Breeding between shallots and onions? Anyone have ever tried that?

Hi everyone,

Has anyone have ever tried to cross a shallots (Allium cepa var. ascalonicum) and an onion (Allium cepa).

I now have in my cold cellar 2 varieties of onions (Parma Gold and Rosa DI Milano) about 100 of each, and over a hundred shallots (Val-aux-vents). It’s a french shallots bred and selected by a breeder in Québec, Canada.

What do you think about this idea? Thanks for your feedbacks and if you have some experiments to share with me it will be more than appreciate.

Roby (Québec-Canada)


It is easy to do, but regular onion traits will dominate. You lost almost all of the nesting trait in about two generations.

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So in your opinion, it is not worth investing time and energy in this project? Have you ever seen any interesting results on your side? What if at each generation I add a certain amount of shallot to my genetics? Just by curiosity…

It’s been 7 years now I grow commercially heirlooms varieties but I’m new into into the world of breeding and landraces, that’s why I have a lot of questions.

Thanks for your help by the way!

I’ll try to get my hands on a copy of your book.

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It is always worth exploring the possibilities. If you want onions that are a little bit like shallots, you will have a lot of success. If you want shallots that are a little bit like onions, it will be difficult. If you want an even mix of traits, it might be impossible, because they really want to be one or the other. If you are willing to accept a clonally propagated onion/shallot rather than a stable, seed propagated one, you will have more options.


A couple of the people with whom I have traded potato onion seeds were mixing shallot genetics into their project. It seems like a common practice. I haven’t witnessed any obviously shallot traits or even much in the way of diversity to come out of those mixes, but I’ve only grown their seeds one year and my own, three.

Interesting! It will be a fun game to observe the evolution of this landrace. Thanks for your help!

Interesting! I would like to find some potato onions seeds in Canada, I’ll do my research! Actually a lot of people during our markets asking for potato onion seeds, I thought it was the same as the perennial onion (Allium fistulosum) which we growing for a couple of years, but no.

Some companies sell the bulbs here in Canada but no true seeds. I contacted in Australia to see if he can ship to Canada. Thanks for your sharing!

Glad to see you here, Tom; welcome!

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Yes, welcome Tom, if you are who I think you are I’m still growing potato onions that I think I got from you, but it was several years ago, so not sure. I don’t remember if I started with seeds or bulbs, but they generally do make seeds.

I grow all of my onions together as well and some of my very old walking onions have been acting weird last few years with lots of flowers. Last year and the year before they did their best to make seeds, the little capsules swelled and stayed green, I’m sure there were seeds in there, but they dried up and aborted before fully maturing. I have the plants that did that best tagged and if they bloom like that again, I’m going to remove the bulbils.

What happened to Hatchet Jack?

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That is an impressive number of onions. I am envious.

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We are in abnormally dry category according to the US Drought Monitor but not bad at all with a bit of watering. What we have been missing most of June and so far in July is actual sunshine. An almost unbroken stretch of light clouds with, I guess a touch of wildfire smoke, is having an effect on plants in the garden and elsewhere. The couple of times actual full sunshine came out lots of stuff wilted in the afternoons. I don’t know how it is going to affect harvest.

On the plus side, peas and potatoes have done better than they have in years. Makes me wish I had planted a lot more of them.

Always interesting to hear about the differences in location. I have already harvested seed from some of my onions and the rest are soon to follow. I see the hover flies, some other tiny, triangle shaped fly, several different micro-bees, paper wasps, ants and even honeybees on my onion flowers.

I got ran out of my garden a few minutes ago by sudden arrival of intense lightening and cold rain.


That’s great. I just found a bag of potato onions in the cellar that I didn’t eat and didn’t spring-plant, so they’re coming up on a year out of the ground. They seem to be in more or less perfect condition. But I guess two years is the benchmark I should be looking to. :slight_smile:


During my recent visit to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, they fed me a [leek x garlic] hybrid.

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