Did We Just Accidentally Prove Green Onions Are Perennial To Zone 3? (Video)

Our minds have been officially bent beyond reason. Up is down, east is west, the impossible is possible. Has anyone, either purposefully or accidentally, overwintered an onion outdoors in subarctic conditions? That appears to be what has happened in this case, accidentally.

The snow is just starting to recede on our raised beds. We were a little shocked to see an onion looking thing apparently all ready growing through the snow. Based on our plan last year, and lack of a substantial onion bulb, we think this might be a green onion, a welsh variety that is known to be perennial in some places. In a million years, I’d never have expected them to be hardy down to zone 3, though?!?! I guess I had never checked, really, it was just something that “seemed” out of reach in subarctic climates. Now, if these were Egyptian walking onions or chives, I would not be doing the surprised pikachu face right now. They are not.

It was such a shock I had to go back through our local temperature tracking, our coldest temperature was about 33 below zero this last winter. Albeit somewhat briefly. We hit around 20 below or a bit less quite a few times. Looking up the supposed hardiness of green onions, I’m finding typical statements stating welsh variety green onions are hardy to around zone 6 or so. That’s two solid zones above what our actual experience was this last winter. By all accounts, this accidentally left behind onion soldier *should* have perished.

I’m still not sure what to think of all this, so we are curious if you all have any thoughts. I’ve either grossly underestimated the insulative power of snow, we got some superfreak green onion genetics or the hardiness ratings for green onions are completely of their rocker.

We are of course going to let this grow out and see what comes of it. Heck, we might see if it can take a couple years. Might also try to reproduce the results in our perennial bed next year with one or two. I’d definitely go for some perennial green onions, especially if they’re harvestable right after the snow clears!

I’ll just be over here re-evaluating everything I thought I knew about growing. And showing true respect to the cold hardiness of the onion…

That’s All We Wrote!

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2 comments… add one
  • Shawn Pickard Mar 31, 2024 @ 13:19

    I have a bunch of them that I stuck in a flowerbed next to some chives because they were ratty from sitting in my fridge way too long. They have survived two winters in a row in NE Wisconsin.

    • Jeff Mar 31, 2024 @ 13:46

      Fantastic! We moved our perennialized onion last year into one of our perennial beds and are giving it a shot to come back again this year. Will be interesting to see, but they are surprisingly hardy!

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