The Q&A Archives: Problems Growing Onions

Question: I'm an experienced gardener but I always have trouble with onions. I start mine from sets. The greens grow really well above the soil but I just can't get the bulbs to grow. What can I do?

Answer: Onions can sometimes be tricky to grow because they are photoperiodic plants, meaning they regulate their stages of growth by the duration of the light/dark cycle. An onion plant will make top growth until the critical light duration is reached; then it begins to form bulbs. The amount of growth and development prior to bulbing will determine the bulb size. You need to match the onion variety with your locale -- there are "short-day" onions for southern areas, and "long-day" onions for northern regions.

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