Egyptian Walking Onion/topset onion/tree onion is a hybrid of the common onion (A. cepa) and the Welsh onion (A. fistulosum). It is a multiplier onion, meaning that its parent bulb (below ground) multiplies into multiple bulbs. So this plant multiplies at both ends. Unlike other varieties of onions whose leaves die back in summer heat, this onion stands up well to extreme heat and continues growing, so it may actually be planted at just about anytime the soil is workable. This is a bulletproof plant and you would have to exert some extreme neglect to kill it out. Last summer, we were in an extreme drought and had an invasion of grasshoppers which ate all the leaves. The onions rebounded nicely this spring after all this abuse. It grows well in any type soil as long as it's well draining.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


UPDATE FEB 16, 2012 - Topsets are available. Order below.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Egyptian Walking Onions

This is a rather skinny Egyptian Walking Onion bulbil on November 8, 2009. As you can see, the dried, cured bulb is putting out roots even with no soil or moisture. They start growing leaves very quickly once planted.
New leaves coming out of the soil November 11, only three days after planting. If given reasonable, minimal care, Egyptian Walking Onions grow very fast, are very cold-hardy anywhere in the U.S. and even into Canada, and can even handle a Texas drought. Some onion varieties go dormant in a hot summer but these onions just keep growing.
This picture was taken December 2 and you can see the healthy growth of leaves that have formed in just a few weeks. In winter, top growth will slow down a lot but bulb growth below the soil surface continues. This is the beginning of a very nice crop of onions.
March 27, 2010 -- nice growth after 3-4 months of wild Texas weather, including mild spells and snow and the usual ice storms with temps in the low teens. Topset bulb stalks are about to emerge.  Coastal bermudagrass hay was used as a mulch to conserve moisture and retard weed growth.
One of the first topsets of spring 2010. Picture was taken March 27th. Many baby onions are forming inside the papery sheath.
April 7th. The baby onions are growing, causing the papery sheath to break open. The baby onions even have their own leaves. At the end of the leaves, even more babies are formed.
April 22. The weight of the topsets has forced them to the ground. If the topsets are touching moist soil, they will eventually take root and form an entirely new clump of onions. This is how they can "walk" across the garden. It is at this point that you can pull up the parent plant and eat the bulbs and leaves and replant the babies for your next year's crop. Every part of the plant can be eaten at any stage of growth. The parent bulbs (below the soil), the leaves and the bulbils are all edible raw or cooked. If you just need onion greens or chives, use the leaves from multiple plants instead of cutting all the leaves from one plant. The plant will regrow new leaves.

Of course, not only do Egyptian Walking Onions multiply by topset bulbs, the parent bulbs also multiply. This fat clump formed in about 3 months from the tiny bulb in the first picture. Egyptian Walking Onions tend to be on the fairly hot side but taste varies on the growing conditions. Parent bulbs can be up to 3/4 inch diameter depending on age, which is smaller than the average store bought onion, but one clump can equal a small sized regular onion.