggies & herbs,
I love the name. I wonder who first came up with it. :-)
Anyway, I hope they’re all surviving this ice storm and cold weather!
Linda aka Crafty Gardener
Totally buried under the ice pellets and ice rain. But the weekend looks promising for seeing them again.
Interesting! This is the first time I’ve heard that onions can “walk”!
They are quite gnarly and interesting looking when growing aren’t they ?! I hope they don’t walk out of your garden lol ! I don’t believe I have ever eaten one before let alone grow them . I enjoy learning new and different things when it comes to gardens . Talking about gardens I hope this weekend is as the weather people say it is to be and that is spring is to officially show its self with warmer temps and lots of sunshine from now on , I cant wait to get out there into my gardens and get cracking with them and the yard work and have a campfire or two and sit outside and soak it all in . Thanks for sharing, have a good day !
Linda aka Crafty Gardener
I grow them more for watching than eating. If you want to try some in your garden, let me know and I’ll send you a few bulblets when they appear this year. The weekend does look promising.
I would live to try them in my garden if you still have them I’m not far from tuckers corners
I sent you an email.
Soon, soon, soon! What a storm we had!
Linda aka Crafty Gardener
Absolutely awful, but the weekend looks promising.
Never heard or seen of them before but they look very pretty
Have a splendid, ♥-warming ABC-Wednes-day / -week
♫ M e l ☺ d y ♪ (ABC-W-team)
I have seen those somewhere and on here before, very interesting.
I am back home but taking off again Friday morning at 8am for Petrolia
Okay. Now I want to grow onions like these. I want to see them walking around the yard. I’ve put onions on my list, so that means I’m serious to learn more. Thanks!
Interesting plant. Having something perennial makes it nice. I like having things come up in early spring. – Margy
onions, onions, tra la la, as the song goes
Very interesting plant Linda…
I planted some garlic last Fall, that Monique …La Table de Nana….sent me!
Enjoy your week…just back from a glorious yesterday at the cottage…LOTS of raking done!
I love these and need to move the few meager ones that grew as the spot I chose was not good.
Hi, do you still have some walking onion bulblets to share? I’m in Ontario .
Hi Lexi, I just looked and I do have some left from last year. If you want to take a chance on them, let me know and I’ll send lots along to you. Thanks for stopping by.
Hi Crafty Gardener:)
I am also looking for Walking Onions as we are starting to plant into our permaculture food forest this spring. It is the start of a big adventure, and it sounds like Walking Onions are just what we need!
We live in Southern Ontario.
Hi. If there are any onion bulblettes left, I’d be very interested. I ordered some online and something went very wrong in shipping from the u. S. To southern Ontario and they are all dead and rotten! I’m devastated.
Sorry I don’t have any, it does say at the bottom of the post that there are no more bulblets left until the end of summer 2021. That is a shame you had a bad experience ordering bulbs. Happy gardening.
Very interesting Linda. I am tempted, but I think that I have enough to do in my garden, better not push it.
Hi, I have been looking for those walking onions and can’t find any place that sell them.
Do you have suggestions.
Not knowing where you live it is hard to give suggestions. Places like seed swaps, plant sales, Marketplace on Facebook or Kijiji are good places to look. Good luck in your search.
I am interested to buy few bulblets of Egyptian onions. Please let me where I can purchase these. I live in Ottawa area . Thanks
A search on the internet might provide some local sources to buy them, or check back at the end of the summer when I frequently have some to offer for the cost of postage. Good luck in your search.