Why are they called walking onions?

Answered by Willian Lymon

Walking onions are given their name because of their unique ability to produce bulblets that sprout and grow while still attached to the original stalk. This process is quite fascinating and resembles the movement of walking.

When the walking onion plant reaches maturity, it produces small bulblets at the top of the stalk, typically about the size of marbles. These bulblets are capable of growing new shoots and roots while still connected to the parent plant. As the bulblets develop and gain weight, they can cause the stalk to bend downward.

The bending of the stalk causes the bulblets to touch the ground, and as a result, they come into contact with the soil. This contact triggers the bulblets to take root and establish themselves as individual plants. Once rooted, these new plants will continue to grow and eventually produce their own bulblets, thus perpetuating the cycle.

The process of the bulblets taking root and growing new plants away from the parent plant is reminiscent of the motion of walking. The bending and touching of the bulblets to the ground, followed by their subsequent growth and propagation, give rise to the name “walking onion”.

This unique characteristic of walking onions not only sets them apart from other onion varieties but also makes them an interesting and convenient plant to grow. The ability of the bulblets to sprout and grow without the need for separate planting allows for easy propagation and expansion of the onion patch.

In addition to their intriguing walking behavior, walking onions also have other desirable qualities. They are perennial plants, meaning they can survive and produce for multiple years without the need for replanting. This makes them a low-maintenance option for gardeners.

Furthermore, walking onions are known for their hardiness and ability to adapt to various growing conditions. They can tolerate a wide range of soil types and are relatively resistant to pests and diseases. These qualities make them a reliable and resilient addition to any garden.

Personally, I have had the pleasure of growing walking onions in my own garden. Witnessing the process of the bulblets bending down, taking root, and giving rise to new plants has always fascinated me. It feels as though the onions are truly taking steps and exploring their surroundings.

The name “walking onion” perfectly captures the unique growth habit of this plant and adds to its allure and charm. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a curious observer, growing walking onions can be a rewarding experience, both for their delicious harvest and their captivating walking behavior.