Seed Sense: Allium Cross Pollination

by Lauren Waddington

10373498_10152584921312661_294789312417972612_nWe get some pretty seedy questions on our Facebook page. We'll share our answers to the most popular ones here on our blog. If you have more suggestions to add to our answer, please feel free to leave a comment below

Lately, we've been receiving quite a few questions about cross-pollination.

Q: Do you know if alliums of different types can cross? I've got leeks, onions and shallots all forming seed heads. They can't cross with each other, right? Thanks!

A: Cross pollination does depend on whether the alliums are in the same species or not. Onions and shallots will cross pollinate with each other as they are both in the species Allium cepa, but leeks are of a different species, Allium ampeloprasum, so they should be fine. If your onions and shallots are already flowering, then unfortunately, it is already too late to keep them from crossing. If one or both have not flowered yet, then (unless they're planted at least a mile apart) you have to make a choice about which variety to save seed from, and bag or dispose of the flowers of the other variety. Sorry!

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