Onion (Perennial) Growing Guide

Allium fistulosum

Onion (Perennial)

Crop Rotation Group

Allium (Onion family) 


Any average, well drained soil.


Full sun to partial afternoon shade.

Frost tolerant

Multiplying onions and other perennial strains are typically hardy to -15C (-26F) when given a protective winter mulch.


Mix a balanced organic fertiliser into the soil before planting a new bed.


Often grouped with other perennials.


Single Plants: 15cm (5") each way (minimum)
Rows: 15cm (5") with 15cm (5") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Start with purchased bulblets or corms, set out 10 to 6 weeks before your first autumn frost, or in early autumn.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Most perennial onions grow vigorously in early spring and die back in midsummer. These interesting yet variable plants resemble shallots more than other onions.


Harvest bulblets from topsetting onions and use them as pearl onions in the kitchen. When plants die back, cured roots often yield a small shallot. In spring or autumn, you can cut off small divisions for use as spring onions.


In autumn move perennial onions to a fresh location to avoid problems with onion root maggots, which are attracted by decomposing onion tissues.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Onion (Perennial)