Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blooming Onions

Most folks want to grow onion bulbs NOT onion flowers! I have to admit, I let these youngins get way too big and should have picked them when they were little.

They look like leeks! I was in the garden when the Captain came home and he saw these on the ground and asked if we were having leek soup for dinner!

Ok, let's say you did not let them mature like I did. What causes bulb onions to send up flower stalks?
Flowering of onions can be caused by several things but usually the most prevalent is temperature fluctuation. An onion is classed as a biennial which means it normally takes 2 years to go from seed to seed. Temperature is the controlling or triggering factor in this process. If an onion plant is exposed to alternating cold and warm temperatures resulting in the onion plant going dormant, resuming growth, going dormant and then resuming growth again, the onion bulbs prematurely flower or bolt.

The onion is deceived into believing it has completed two growth cycles or years of growth in its biennial life cycle so it finalizes the cycle by blooming. Flowering can be controlled by planting the right variety at the right time. Use only transplants that are pencil-sized or smaller in diameter when planting in early spring or always plant seed, NEVER transplants, in early fall. I wonder if this is true for San Diego's climate. I'm learning so much!


Sue said...

I enjoyed this post! At first, I thought it was going to be about ornamental onions. You have some great info there. I'm thinking day length has something to do with onions blooming, too.

Thanks for visiting my blog again. I am going to post about my seedlings after they are all up, and will say what they are. ;o)

Leeds photo daily - Paul said...

I always like the look of onion flowers, indeed the flowers of many plants that are not really regarded as "flowers".

Libby Murphy said...

interesting in Le jardin! I think all flowers are gorgeous and beautiful creations
Happy Twirls,
Jackson, TN

earlysnowdrop said...

Funny! I am just a bit north of you at the bottom of Orange County. If you look at my recent post, you will see I have the purple version of your onion! I noticed when I was in the garden today that I was getting blooms--three to be exact, too.

Nice blog!

San Diego Farmgirl said...

My onions are blooming, too!

Leopard said...

Oooh - as an apartment dweller w/o garden space, I covet your onion flowers. They have a mild onion flavor and look so pretty sprinkled on a salad. (Or anything else!)