Growing Bunching Onions in Containers, Pots – A Planting Guide

Bunching onion is a perennial plant that can be grown in bunch and unlike other onion varieties they don’t form bulb. Wonder for what they are grown? Leaves and stems of this vegetable are used to flavor many dishes. Growing bunching onions at home is a cinch, all you need is a backyard or a container can help you to plant welsh bunching onions.

What are bunching onions?

By now you might know that it belong to Allium family. Also known as welsh onions, green onions, spring onions, baby onions and small onions; this allium fistulosum plant is grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 6 through 9.

Names of this perennial plant are a bit ambiguous as other onions varieties in their early stage may refer to green onion. For instance, a green onion in US isn’t the same in Australia or England. (Source)

However, according to experts the true bunching onion is Allium fistulosum, which doesn’t form a bulb.

Bunching onion varieties include scallions, allium fistulosum, allium species hybrid that is propagated by crossing between allium cepa and allium fistulosum. You can grow common onions as bunching onions if you harvest early.

You can find USDA planting zone for your state here.

Also read: How to Grow Bush Beans at Home?

Are bunching onions the same as scallions?

Scallions refer to slender shaped onions with sharp smell like common onions.

Green onions are referred to fresh young onions of slender shape. So, yes scallions and green onions are interchangeable term used to identify allium cepa species.

Cultivation

Though, its native to China, now this perennial plant is grown in other parts of the world too. It reached Japan after China in 500 A.D. In western world it is also known as Japanese bunching onions.

Bunching onion is also known as welsh onion, however it’s in no way related to Wales. “Welsh” word refers to an old English word that means foreign.

Apart from being used for culinary purpose, in China it is known for its medicinal properties. Plant bunching onions in your garden and this ornamental plant will give you delicious flavor to your dishes year after year.

Enough of this ambiguous topic, lets now dwell on how to grow welsh onions at home?

Growing Bunching Onions

Three popular ways to propagate bunching onions is through division, transplanting or from seed. A place with partial shade in your garden can be used to grow welsh bunching onions at home.

Related: Growing Bitter Gourd at Home- A Complete Guide

How to Grow Bunching Onions from Seed?

Reach your local store or any online site to get the true bunching onion seeds. Prepare the ground to sow seeds by removing grass and plough upper surface of the soil.

Now plant bunching onion seeds ½ inch deep into the soil with 2-3 inches space in 4-5 rows depending on the quantity you’d like to grow.

For best results, gardening experts recommend adding organic compost to the soil before planting.

How to Grow Bunching Onions in Container?

Transplanting Bunching Onions

Instead of sowing seeds directly in the backyard, you can initially plant the seeds in a small container indoors till the plant reaches 9-18 inches.

  • Fill the container with organic compost and soil.
  • Make sure the container that you selected to grow seedlings has enough water drainage.
  • Now sow welsh bunching onion seeds ½ inch deep in the container.
  • Water regularly and wait for 8-10 days to germinate.
  • At initial stages this perennial plant may resemble like grass. If you allow them to grow for 5-6 weeks then you will obtain 8 inches tall plants, which you can transplant to backyard.

Imp: As a gardener you might know how important is sunlight for plants, so make sure that raised plants get enough sunlight. Place them in partially shaded place indoors.

If you don’t have a backyard, then you can shift the seedling to mid-sized containers. Apart from good yield these ornamental plants will have aesthetic appeal to your terrace gardening.

Third way to propagate bunching onion is through division. Once the plant is well established, you can just split the ends to 3-4 sections and replant it. If you’re just starting, then reach your gardening friend to replant bunching onions.

  • Dig the bunching onion clump carefully and using a spade split the root into two or three sections.
  • Prior to division, dig your backyard and add some organic compost to it.
  • Replant the obtained bunching onion to it and water regularly.
  • Allium family plants are shallow rooted that gets more nourished from its roots. So you must feed them enough by regular watering and organic fertilizers.
  • To avoid weeds, place mulch around the bunching onion plant.

Growing Tips for Bunching Onion Plants

  • According to Johnnyseeds.com, planting in early spring will result the crop in summer, and for spring you must plant in July-August. (Source)
  • This perennial plant prefers soil pH of 6.2 to 6.8.
  • While transplanting bunching onion plants, hill them 2 or 3 times higher. This will force the leaves to grow higher plant and extra yield.
  • Before winter, surround the plants with thick layer of mulch to avoid cold weather. You can remove it in spring.
  • Mulching avoid weeds and helps to keep the soil most.
  • Another way to avoid weeds is hoeing regularly. Hoeing is a process to dig upper surface of the soil surrounding plants to make soil well drained.

Watering Bunching Onions

As mentioned above, bunching onion family needs regular watering. You can try drip irrigation if you’re planning to raise surplus amount of welsh onion plants.

Important: Excess watering will not help you to grow welsh onion plants.

How to Plant Bunching Onions in Succession?

Welsh bunching onion plant takes 4-5 months to mature. So, for succession, start planting after every 2 weeks.

This way you can get its leaves all the year.

Fertilizers for Growing Bunching Onions at Home

This Hardy perennial plant can be grown in almost all soil conditions. However, providing enough water, full sunlight and feeding with organic fertilizers will produce enough crop.

Buying organic fertilizers from the store can give a run to your money. Fortunately, you can make organic fertilizers at home using cow, chicken manure or comfrey tea.

Best thing about comfrey is that you can grow them in your garden. Its enticing isn’t it? You can actual make natural fertilizers from your garden.

  • You just need to add a bunch of comfrey leaves to a bucket of water. After 2 days stain and your natural liquid fertilizer is ready.
  • Place large rocks in the bucket with comfrey leaves so that they stick at the bottom.
  • Cover the bucket to avoid flies and make sure you hold your nose because of its terrible smell.
  • Mix the obtained liquid fertilizer with water in 1:2 ratio and spray it on bunching onions.

Must Read: How to Use Epsom Salt in Garden?

Harvesting Bunching Onions

You can harvest after the plant reaches 4-6 inches. According to gardening experts you can harvest bunching onions in two ways.

  1. Snipping leaves to flavor your dishes, as the leaves will grow quickly without any extra work from you.
  2. Pulling out the entire plant and eat the fresh green onions along with its leaves.

I personally prefer the first method of harvesting, because as a lazy person I don’t want to work again to grow welsh bunching onions.

Instead, you can pull one or two here and there if you’ve already grown much perennial plants in your garden.

First year don’t start harvesting before mid-summer. Also over harvesting will not give chance to young perennial plants to develop strong roots. Once the plants are well established, you can harvest around the year in warmer climates.

You can use flowers of bunching onion plants for seeds or you can use to cook.

Pests and Diseases to Grow Welsh Onions

Fortunate or not, pungent smell of bunching onion plants don’t attract pests. As everyone has enemies; this hardy plants do have some pests that damage them.

Thrips

These tiny insects results in disfiguration of scallions. If you’re pulling the plant to use its slender shaped bulb in the dish, then you must get rid of thrips.

Best way to get of these tiny insects is to blast the tops of scallions with water using garden hose. To avoid fungal infection, mix soap with water and spray this liquid soap on the leaves.

Maggots

Unlike other insects, maggots attack the onion bulbs and scallions. If you see weakened leaves on your bunching onion plant, then dig slightly to check the base of the plant.

If the bulb looks rotten, then pull the plant and use its leaf after discarding the bulb.

Nematodes

They are soil-dwellers, which inject toxins into the root system. Eventually, it will destroy complete plant. Best thing that you can do is to chop the affected part and use the remaining leaves.

Allium Leafy Miners

Eggs laid by these small flies get settled on the bunching onion leaves that can enter roots and damage the whole plant. Leaves that are left after infestation are destroyed by fungi and bacteria.

To avoid these insects, gardening experts recommend covering the plants with row covers.

Diseases that Damage Bunching Onion Plant

White rot that affect the root of this plant is caused due to soil-borne fungi. This is why most gardeners practice crop rotation, to avoid such fungal disease.

Downy Mildew (Bunching onion leaves turn yellow)

A group of parasites that results in fuzzy texture of plant leaves therefore turning them yellow and then collapse.

Crop rotation and regular check to remove infected plants can help to minimize this disease.

Botrytis Leaf Blight

An organism known as Botrytis squamosa is responsible for this fungal disease in most onion grown areas. It causes white leaf spots that result in leaf blighting. (Source)

Natural pesticides and pulling infected plants is the best to avoid the spread of this disease.

How to Preserve Bunching Onions?

It’s easy to grow bunching onions in your garden around the year. So, how do you preserve them?

  • After harvesting green onions, chop the leaves into small rings after drying them for a couple of days.
  • Fill the small container with these chopped bunching onions and freeze them.
  • You can also use a glass bottle to preserve these leaves. Whenever you need them, just take the container off the freezer and wash them before adding to your cuisine.
  • Dried bunching onions can be used for months if not for years.

By end of this write-up you might understand that growing bunching onions in containers and preserving them is a cinch.