The Q&A Archives: Winter Onions

Question: When I was a kid, we had onions that came up early in spring each year. We would cut them off at the ground level, would get a little of the white and green blades, would keep coming up each year. I would like to get a starting of them. Where could I find this kind of onion? Thank you Helen Baser

Answer: What you describe sound like wild onions (Allium canadense). These plants grow from bulbs and typically begin growing in late winter and early spring. Wild onions are common throughout the U.S. but they are considered an invasive weed in most parts of the country. Because the plants store energy in bulbous roots, they are extremely difficult to eradicate when the invade lawns and flowerbeds. I don't think you can purchase wild onions, so maybe you'd like to try growing their more domesticated cousins. You can purchase onion sets in garden centers in late summer or early fall. Plant the sets in the fall and they will begin to grow in the very early spring. You can cut the green blades and use them as you would chives. Unless you dig the bulbs up, they'll remain in the ground and probably multiply without any effort on your part. Enjoy your onions!

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