Gardening

Egyptian Walking Onions

onion bulbs

Egyptian onions, also called walking onions are a perennial plant. Although the onion tastes the same as other onions, it has a unique growth process.

Instead of flowering when they go to seed, Egyptian onions form a cluster of bulbs on the top of the stalk. The heaviness of the bulbs force them to drop or fall over to the ground. Once the bulbs have reached soil, it’s as if they’ve planted themselves and they start the growing cycle over. In theory as the onions go through the growing process several times they are “walking” across the ground.

I’m guessing the Egyptian part of the name comes from the unique way the stalks and bulbs sprout. It is very reminiscent of hieroglyphics, but I don’t really know for sure.

The plant is hardy in zones 3-10. Onions will die back over winter in cold regions, but once spring temps arrive new growth begins to appear.

Long time Blind Pig reader, Bill Dotson, introduced me to Egyptian Onions several years ago. I had a patch and enjoyed growing and eating them, but lost the bed they were in when work was being completed around our house.

I was tickled pink when Bill emailed me a few weeks ago and asked if I needed more onion sets. I’m excited about getting my perennial onion bed started again.

If you’re interested in growing Egyptian Onions, Bill has generously offered to send you a few sets for only the cost of shipping. You can contact him at [email protected]


Last night’s video: Christmas Related Words and Phrases in Appalachian Language.

Tipper

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Jan Hutchinson
    December 27, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    I have a small backyard, but I might contact “Mr. Dotson for half a dozen onion sets.
    I love reading your articles and posts, Tipper!

  • Reply
    Jenny Young
    December 16, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    I have a small patch of these. Can you tell when you harvest them? Do you just use the greens or do the bulbs get big enough to dig up? Tell me more please.

    • Reply
      Tipper
      December 16, 2021 at 5:53 pm

      Jenny-I eat them like green onions eating both the bulb and the stalk 🙂

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 15, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    The way things have been going for me lately them onions would run off and leave me in their dust!

  • Reply
    Annie Shaw
    December 15, 2021 at 11:26 am

    What a great offer from Bill. The patch of walking onions in my garden disappeared during house construction and I’ve missed them this year. It was so convenient to walk outside year round to pick and use them. I originally got mine from a neighbor who wanted his yard to have more flowers than onions.
    Late fall/winter gardening is easier, for me (even in Maryland) as I don’t have the heat/humidity and my greens do better after frost. Fall/winter gardening seems like “found food”, so perhaps more of a treat than work to harvest.
    I love reading the comments from your readers after each article/blog. And, happy gardening to us all.

  • Reply
    dee
    December 15, 2021 at 11:18 am

    I’ve had green onions growing in the garden and I think my Parents had what looked like your Egyptian Walking Onions but they didn’t call them that, I just remember green onions that come up every year. It is hard to believe but I’ve still got some spinach that is growing in the planter box. I also have some of themt wild onions that come up every year in the flower bed.
    Looking at your video, I remember my Mother always trying to be the first one to call her sisters and say Merry Christmas. I don’t think they said Christmas Gift but I like that expression too. I had a dear sweet neighbor who first mentioned old Christmas to me and what it meant in her German heritage and that was probably the first time I had heard about the animals kneeling. My Aunt told me that she and her siblings would go Serenading at Christmas to the farm families in walking distance. The emphasis was put on being together and they sure must have loved it because they talked about it many times as the years sped by into their 80’s and 90’s.

  • Reply
    Lily M Stafford
    December 15, 2021 at 10:25 am

    I have had these for years! Love watching them! and sharing!!!!

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    December 15, 2021 at 10:16 am

    I look forward every morning to Blind Pig and the Acorn. While I sip my morning tea, I learn so much from you and your readers. I’ve never heard of these onions – so I learned something new today. Really enjoyed your video last night with Corrie. I had only heard the one about poke – poke of candy. Take care and God bless❤️

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 15, 2021 at 8:15 am

    I used to have some of those. I don’t know what happened to them. They just faded out. I have noticed that some of the wild onions in the garden fence row also make the little “onionlets”. It’s off the subject but I have the prettiest wild onion yard just now. If you don’t know what you’re seeing it looks good.

    I transplanted some of my spring onions so I have a few green onions still. Only about half of them came up though. I had tried to send you some garlic chive seed Tipper but I guess they got lost in the mail. Just as well probably since a very little bit of them goes a long way. But when I told you I was of a great mind to send you some I did mean it and did try.

  • Reply
    Dena Westbrooks
    December 15, 2021 at 8:12 am

    Hi Tipper,
    My grandmother from the mountains of Fannin County, Ga called these “winter onions” she always had them growing in her garden. I got some sets from her probably 30 years ago and have managed to keep them going.. she used them when she made “kilt lettuce” thanks for bringing back great memories. I am also the keeper of the family okra seed which has been in the family for over 100 years. Such responsibility!!
    But I’m determined to keep those traditions alive.
    Dena Westbrooks

  • Reply
    Christine
    December 15, 2021 at 8:11 am

    I’ve never heard of them, but then I’ve not heard of a lot of different varieties of vegetables people plant now days. I seem to grow the same kind of basic veggies year after year. Bill is being very kind and generous with his offer to us readers. Thank you, Bill!

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    December 15, 2021 at 7:51 am

    Fascinating! I’ve never heard of Egyptian walking onions!

  • Reply
    Denise R
    December 15, 2021 at 7:34 am

    I’ve just email Mr. Dotson and I’m looking forward to growing Egyptian Onions. I’ve been wanting to try growing these for the past couple of years, but I had to make some garden changes, which I did this past fall. Thank you for sharing his email address. I love growing plants that come from people who have a history growing them. Most of my flowers have come from other people instead of from seed catalogs or stores. Knowing that person cared enough and wanted to share the flowers with me is a special feeling. Now I get to have that with a garden plant!

  • Reply
    Margie G
    December 15, 2021 at 7:27 am

    Tipper, you do indeed have some of the kindest and most thoughtful blog readers out there!!! Why, a feller willing to offer to share his Egyptian onions is a very kind man indeed! That’s just another reason I come here every day! Have a blessed day all of you as you prepare for Christmas!!! You are the best, BP & A readers!!!

  • Reply
    sula hay
    December 15, 2021 at 7:11 am

    Thank you for the contact to get a start –again–of Egyptian onions. ‘ll gladly pay shipping and will send him greasy bean seeds if he wants any.
    I enjoy your posts each day.

  • Reply
    Martha D Justice
    December 15, 2021 at 7:09 am

    I’ve never heard of walking onions before so I saved Mr. Dotson’s email address and plan to ask for just a few sets . This is a very generous offer, I am truly thankful.
    While watching your video last night it brought back memories of my Grandma Peterson. We lived next door to her and Pawpaw so they were always the first people we would see on Christmas Day. “Christmas Gift” would be the first thing she would say to us on Christmas morning. I never understood what she meant by that and I never asked her about. Thanks to you the mystery has been solved. I am now 71 years old but still learning thanks to you. MERRY CHRISTMAS ❤

  • Reply
    Randy
    December 15, 2021 at 7:08 am

    When I was a child, mother had some onions that seemed to be like the Egyptian onions. She called them multiplying or scallion onions. They would reseed and comeback up each year. This would have been over 60 years ago.

  • Reply
    AWGRIFF
    December 15, 2021 at 7:06 am

    I used to grow Egyptian Onions years ago but don’t remember how I lost my bed. I never let the bulbs bend to the ground and take root but instead broke the cluster of bulbs up and planted them like you would any green onion set. The way I’m remembering them is they were good in the spring and strong and hot in the summer but with the new grown bulbs of summer you could have good green onions in the Fall.

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    December 15, 2021 at 6:56 am

    My son has grown Egyptian onions for several years now. We like them a lot and they’re very easy to grow.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 15, 2021 at 6:36 am

    Thats very nice of Bill to offer starters of his onions! It’s nice we have a family of the Blind Pig followers, and as a family we get together every day around The Blind Pig and the Acorn.
    Thanks Tipper, I am proud to attend the family meeting every morning with my cup of tea in hand while I read! It’s my daily tradition!

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    December 15, 2021 at 6:30 am

    These are indeed a treasure to have in a little perennial garden. In true Appalachian fashion I took some of the tiny bulblets to church and shared. One family was extremely pleased and said they were very sweet at a certain time in the Spring. I found the little walking onions so interesting. I loved to gather all the little bulblets at the end of the growing season to save for replant or just share with others. They can be trained to stay in their borders even though they like to bend over and sprout up in your grass. Mom always had a patch of what she referred to as “winter onions”, but they only multiplied at the root. Those onions made it easily through harsh Winters, and were usually added to the early Spring wilted lettuce. I always had a small perennial garden behind the garage I filled with garlic, onions, walking onions, and ramps gifted by an uncle. I was able to keep the ramps a couple of years in that shady location. My neighbor was trying to help by cleaning out the overgrown bed that had gotten ahead of me, and actually cleared out most of what I had started through the years. 🙁

  • Reply
    Ava
    December 15, 2021 at 6:27 am

    I have been growing them for years and have shared them with others. They don’t make bulbs but do provide green onions almost year round.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    December 15, 2021 at 6:14 am

    I have never heard of Egyptian onions. They do sound unique! During this past week, I saw something about getting ready for planting a garden. It’s just December, I thought. The garden from last year just got put to bed for the winter. I figured it was because I was visiting in a land of perpetual warm and sunny days, where true winter’s cold fingers never reach, so you can plant something all year long practically. This is my first morning back in North Carolina after a week away. I read your blog first thing, and here you are talking about gardening!! The circle of life continues! When I had my big garden during the few years I lived in Iowa, I did the same thing. As soon as I had burned the last of the fall garden and yard clean up for the year, and the snow had started falling, and I was warm and snug in my house with plenty of hot cocoa with tons of marshmallows (the only way to drink it in my opinion!), I was going through seed catalogs and drawing up maps of where I was planting what in the coming spring’s garden. I always rotated my vegetables every new year, because some seasoned gardener told me that was the correct way to protect your soil. In the winter, I even plotted on paper, each new planting through the coming growing season – successive plantings of green beans, radishes, etc.. You make me miss gardening!! Truthfully! I have a notebook with some of those garden plans still. Some I had to throw away because they were so full of dirt because I would take the papers to the garden with me as I was planting all season long. I wish I had kept all the papers now, the dirt smudges would have brought back so many memories of a time I have really enjoyed in my life so far. This morning I am feeling lazy. My body and my brain are still on vacation, and I do not want to do anything that requires effort – thinking or doing. I am happy to be with my own stuff again, especially my own kitchen, but I just don’t want to be in charge of doing anything. Where’s the maid?? Oh. That’s me, you say? Rats.

    Donna. : )

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