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Publication #HS633

Onion, Potato—Allium cepa L. (Aggregatum group)1

James M. Stephens2

The potato onion is also known as multiplier onion. This type forms a cluster of underground bulbs of irregular shape. One of the larger bulbs in a cluster might be from 2 to over 3 inches in diameter, although most are smaller. The thick skin is coppery yellow in color.

Figure 1. 

Potato onions


Rainer Haessner, CC BY-SA 3.0

[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]


The potato onion rarely produces seeds, so it is propagated by the small bulblets or bulbs, which are formed underground. When a strong bulb is planted it forms a number of smaller bulblets, each with a leafy top. However, a weak bulb generally grows into a single large bulb.

The culture is similar to that for regular onions. Space 4 to 6 inches to allow for the clumps to form. It is suggested that bulbs be planted as for green onions during the period September through March in Florida.


Pull individual green onions as soon as the bulbs are large enough for eating. Green immature onions may be used fresh like any type of bunching onion. More mature bulbs may be used in cooking after the outer scales are removed.



This document is HS633, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 1994. Revised September 2015. Visit the EDIS website at


James M. Stephens, professor emeritus, Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.