QUESTION: I need to know whether the flowers on onion plants are poisonous. My kids play in the yard around the garden, and there are so many onion plants flowering there. — Vivian L.
ANSWER: Onion flowers are not poisonous. On the contrary, they are actually edible. However, if your onions are flowering too soon, they are bolting, and some gardeners say you should remove the flowers to prevent bolting.
Onion Flowers Are Edible
If it’s too late in the season to be worried about bolting or your onions have already flowered, you can eat the blossoms. The flowers have a pungent onion taste cut by sweetness. You’ll want to collect and eat the onion flowers before they dry out. Once they’ve dried, they’re only good to collect for seeds.
Collect Dried Onion Flowers For Seeds
If your onion flowers are dried and have a papery texture, it’s too late to eat them. However, you can still get some use out of the flowers by collecting them for seeds. Each of the flowers is home to several small black seeds.
You can tell when the flowers have dried without even touching them because they lose their color completely. Trim dried flowers where the stem meets the soil. Shake the flower into the paper bag or envelope you are using to collect seeds until the flower has released all its seeds.
Prevent Early Bolting By Removing Seeds
If your onions are flowering too early in the season, especially if the weather is hot, your plants are probably bolting. After a plant has bolted, it is no longer good to eat, so you want to avoid this happening if you can.
First, avoid the stress that leads to bolting by keeping your plants hydrated well during any hot periods or droughts. Cover them to keep them safe from cold weather early in the season. Stress is the number one reason that plants start bolting early.
If you see that an onion has flower buds early in the season, it’s time to take action. Start by snipping off the part of the plant that is flowering. Then make sure to harvest the onion that was flowering next in your garden, and eat it quickly. This will prevent the bulb from splitting, as they do when they have bolted. Keep a close eye on your garden for onions prone to bolting, as they can be ruined if left to their own devices.
As you’ve learned, onion flowers are not poisonous, and they are actually edible. Onion flowers are also where the plant’s seeds are housed. However, if you’re seeing flowers too early in the season, this means your onions have bolted, and you should take action to save them before they become inedible.