Welsh Onion Plants: Tips On Growing Welsh Onions

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Also known as spring onion, Welsh bunching onion, Japanese leek or stone leek, Welsh onion (Allium fistulosum) is a compact, clumping plant cultivated for its ornamental value and mild, chive-like flavor. Welsh onion plants are perennial in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 9. Growing Welsh onions is a cinch, so don’t hesitate to plant these tasty, attractive plants where you can enjoy the hollow, grassy leaves and chive-like blooms.

Planting Bunching Onions

Plant Welsh onion seeds indoors in March, using a regular commercial potting soil. Keep the soil lightly moist until the seeds germinate, which generally takes seven to 10 days.

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Plant the seedlings in your garden after about a month, when all danger of frost has passed. Full sun is best, but Welsh onion plants tolerate a bit of light shade. Allow about 8 inches between each seedling.

If you have access to established plants, you can easily propagate new plants by division. Simply dig up clumps and pull them into individual bulbs, then replant the bulbs in soil that has been cultivated ahead of time. Dig an inch or two of compost into the soil to get the plants off to a good start.

Caring for Your Growing Welsh Onions

Welsh onion plants are remarkably trouble free. The plants benefit from regular irrigation, especially during hot, dry weather, but they are relatively drought tolerant.

No fertilizer is required, especially if you add compost to the soil at planting time. However, if your soil is poor or growth appears stunted, provide a light application of 5-10-5 fertilizer once a year, in early spring.

Harvesting Bunching Onions

Pull an entire plant as needed when Welsh onions are 3 to 4 inches tall, or snip off pieces of leaves for seasoning soups or salads.

As you can see, there’s little effort involved when growing or caring for Welsh onion plants in the garden.

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