Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Egyptian Tree Onion, Walking Onion, Topset Onion
Allium x proliferum

Family: Alliaceae
Genus: Allium (AL-ee-um) (Info)
Species: x proliferum

Synonym:Allium cepa var. viviparum
Synonym:Allium cepa var. bulbiferum
Synonym:Allium cepa var. proliferum

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

87 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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By Badseed
Thumbnail #1 of Allium x proliferum by Badseed

By Wingnut
Thumbnail #2 of Allium x proliferum by Wingnut

By Wingnut
Thumbnail #3 of Allium x proliferum by Wingnut

By Wingnut
Thumbnail #4 of Allium x proliferum by Wingnut

By Wingnut
Thumbnail #5 of Allium x proliferum by Wingnut

By dave
Thumbnail #6 of Allium x proliferum by dave

By maineroses
Thumbnail #7 of Allium x proliferum by maineroses

There are a total of 19 photos.
Click here to view them all!


16 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Bellsp On Jan 23, 2013, Bellsp from Warrington, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Love this work horse of the garden! Top and bottom set. You have to see to believe! Definite heirloom, given to me by my great uncle JB, who had it forever himself! You'll never not have onions again. Great chopped in salads, soups, stews, dressing, etc.

Positive eukofios On Jul 7, 2012, eukofios from Vancouver, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

These Egyptian Walking Onions should be in more gardens! They provide scallions so early the garden can't be worked to plant other vegetables. Also in the late fall, from summer-planed topsets. I've grown them in containers and in the ground. Both options work well. The onion has a stronger flavor than many other onions, which is fine for me. These onions are easy to grow. They make a great gift for other gardeners. My great aunt gave me a start 45 years ago, and who knows how long she grew them or who gave them to her.

Positive texasflora_com On Oct 16, 2010, texasflora_com from De Leon, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

My favorite onion even though it's on the hot side and doesn't make a huge bulb. These are forever onions. Once you plant them, you should always have onions unless they happen to be growing in an extremely dry area and go way too long with no water. Not only do they make topsets of multiple baby onions, even the baby onions branch off and make their OWN babies. The main underground bulb also multiplies. A definite heirloom. Check out my pictures.

Positive Lauren88 On Sep 9, 2007, Lauren88 from Stanford, CA wrote:

This is a great source of year-round green onions. They are still green even through the summer in dry Northern California. Multiplier onions, which are similar, seem to need to be cured as bulbs and replanted. I find the bulbs laborious to peel for such a small amount of onion, but the green onions are great. Much easier than remembering to put seeds or sets down for green onions every couple of weeks, and interesting looking!

Positive orthents On Jul 4, 2007, orthents from Conrad, MT wrote:

found it initially growing in a windbreak near Recluse, WY; first time ever seen. now growing in Lewistown and Helena, MT; will plant this fall in Conrad, MT. extremely hardy to survive the site in Recluse.

Positive Silphion On May 31, 2006, Silphion from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I got my Egyptian Onion through Richter's as part of a catastrophically delayed order (not really Richter's fault and they were very nice about refunding the $$) and though it looked very very dead I planted it in my garden and forgot about it until this spring.

I'm put in mind of two things when I see this plant 1: the myth of Medusa and 2: those funky Escher drawings that have that fractal quiality of infinate mirror repetition (I think "Medusa Onion" is another quite fitting name)

It does not surprise me to see no negitive reviews as yet; it is truly an interesting plant. I love the way the typical onion stalks pop on thier ends to reveal the onions which in turn have thier own stalks that pop revieling progressively smaller "heads" of contorted growth. I have mine planted next to a Contorted Filbert (H.L.W.S.) and the effect of one twisting through the other is marvolous! I hope Dr. Suess had one in his garden~

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 15, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

We have had these onions for years. It is great to have onions from the garden before other onions are ready.

Positive paste592 On Jun 24, 2005, paste592 from Westminster, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:

This dear plant makes me smile, just looking at it! It "walks" casually about its area of my garden, leaving next generation's starter wherever it strolls. Mine fits well in the mid-border of a flower bed. And if it gets too pushy, the shoots that are weeded out go in the cookpot!

It's an old plant -- samples grow in our County's heirloom garden, which dates to the 1850s. And it's a great conversation piece!

Positive Badseed On Jan 16, 2005, Badseed from Hillsboro, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

These are great! You can eat the stalks as chives, eat the small top sets or eat the bottom bulbs. They self sow enough to keep you in constant supply, but don't seem to be a pest so long as you harvest.

Positive GreenAtHeart On May 10, 2004, GreenAtHeart from Franklin Grove, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

In my Chicago garden it seems almost impossible to kill this plant. It survives extreme winters and summers, flooding and drought. While not "invasive" it replants itself easily. In my garden near Dixon, IL, it thrives in near proximity to Black Walnut trees where many other plants have failed.

Positive echoes On Oct 25, 2003, echoes from South of Winnipeg, MB (Zone 3a) wrote:

These survived winter in my zone 3 garden too.

Positive ninsk On Sep 24, 2003, ninsk from Metamora, OH wrote:

I found three of these plants across the street from my house with tiny bulbs growing out of the top and small, underdeveloped-looking onions at the bottom. Being adventerous (if not somewhat stupid) I ate the "onions" - VERY hot, but excellent, and planted the bulbs. That was about 6 weeks ago, and I already have what appears to be green onion-type stalks above ground that range from 6-10".

So far, so good, except that I haven't the foggiest idea what to do next. All in all, though, they seem pretty hardy, and they taste great.

Positive Cheverie On Jul 15, 2003, Cheverie from Cheverie, NS
Canada wrote:

Never heard of this herb until I found one for sale at a perennial sale. Have planted it in the garden and there seems to be little bulblets coming out of the top. Love this herb and it is a true conversation piece in my garden. I live in Nova Scotia Canada and it is growing very well here.

Positive dtroost On Apr 12, 2003, dtroost from san antonio, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I'm nuts about them; I grew them in Casper, Wyoming (U.S.), zone 4, 20 years ago. I found generous sources to start again in San Antonio, Texas (zone 8) around February 1. Easy to grow. I could be eating them but want to multiply my stash.

I don't remember how long it takes to mature but should be obvious when the bulblets appear - looks like it will be soon.

Positive Wingnut On Aug 30, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Possibly A. cepa viviparum.

Instead of blooms, these produce topsets. After harvesting the parent plant, break off the bulbils, separate and plant for next year's crop. That's just the neatest thing! I LOVE these onions! Definitely a conversation piece in the garden.

Positive Terry On Aug 30, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

So far, so good. A few dozen plants are already filling in a 15 square-foot bed. Looking forward to onions this winter!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Daleville, Alabama
Wedowee, Alabama
Hereford, Arizona
Bigelow, Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Alameda, California
Simi Valley, California
Stanford, California
Vallejo, California
Clifton, Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Bozrah, Connecticut
Lakeland, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Dallas, Georgia
Danielsville, Georgia
Geneva, Illinois
Lincolnwood, Illinois
Mackinaw, Illinois
Bloomington, Indiana
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Kimmell, Indiana
Newburgh, Indiana
Des Moines, Iowa
Prospect, Kentucky
New Orleans, Louisiana
Falmouth, Maine
Milo, Maine
North Waterford, Maine
Oxford, Maine
Laurel, Maryland
Salem, Massachusetts
Andover, Minnesota
Isle, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Marietta, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Holden, Missouri
Carson City, Nevada
Manchester, New Hampshire
Neptune, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ithaca, New York
Massapequa Park, New York
West Kill, New York
Boone, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Medora, North Dakota
Lynchburg, Ohio
Williamsburg, Ohio (2 reports)
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Jay, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Wilsonville, Oregon
Fayetteville, Pennsylvania
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Landisburg, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Laurens, South Carolina
Middleton, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Belton, Texas
Boerne, Texas
Dallas, Texas
De Leon, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Weimar, Texas
West Dummerston, Vermont
Hampton, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Colville, Washington
Garfield, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Porterfield, Wisconsin
Kinnear, Wyoming
Riverton, Wyoming
Upton, Wyoming

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