Egyptian Walking Onions

posted in: Vegetables | 26

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.

Egyptian Walking Onions -

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.

Egyptian Walking Onions, 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.

Egyptian Walking Onions - roots -

 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.

Egyptian Walking Onions -

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.

Egyptian walking onions at

Here is a printable bag topper  or a printable seed label if you are sharing your bulblets with others.

label for Egyptian Walking Onions fro

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26 Responses

  1. Kea

    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!

  2. Margie

    Interesting! This is the first time I’ve heard that onions can “walk”!

  3. Elaine

    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 !

  4. ABC Wednesday

    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)

  5. Myrtle

    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

  6. Su-sieee! Mac

    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!

  7. Margy

    Interesting plant. Having something perennial makes it nice. I like having things come up in early spring. – Margy

  8. Linda

    Very interesting plant Linda…
    I planted some garlic last Fall, that Monique …La Table de Nana….sent me!
    Fingers crossed!
    Enjoy your week…just back from a glorious yesterday at the cottage…LOTS of raking done!
    Linda :o)

  9. Lexi

    Hi, do you still have some walking onion bulblets to share? I’m in Ontario .

    • Crafty Gardener

      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.

  10. Jennifer

    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.

    • Kati McKeown

      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.

      • Crafty Gardener

        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.

  11. Jeannie Carraro

    Very interesting Linda. I am tempted, but I think that I have enough to do in my garden, better not push it.


  12. Guy Rioux

    Hi, I have been looking for those walking onions and can’t find any place that sell them.
    Do you have suggestions.

    • Crafty Gardener

      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.

  13. Ajoy Basak

    I am interested to buy few bulblets of Egyptian onions. Please let me where I can purchase these. I live in Ottawa area . Thanks

    • Crafty Gardener

      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.

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