Plant of the Month for June, 2012

A fistulosum header
Allium fistulosum

 (AL-lee-um fist-yoo-LOW-sum)

General Information:

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.

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Allium fistulosum; photo by Robert Pavlis

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

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Allium fistulosum bud; photo by Robert Pavlis

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Allium fistulosum flower; photo by Robert Pavlis

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

          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


Light:f ull 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.  

Seedex availability (ORG&HPS annual Seed Exchange): available regularly 

Sow @ 20°C. Seed germinates within 3 months.

Robert Pavlis