Sunday, April 24, 2011

Identifying Garlic and Onion Plants

At first glance, onions and garlic plants look alike. I always have some coming up in the spring that I didn't plant in the fall - I just didn't dig them up good enough - or in the case of my onions, I have walking onions that plant themselves from the top bulbs. It is helpful to know which are which.

Above is a garlic plant. You can tell it is garlic because the leaves are flat.

This is an onion plant - you can tell because the leaves are round instead of flat.

I remember being confused about this and once it was pointed out to me, it was a duh moment.

So there you have it - if you didn't know how to tell them apart before, you do now.


RandomGardener said...

Are walking onions storable for long? What about garlic? I have onions and garlic too. Not sure how long they can be stored over winter.

Kathi said...

Walking onions are not a good storage onion - but they are fun to grow because they replant themselves.

Garlic will store all winter. Just let it dry out and then store it at room temp - not in the fridge.

RandomGardener said...

Ok, here's a silly question(again!) Garlic from grocery stores never last for long, either they rot or sprout, so is home grown garlic different in its storage? Thanks!

Kathi said...

Hmmm, you know, I don't know. I don't buy store bought so I guess I didn't know that. Between what I grow and what I get in my CSA box, it lasts the winter for me.

The only time I find it sprouting is in the spring when it wants to be planted - and then I do just that with it.

Sorry I can't be of more assistance with that question.

RandomGardener said...

I didn't know you could plant garlic in the spring! I researched online, and for our zone 4, it seems the best time is fall. I'm a newbie gardener, so I just planted one bulb last fall and they've all come up. How big does your garlic get and when do you harvest them? Thx.

Kathi said...

Fall is the preferred time to plant it, but it can be planted in the spring as well - it just won't grow as big of bulbs. Fall planted bulbs grow much larger.

The bulb sizes I get vary from very small to large.

You harvest after the tops die back just like onions.

Anonymous said...

Hello...I need some help to identify what I thought was a garlic plant. It was given to me when it was about 2 feet tall last fall. I planted it and it made it through a very harsh Michigan winter. This spring and into early summer it thrived. When it got about 3 feet tall, it sprouted these curly looking bulbs on top. After reading your post on how to tell the difference between garlic and onions, I now think it is an onion because the leaves are round; like a giat scallion. What sprouted looks just like a shallot. It even has the same pinkish color. I looked up shallots and what I read said it grows in the ground. This grew from the top of the plant. I'm beyond curious as to what it is now. PLEASE someone help me. I won't rest until I identify this plant. Thank you in advance!

Kathi said...

Egyptian Walking Onion is my best guess.

Leslie Lim said...

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Martha Hayes said...

I have a plant that has flat leaves but bulb like a onion. The bulb has "bumps" under the skin like baby onions. Any ideas. This first came up in a flower bed of a house I rented so don't know source.