The Veg Plot

These onions were made for walking…

Egyptian walking onion seeds

We like strange veg. And there aren’t many stranger than the Egyptian walking onion. They start off looking like regular onions with a ground-based bulb and straight, narrow leaves. But it all goes a bit weird after that: they form a second set of bulbs AT THE TOP OF THE PLANT!

Eventually the weight of carrying these extra bulbs becomes too much for the spindly plant to bear, so it topples and new onions grow where the bulbs land. This is why they’re said to ‘walk’, although no-one seems sure what the Egyptians have to do with it…

Evidently this vegetable vagabond is a must for our plot, but getting hold of any proves rather tricky. We eventually tracked down some seeds on eBay from a seller in Finland, where they’re known as ‘air onions’.* We don’t really know how they’re meant to be sown so have started them off indoors as we would for regular onions. Let’s see if they end up walking…

*They’re a hybrid of the regular onion and welsh onion. And they have a vast number of aliases – here are a few we’re aware of…
• Allium x proliferum (Latin name)
• Tree onion
• Top onion
• Topsetting onion
• Winter onion
• Multiplier onion
• Catawissa onion
• Dancing gypsy onion
• Kitsune negi (Japanese for ‘mysterious foxy onion’)
• Beltsville bunching onion
• Garden rocambole
• Wakegi onion


  • How did yours get on? I planted these this year and didnt get many topsets, but I understand thats usually the case in first year plants.

    The ones I did get were very nice, and they really are a talking point on the plot, with old hands wandering up and solemnly saying “your onions have started to bolt”, to which one can only reply “no, theyre meant to do that!”

    • Mine all grew very well, but I moved house in the summer and they came with me. I haven’t had a chance to plant them out so they’re still in pots. The dog has taken to using them as his toilet but they seem to be just about hanging on in there. They’ll get some proper care next year. Meanwhile the ones I offloaded to a mate are thriving…

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