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Minogue onions from Seed

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  • Minogue onions from Seed

    Robert Brenchley ( http://thisandthat-robert.blogspot.c...and-leeks.html ) sent in Minogue seeds to A4A's Seed Circle (2015) They are also known as Pearl onion (Perlzwiebel), allium porrum var. sectivum. Interestingly they usually multiply vegetatively, by offshoots/smaller bulbs forming. But Robert was lucky enough to have his plants flower and was able to save seeds.

    I'm not sure how closely they will follow the parent, but fun to find out and it's going to be interesting watching them grow and establish.

    Germination was good and they are growing on well.

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by jayb; 24-04-2016, 10:25.

  • #2
    Same here, they were planted out about a month ago. Haven't grown much but they seem established and will hopefully take off soon. Far too early to really notice differences between the plants and between these and the Minogue plants in the garden. I am hopeful that there will be some that will really be much bigger than the Minogues from plants.

    However, late last autumn I separated a clump and planted with 5 inches between each plant and those have grown much larger than any I had before. If the seedlings don't give a 'large' Minogue, the well-spaced ones can be used like leeks in spring. I have another patch with Minogues I separated and replanted in March, but they aren't as big yet.

    The seedlings are growing about 5 inches apart - should allow them to grow into biggish plants, if the genetics in them allows.

    I would like to select for larger plants with fewer off-sets if possible. 4-5 per plant would be ideal. Enough to replant but not the crowded clumps and smallish plants that we get with Minogues.

    I have been given a multiplier leek by goodlife. That one is supposed to have offsets, but so far all I have is leeks. The small leek plants I got have grown into substantial leek plants, but they haven't grown offsets. Maybe these Minogues from seeds will have one or two plants that would fall into the small multiplier leek category, rather than the flat-leafed spring onion category?

    We'll find out.

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    • #3
      My Minogues have flowers coming! There are four flower spikes (I'm sure there must be a proper name for them but I don't know it) and I was really surprised to see them. But how exciting!

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      • jayb
        jayb commented
        Editing a comment
        Nice one

      • Silverleaf
        Silverleaf commented
        Editing a comment
        I know, right? No idea what's triggered it but I'm very happy!

    • #4
      That is rare. I never had them flowering. A bud once on a scape, but I didn't let it flower because I had flowering leek at the time. Fab.

      The multiplying leek from goodlife has not been multiplying, but I noticed 5 scapes developing - that's odd, it isn't supposed to flower.

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      • #5
        Oh, I hadn't thought about them crossing - I have Welsh onions next to them which are just about to burst into flower, but perhaps they'll be finished before the Minogue flowers actually open?

        Mind you, the walking onion is a hybrid of the Welsh onion with the common onion, so perhaps a new Welsh Minogue hybrid could be really interesting (if it's possible).

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        • #6
          Yes I did not let them flower, then got advice from HSL that provided alliums are different species (ie have different latin names) there was no risk of crossing anyway. I needn't have bothered. On the other hand if the walking onion is a hybrid of two different species, who knows which wider crosses might work with Minogue.

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          • #7
            I don't think HSL are right there because hybrids of different species have clearly happened. Perhaps it's just extremely unlikely? There are certainly studies involving hybrids.

            As a general rule, hybrids are usually sterile because of incompatible chromosome numbers. The mule (horse x donkey) is a good animal example. I assume walking onions only reproduce vegetatively, so sterility wouldn't matter there at all.

            Do we know what species Minogue is? It has flat leaves like a leek...

            Comment


            • Silverleaf
              Silverleaf commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks! Just looked them up on Wikipedia, which says pearl onions are A. ampeloprasum var. sectivum, and leeks are A. ampeloprasum var. porrum. That looks very much to me like they are varieties of the same species, so pearl onions and leeks could hybridise I think.

              Not that I have any flowering leeks, but if leeks and pearl onions crossed that could be very interesting!

            • Galina
              Galina commented
              Editing a comment
              The species names are confusing. Why do different sources give different names? Yes they might just possibly cross.

              On the other hand there may be great size diversity in the Minogues from seed and we might get a leek-like one that way. On the other hand my Wild Leeks will hopefully 'do the biz' for me eventually, with seeds/offsets to share, that would already be the best of both worlds.

            • Silverleaf
              Silverleaf commented
              Editing a comment
              I think botanists often just don't agree, and of course there's new research all the time and older sources aren't necessarily updated.

              Your wild leeks sound really interesting, hopefully another good perennial for the collection!

          • #8
            Maybe not now, but if minogues flower more often than supposed, they might meet some flowering leeks sometime in the future. Or perhaps you'll spot some leek stems around the area, might be worth trying one in a jug of water?

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            • #9
              A couple of my Minogue's from seed are substantially fatter than they normally are, yet they still multiply. Here is a photo of one of the fatter plants with wider leaves, which are almost halfway between Minogue onions and leeks.
              Last edited by Galina; 15-10-2016, 00:35.

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              • #10
                Another "new" thing with Minogue is top bulbils. I have one plant that produces them. Last year I noticed for the first time that one of the seed heads had a lot of bulbils in it. I raised this in a forum and got told that leeks that have problems with flowering do this sort of thing, which I knew from leeks. And multiplier onion Minogue is a bit like a leek. I sort of accepted that that particular flower head must have been compromised to produce bulbils instead of seeds. Fast forward a year and the same thing happened again. Two seed heads from the same bunch that last year produced bulbils, did it again. On a seed head which also produced lots of seed. So clearly not a compromised seed head.

                I have been wondering whether it may just possibly be a cross between Minogue and Walking onion. But the other characteristics are not like walking onions. I took the bulbils last years and planted them up. But something happened with that pot and the bulbils never graduated to plants. I will try again of course.

                I do not know what the benefit of topsetting Minogues might be, as they readily multiply both by seeds and by offsets, but when one plant (or in this case clump) does something that the others do not, it piques my interest. Who else still grows Minogue and would like to comment?

                As leek substitutes they are getting better every time I select them. I would still not call them a small leek, but we are getting there with a bit more selective breeding. This is better by sexual reproduction, in other words, growing from seeds.

                Perhaps I am wasting my time looking at these bulbils, but they just shout "different" at me.

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                • #11
                  Very interesting and yes leeks will produce bulbils/grass occasionally along with seed, but usually, the flowers are purposefully removed to push the plant to produce bulbs. In this case, I wonder if they are showing they are happy so no pressure to reproduce in a certain manner or perhaps the seed-grown plants are reinvigorated to select multiple methods? How big are the bulbils you are getting?

                  Sadly I'm no longer growing Minogues, through no fault of theirs.

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                  • #12
                    They are not big the size of a rice corn or smaller. Reinvigoration because of sexual reproduction from seeds. This could be. After all I am hoping for reinvigoration with regards of size, but the plants may have other ideas. And it is only the one clump. We expect differences in F2s and F3s of everything else, so why not in this characteristic. You have put your finger right on it Jayb.

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                    • #13
                      A leaf broke off my Minogue while I was rummaging around today. So I chopped it up and made scrambled eggs. First time tasting - I very much enjoyed the flavour, more savoury and less 'green' than a leek, but not quite the profile of onions either. Absolutely delicious.

                      Now I must wait patiently for it to divide. Any insight on triggering it to flower? Could do with a few more (dozens) of these!

                      Comment


                      • Galina
                        Galina commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Glad you like them. A dozen extra you will easily get from a standard multiply. Flowers are much rarer. Digging up a plant when you notice that is has multiplied and detaching the babies and planting them a little way apart, 3 or 4 inches is the easiest way to get more plants. They can get crowded and do benefit from detaching and spacing.

                      • Galina
                        Galina commented
                        Editing a comment
                        The biggest plants with the fattest stems are more likely to flower. So spacing them could help there too.

                      • triffid
                        triffid commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Good to know it won't take too long

                    • #14
                      Originally posted by jayb View Post

                      Sadly I'm no longer growing Minogues, through no fault of theirs.
                      Have not yet posted your oca, would you like me to include a few Minogue roots?

                      Comment


                      • jayb
                        jayb commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Minogues are settling in, the only one that may not make it is the very smallest, I'm afraid.
                        But I'm having an encouraging chat with them most days!

                      • Galina
                        Galina commented
                        Editing a comment
                        It really was the dregs I still found I am afraid rather than good plants. Plenty elsewhere next time if these were just too frail to make it. A good plant can be 1cm diameter easily and these are a couple of mm at best. Just a very last minute addition.

                      • jayb
                        jayb commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Dregs or not, they are doing well (except for the little one) I'm really pleased with them, I'll try and take a picture next week.

                    • #15
                      A bit of a delay with the picture but I took this yesterday, the three remaining Minogues are looking good and certainly growing well in their pot. They still don't have a permanent spot yet as I'm still working on the beds.
                      I'm not 100% but their looks to be a very small new leaf growing near the bulb in the front, although it might just be a grass seedling!

                      Click image for larger version

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