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Alexy
Nov 22, 2016 4:22 PM CST
Are onion leaves supposed to be super long.
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Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Nov 22, 2016 5:07 PM CST
Both my onion and garlic make very long leaves. Yours look normal to me. It looks like they might need some larger pots if you're keeping them inside this winter.
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[Last edited by plantmanager - Nov 22, 2016 5:09 PM (+)]
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Alexy
Nov 22, 2016 11:47 PM CST
plantmanager said:Both my onion and garlic make very long leaves. Yours look normal to me. It looks like they might need some larger pots if you're keeping them inside this winter.


Thanks, they are hydroponically grown (very basic). Thank You!
Name: Sandy B.
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Weedwhacker
Nov 25, 2016 11:07 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, Alexy !

I've been starting onions from seed for quite a few years now -- they always get several "haircuts" before I plant them out in the garden (meaning I cut the leaves back to about 3" tall when they start getting long and floppy).

Are you going to continue growing them hydroponically? If you are looking to get bulb onions, the plants are going to need to be separated. Or, of course, you can keep them the way they are and trim the leaves periodically to use like chives.
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Name: Sue
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sooby
Nov 26, 2016 6:10 AM CST
Usually excessively long and/or floppy leaves indoors are from too little light. Sandy, if you need to give yours haircuts, maybe you could try starting them later if you can't give them more light? Each time you cut off some of the leaf you are deducting previous growth that the plant then has to make up again.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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Weedwhacker
Nov 26, 2016 8:45 AM CST
sooby said:Usually excessively long and/or floppy leaves indoors are from too little light. Sandy, if you need to give yours haircuts, maybe you could try starting them later if you can't give them more light? Each time you cut off some of the leaf you are deducting previous growth that the plant then has to make up again.


I think my plants are getting plenty of light, both when they're started indoors and then when they go out to the greenhouse for a while before getting planted in the ground; as far as I can see it's just the nature of the young onion plants to grow long, weak, grass-like leaves at first, and they do much better if they're kept trimmed back. I suspect that in part at least, trimming the leaves gives them a chance to put more energy into growing the roots.

That's just my personal experience... Shrug!

Edited to add this link to an article in the Learning Library here, which discusses how to grow your own onion transplants and also recommends trimming the young plants: http://garden.org/learn/articl...
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Name: Sue
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sooby
Nov 26, 2016 8:57 AM CST
I must admit to not being an expert on onions but for plants in general the last part of the article seems incorrect, shortening the leaves doesn't put energy into growing roots, it is the opposite. A plant's reaction to reduced leaves is to grow more leaves rather than roots. The energy for root growth comes from photosynthesis so when you reduce the leaf area the plant is making less food for growth. To regrow it may have to use food it had already made and stored and then have to try and catch up. If we think about a lawn, when you mow shorter the roots become shorter.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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Weedwhacker
Nov 26, 2016 11:35 AM CST
Sue, with all respect -- that may be what you would expect in theory, but with onion seedlings trimming really DOES make them stronger.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Nov 26, 2016 11:55 AM CST
I was saying that haircuts don't send energy to the roots, it typically does the opposite. I'm not sure what stronger actually means? Cutting back should delay them. I guess I'll have to experiment Smiling I have grown onions from seed and didn't find they needed haircuts. Since now I'm curious I looked for some research on this and found the following study:

"Two onion cultivars (Allium cepa L) Caledon Globe and Australian Brown, were sown at three sowing dates 18 days appart. Leaves of a portion of the seedlings were cut back either one month before transplanting (75% defoliation) or at transplant (25% defoliation) and subsequent growth compared with unpruned control plants. Both defoliation treatments decreased marketable yields, mainly by decreasing mean bulb mass."

http://www.actahort.org/books/...
The Effect of Partial Defoliation of Onion Seedlings on their Subsequent Growth, Yield and Keeping Quality

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