Do bulbing bunching onions multiply like non-bulbing ones and potato onions, do?

According to one source, there is a non-bulbing variety that does multiply (and is a perennial): the He Shi Ko bunching onion. I have yet to find such a source about bulbing types.

High Mowing Seeds establishes that bunching onions (not particularly bulbing ones) are hardy perennials that are for some reason usually grown as annuals, but it does not say if or how often they generally multiply.

Another source says that technically the non-bulbing ones are bienniels, but people often refer to them as perennials because they multiply, leaving a continual supply. So, are the bulbing ones the same in these regards?

1 Answer 1


I contacted Baker Creek to find the answer (since they grow both of the varieties I referenced in the links: Crimson Forest and He Shi Ko; He Shi Ko isn't the bulbing type, though—just Crimson Forest, although it may not have large bulbs).

They said both varieties multiply at the base (and are both winter hardy perennials down to zone 3).

So, it sounds like bulbing bunching onions (at least Crimson Forest) multiply like potato onions, and thus should be a less expensive alternative, whether or not they produce bulbs that are quite as large (I'm guessing they don't). So, if you want a bigger multiplying onion, I'd go for such as the Green Mountain Multiplier onion or the Yellow Potato Onion.

Just as a note, I am growing Crimson Forest (I direct-seeded seeds in the spring). They did bulb, but they're not big onions, so far (and I imagine they'll perhaps be about like shallots in size next year and thereafter). They are still alive and green (in southwestern Idaho) as of 11 Nov 2016. Hopefully, I'll get to see how they do next year (how big they get and how much they multiply). The seeds I planted came from reimerseeds.com, if it makes a difference.

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