Allium fistulosum

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Robert Pavlis

Allium fistulosum, by Robert Pavlis

Allium fistulosum is a perennial onion that is good to eat and makes a great garden plant. It has many common names but the most common are welsh onion or Japanese bunching onion. “Welsh” is a corruption of the German “Walsch,” meaning “foreign,” and has no reference to Wales.

Allium fistulosum, by Robert Pavlis
Allium fistulosum, by Robert Pavlis

This plant makes very thick round stems that are hollow (“fistulosum” means “hollow”) and a bluish-green color.

Allium fistulosum flower, by Robert Pavlis
Allium fistulosum flower, by Robert Pavlis

The flowers develop very slowly, giving you a show for a good part of the summer. The buds are very unique looking for a perennial plant and stand out nicely in your garden. As they slowly open over several days the greenish white flowers emerge from their paper thin covering. Even the seed heads are attractive.

Allium fistulosum bud, by Robert Pavlis
Allium fistulosum bud, by Robert Pavlis

As a vegetable they can be harvested all summer long. Pull up what you need and replant the rest.

Allium fistulosum

(AL-lee-um fist-yoo-LOW-sum)

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 45 cm (1.5 ft)

Bloom Time: mid summer

Natural Range: not known in the wild; probably from Asia (Siberia or China)

 Habitat: Unknown

Synonyms: none

Cultivation of Allium fistulosum

Light: full sun or part shade

Soil: normal, well draining soil, pH 7-9

Water: drought tolerant, but prefers regular watering

 USDA Hardiness Zone: 5– 9

Propagation: division in spring, comes true from seed

Other Great Alliums

Allium moly  

Allium moly closeup
Allium moly closeup

Allium thunbergii ‘Ozawa’

Allium thunbergii Ozawa closeup
Allium thunbergii Ozawa closeup

Allium karataviense ‘Ivory Queen’

Allium karataviense 'Ivory Queen' clump
Allium karataviense ‘Ivory Queen’ clump
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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

3 thoughts on “Allium fistulosum”

  1. I have a pretty cool species that seemed to become lost more and more over the decades. I started with 7 bulbs of the species my grandpa grew as a child. Its been roughly 8 years now and i have over a million growing in our field. They do not produce seed, but multiply like wild fire once established. My website is http://www.multiplyingonion.com if you’d like to check it out. From my research there was never a name given to them and very little know about their origin. I would like to hear your thoughts. I put in my email address if you have time to respond. Thank you

    Reply
  2. I feel that I, too, am a plantoholic who resides I Southern Ontario. Your site is great, and I’m interested in the Allium Fistulosum becoming part of my perennial vegetable garden. Could you tell me where I can get one? Preferably close to the GTA, so my husband will agree to it. Thank you so much for the information on soil testing as well.

    Reply

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