30 June 2018

Egyptian Walking Onions are Allium cepa profilerum

Allium cepa profilerum
Egyptian Walking Onions are neither Egyptian nor able to walk. But, they are an easy-to-grow onion that can be used from top to bottom. 

The underground part of the onion resembles a leek and can be used in cooking just like leeks. The hollow stem is used as a substitute for green onions when it is small. The seeds that form on the top of the stalk are harvested and used as pearl onions or shallots. 

Once you have planted a row, you can watch them grow and spread as they ‘walk around’ your garden.  If the small onions on the top of the stalk are left un-harvested, the stem will fall over from their weight. Wherever those little onions touch the ground, new plants are formed. Plus, the underground bulb will multiply. Soon you will have as many onions as you can use.

Egyptian Walking Onion
Gardeners who have a patch of Egyptian walking onions are happy to share roots and seeds to get you started. If you want to purchase the seeds though, there’s a website for that, www.egyptianwalkingonion.com.


 Their Latin name is Allium cepa profilerum, meaning they produce new plants. Some common names include perennial onions, winter onions, tree onions and top onions. They are hardy in zones 5 to 9.

The seeds or top onions are planted 1-inch deep and 8-12 inches apart early in the fall. They will emerge in the spring, looking like green onions at first. The first year they will produce green tops and shallot-like onions under ground; the second year they will produce seed on top of the stem. You can decide how many to harvest and how many to leave for seed-making.

They can be planted in a flower bed, a vegetable- herb garden or in containers.  Give them full or part sun, well-drained soil and room to spread. We grow them as a perennial, leaving some in the ground every year, so we have not replanted seed in 20 years.
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