Wild onions

Asked April 27, 2020, 10:49 AM EDT

How do I quickly, easily and permanently eradicate wild onions from my perennial garden? I’m an organic gardener and have tried digging them out but it’s very easy to miss the small bulb-etts. They come right back. In frustration I resorted to Round Up which only kicked the tops and took much longer than the container implied. When that failed I tried digging again only this time putting stump killer in the hole. It worked except for the bulb-etts that were missed. The stump killer leached through the soil and killed my nearby hostas. I have a fresh new large crop this year. I hope you have a viable solution as I’m at a loss. Also, I have Caltha palustrus and it has become invasive. I’ve been digging but have the same problems as I do with the wild onions. Thank you for your advice.

Kalamazoo County Michigan

1 Response


Since you have dug them, have you tried screening the soil? Make a screen out of hardware cloth( a ¼ inch mesh of heavy wire available at hardware stores).

This reply to another client has some good ideas


The link in that answer is broken so, here is the article - https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/wild-garlic-wild-onion-2/

As you know, a ”once and done” approach won’t work. Repeated treatments will be necessary especially if seed has been allowed to spread.

For the marsh marigold, Caltha palustris, make sure you don’t actually have lesser celadine, Ficaria verna, a very invasive plant. The biggest difference in the two is the roots- celadine has small tubers


Picture of lesser celadine tubers here, and some control tips--


If marsh marigold is what you do have, let the soil dry out and keep it aerated. Marsh marigold prefers wet sites. Pull any unwanted plants- using gloves as some people’s skin is irritated by this plant.