The Difference Between Onion Sets and Onion Plants

March 15, 2018 6:48 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Onions are a staple in many households due to their widely applicable flavors in soups, salads and other recipes. There are numerous varieties of onions—such as red, white and yellow—that grow to many sizes and can be used for different purposes.

If you are new to onion planting, it’s crucial that you understand the different ways onions can be planted and when planting should begin. Due to their biennial (or two-year-long) growing process, onions can be a bit tricky to figure out when first starting out. The staff at our plant nursery in Topeka, KS is always prepared to answer any questions you may have about planting and growing onions, but here is a short guide to get you started.

The onion growing process

The first thing to note about planting onions is that they grow over the course of two years. In the first season, onions will grow from a seed to a plant and then a dormant bulb. After a period of cold temperatures, onion bulbs will grow and flower in the second season.

Onions are cool-season crops that prefer colder temperatures. Most often, onions will be planted in early spring and harvested in late fall.

Planting from seeds, sets or transplants

If you were to go to a plant nursery in Topeka, KS to purchase a means of growing onions, you would be faced with three choices: onion seeds, sets or transplants. Each of these options is different in terms of the life cycle of onions and will produce differing results.

Onion seeds are, of course, seeds that have not begun to grow. Seeds should be planted as early as possible in the spring during cooler weather and will follow the traditional two-year life cycle from seed to bulb, then to flower the following season.

Onion sets are different—these are small bulbs harvested prematurely from the first year of an onion’s life cycle and stored through winter. Sets are easy to find and plant, but typically yield smaller onions and are more often used to produce green onions than larger bulb onions. Because sets are in the second year of the onion’s life cycle, they are more likely to bolt, or grow a flower from the center of the bulb.

Onion transplants, on the other hand, are onion seedlings started in the current growing season. You can purchase onion transplants from a plant nursery in Topeka, KS and plant them in your garden at home to yield larger bulbs than you would receive from sets. Transplants are especially helpful to plant when outside temperatures are unpredictable, and are far less likely to bolt than sets.

Get onion planting advice from our plant nursery in Topeka, KS

Jackson’s Greenhouse & Garden Center, Inc. has provided customers with a vast array of gardening products for over 65 years. Our plant nursery grows our own annuals, perennials, vegetable plants and hanging baskets, and also imports tropical plants and other specialty products. We also offer landscaping supplies like mulch, sod and topsoil, and even provide premium gardening services and landscaping design to help your lawn and garden look its best. To learn more about our scope of products and services, give us a call today!

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