When is an Onion "done"?

Orlando, FL(Zone 10a)

I cut an onion in half, used a couple of slices, and put the rest in a container in the fridge. When finally I went to use a little more it was too late. Both halves had started sprouting. Fine...they're green...I planted them in the flower garden. One of them grew & grew. Now what? Will this produce another onion, and if so, how do I know when it's "done"? I now have a flower (that is a flower, isn't it?) Will the flower make seeds that will make new onion plants? Being a city girl who can't cook, I enjoy my hanging basket herb garden for the fragrance and textures and for the butterflies and other pollinators who visit. I know virtually nothing about crops...but if it grows (and isn't invasive) I like it!

Thumbnail by CatladyDane Thumbnail by CatladyDane
Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

That is a seed head. when dry you could collect the seeds. you could plant the seeds and grow new plants, but be forewarned growing onions from seed is more difficult than with most other vegetables.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I'm growing onions from seed for the first time! It takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R!!!


Gymgirl, I have onions before the daffodils around here. The honey leaves a few in his little onion patch every year and lets them go to seed. And sure enough up they pop in the early spring. But even he starts new onions from sets. He has some out there right now you could slice and put on your burger. Maybe that is the best way for onions from seed.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Gracesmom!

I sowed seeds in a flat in August, and intended on transplanting them in November, but they were still not a good size by then. So, I transplanted in January, which is when I had previously set transplants I purchased from Dixondale Farms, if I had ordered theirs.

My goal was to start my own for earlier transplanting (November). Dixondale won't deliver here before December. I've learned that the longer the onions grow, the larger they will be, so I wanted a little bit more growing time.

My first season growing onions, I set transplants in January 2011 and harvested nice sized onions from August thru the end of September that year. They stored well in my HOT garage until the following January 2012!

Not bad at all!

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

There are different types of onions.

Some will start growing the bulb when the days get shorter.

Some will start growing the bulb when the days get longer.

Some do not care about day length but will start growing the bulb a certain time after the seed sprouts.

Most onions have this basic growth pattern:
Grow lots of leaves for a while. (This is the part you can harvest as green onions)
Then start storing energy in a bulb.
Usually die down for a while after the bulb is formed. (This is when the bulb is harvested)
Use the energy from the bulb to grow flowers.
Set seed.

My onions grew a bit different.
At the point where they started storing energy in the bulb my turkey found out how delicious onions were, and he taught the chickens how to 'harvest' the onion, without even taking it out of the ground! All I had were a few leaves and a hollow spot in the ground where the bulb had been.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

CatladyDane - the onions you purchase in the market are not invasive (there are wild onions that some people consider to be invasive, but I consider them to be food).

When you have "left-over" onion, the best thing to do is chop it up and freeze it.

I chop and freeze most of the onions I grow. After chopping a couple of onions, I spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer. Then I quickly put the frozen chopped onions in a freezer bag. This way the onions don't end up in a big clump that's impossible to separate.

I have never been successful in growing onions from seed. Even the onions that "go to seed" in my garden never grow more onions (sigh)


I just bought this book about vegetable gardening and in there it says to cut the greens down on your onions when they reach about 4 inches tall and use them in salads, cooking etc. That way the onion puts more energy into developing the bulb. Wondering if anyone has tried this. I may, if honey isen't watching...lol

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