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Allium cepa

Botanical Name: Allium cepa

Common Name(s): Onions



There are two types of onions: bulb onions, which come in various shapes, sizes and colours, and are used, raw or cooked, in dishes and salads; and spring onions (also called green onions or scallions), which are grown for their leaves and white stems and used mainly in salads and in Oriental cuisine.

Family: Alliaceae

Synonym: Allium ascalonicum

Botanical Pronunciation: AL-ee-um KEP-uh

Semi Frost Hardy
Non Indigenous
Full Sun
Moderate Watering

Common Pests and Diseases

Pests: Thrips.Diseases include mildew (during wet weather), pink rot, storage rot.




Bulb onions take six to eight months to mature. The bulbs are ready to pull when the leaf tops dry out and fall over. Store harvested bulbs in a well-ventilated, dry place. One 5m-row of bulb onions should yield enough for a family of four. Sow every four weeks in season.

Interesting Info

Bulb onions are a winter crop.

Onions are packed with vitamins and minerals like, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folic acid, beta carotene, sulphur and quercetin. The onion has been a source of respected medication for thousands of years.

Interesting Planting Ideas

Plant onions under apple trees, it will keep apple scab away.

Plant spring onions under roses, fruit trees and vines, it will trap black aphids and white fly.

Plant near beetroot, cabbages, carrots, chamomile, fruit trees, kale, lettuce, peppers, roses, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes and vines.

Don't plant near beans or peas.




Planting Instructions

Sow seeds for bulb onions in trays, a seedbed or in the open. Cover with 60mm of fine soil after sowing.Seedlings emerge within 10 to14 days.Do not plant seedlings too deep.Space bulb onions 70mm apart in rows.


Propagate by seed, sow seed in trays and transplant 70 mm apart when seedlings are about 60 mm high.


300 mm high

Soil Conditions

It thrives in sandy loam soil, well dressed with compost and manure.


Onions are used, raw or cooked, in soups, stews, meat, poultry dishes, and in salads.

Onions can be used to make an insect spray.

Medicinal uses - Onions contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E. They are a natural antibiotic, they boost the immune system, cleans the blood, flush kidneys, fight infections, reduce spasm and they are a natural antispasmodic. Onions help clear cholesterol, remove heavy metals from blood and kill parasites within the body. Onion juice can be used to treat cuts and grazes, even to soothe bee and wasp stings.


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