Allium cepa



Large bulbs with 4-6 hollow, cylindrical leaves. Flowers are umbells with large pedicels. Pale green perianth.


Most onions are harvested when the foliage has died down. Some varieties, such as Spring Onions, are picked while the foliage is still edible. Bulbs can be stored in a cool dry position. Used in many different dishes. Can be eaten cooked or raw. Vegetable.


Preferred temperature range is 13-25 degrees C. Requires a relatively dry situation - low humidity, good drainage and few irrigations. Friable soil will promote large bulbs. Will respond better to organic fertilisers than slow release fertilisers. Requires high levels of nitrogen and potassium, and a pH of 6-7.


Propagated by seed and division of bulbs. It may be easier to grow seedlings rather than direct sowing seeds.


There are many hundreds of onion types available including brown, white, yellow, purple and red varieties - each with many cultivars within the variety.

Plant Health

Can suffer from aphis, thrip, maggots and cutworms. Encourage air movement around the foliage to reduce fungal problems.

More info

'Home Vegetable Growing' and 'Commercial Vegetable Production' courses through Australian Correspondence Schools, see 'Commercial Hydroponics' on CDROM from Australian Correspondence Schools, see