The Q&A Archives: Growing Onions

Question: When growing onions, I find that I get these long hollow flowers that seem to take the energy from the bulb, making them hard in the center, and smaller fruits. What can I do to prevent this? Do I cut the hollow flower shoot off before it gets too big? Or do I ignore this? What am I doing wrong??

Answer: You've correctly identified the cause of smaller, tougher onion bulbs. When you see a flower stem begin to develop, cut it off. If you allow it to grow the plant's energy will be directed into flower and seed production, at the expense of a large, tender bulb. When buying onion sets to plant, look for 1/2 inch diameter bulbs. Larger bulbs often go to seed before developing decent-sized bulbs.

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