Allium Species, 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



Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Dark Green


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

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

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

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

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

Decatur, 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

Columbus, Ohio

Lynchburg, Ohio

Williamsburg, Ohio(2 reports)

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Jay, Oklahoma

Portland, Oregon

Wilsonville, Oregon

Fayetteville, Pennsylvania

Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Greensburg, 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 23, 2013, Bellsp from Hayden, AL (Zone 8b) 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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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... read more


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.


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!


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.


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.


On Oct 25, 2003, echoes wrote:

These survived winter in my zone 3 garden too.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!