Onion bolting

Posted by Simon Landwojtowicz on

Onion bolting (seeding) is a natural process that occurs when the plant is under stress.

While we gardeners may enjoy the beauty and taste of our plants, we mustn’t forget that the plant’s sole purpose is to reproduce. When you notice your onion has flower buds, you know Mother Nature’s whimsy has put the plant in panic mode — Help! Help! I’m going to die!

The plant’s genetically coded response is to reproduce as quickly as possible and that means flowering! There are several possible reasons your onion has flower buds before it should.

Since onions are planted early in the growing season, it’s common in some areas to have a cold snap. Those few days of cold weather can send your more mature plants into panic mode — fall has arrived! I must see that my onion has flower buds before I die! A more common cause of onion bolting is the hot, dry weather of summer — my home has become an oven and I’m dying of thirst!
So, how do you keep onions from bolting? Don’t let onions flower! Protect your plants from those early season cold snaps by covering them. Keep your plants well-watered during heat waves. Not only will your onions appreciate the drink, but the evaporation of surface water will also help cool the air around your plants. The best way to keep onions from bolting is to keep them from stress.

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