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How to Grow Spring Onions (Scallions)

How to Grow Spring Onions
Filed Under: Growing Edibles How-To

How to Grow Spring Onions

Update (Jan 2014): First posted in Feb 2011, now updated with new photos.

Check Out: How to Grow Coriander

Even though I consider myself pretty hopeless in gardening (no modesty here, I killed MANY plants over the years), spring onions are what I grow on a regular basis. They are just so easy to grow! You only need soil, shallots and lots of sun. They are grown without fertilizer, pesticides or chemicals. May I say they are organic? Most people will probably throw away aged sprouted shallots but I am so happy to see them – I knew that they were the perfect candidates for growing spring onions. Here’s a step-by-step photo guide for growing your own spring onions.

A note about terminology. Most places use the terms ‘spring onion’ & ‘scallion’ interchangeably. However, some make a distinction between the two – scallions do not have a bulb whereas spring onions do, though both belong to the onion family. Going by this definition, the spring onion sold in Singapore will be more accurately termed scallions BUT we always call them spring onions here. In the post title, I’m using the terms interchangeably. If there is any terminology disparity, it is just how different countries term them.

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How to grow spring onions
 Shallots For the uninitiated, spring onions are grown from shallots (small red onions). These are regular unsprouted shallots that are typically used in cooking.
How to Grow Spring Onions (Sprouted Shallots) Sometimes we have sprouted shallots in the pantry and they are actually the easiest and fastest for growing spring onions because the process has already started. You can try asking the vegetable grocer at the wet market if they can give you some sprouted shallots since they will be discarded anyway. The bulb is actually the food for the plant, so the bigger the bulb, the better your spring onions will grow.  The bulb will shrink over time as the shoots absorb the nutrients from the bulb.
How to Grow Spring Onions In a pot of soil, plant to submerge the shallots, leaving some space between each shallot.
How to Grow Spring Onions This is what my pot of spring onions looked like after 6 days. If you are growing from unsprouted shallots, they will take longer.
How to Grow Spring Onions This is what my pot of spring onions looked like after 10 days. I have started to cut them for use.
How to Grow Spring Onions At about 20 days, I harvested the spring onions to keep in the fridge. At this point in time, even if you don’t harvest them, they will start to wither in the pot, so it is better to harvest when they are still looking good. As for the bulbs in the soil, I discarded them. If you don’t discard, they will continue to sprout from where you cut and baby shallots will sprout in the soil – but to me, the process is long-drawn and messy, so I prefer to grow new spring onions by repeating the process.
How to Grow Spring Onions This is where I place my pot of spring onions. As you can see it’s a pretty sunny spot. At this location, my potted plants get the direct morning sun. This is the only edible plant which I did not add fertilizer since the spring onions get their food from the bulbs; but if you like to, you can add a tsp of organic fertilzer every fortnight.

P.S. I don’t know much about gardening. I’m simply growing them (mainly edibles such as mint and coriander) so that they can come in handy for my cooking and photo shoots. I am sharing my successful gardening projects to share with those who are interested to grow their own foods. Therefore, I apologize in advance for not being able to give any good advice on plant care, except for what type of conditions worked for me.

66 comments on “How to Grow Spring Onions (Scallions)”

  1. I’ve never grown them, if you’re asking me. Sorry…can’t help with that. I grow the usual lettuces, chives, garlic, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers…but for more exotic items, I have to defer to the grocers in my area.

  2. I wish I could plant something but I don’t have a garden or even space for it.. I hope to grow my own colourful vegetables next time ;)

  3. Recently we learned from our Korean neighbor who had a trough of spring onions on the balcony. She said she buys spring onions from the market, use the top part and planted the bottom part with the roots and they grow just like that. Isn’t it wonderful to eat the top part and plant the bottom part, nothing go to waste. We tried it and it is growing. Need watering everyday.

  4. Wiffy, how fun watching the springs come out…I plant the green onions that I buy at the market, buy inserting the roots in the soil and always have fresh green onions :-) Will have to try with onion as well.

  5. Now you’ve tempted me to grow my own spring onions! Very useful plant to have around the house, definitely.

  6. What a coincidence! I grow my own spring onions too! I used to buy from the local supermarket but I don’t finish them so 70% goes into the bin. Now I grow my own, cut whatever amount I want, no waste. I started off with shallot growing but the spring onions were too thin to withstand the strong wind. Now I use big onions.

  7. Thanks for the step by step photos, I definitely do not have a green thumb :) but I agree it’s useful to grow edibles at home.

  8. Great sharing!
    When I buy scallions or spring onions back home, I often cut the roots with the stem above and plant them in soil, then cook and eat the green leaves first. After a few days I could eat some more grown from the pots. Double what I bought.

  9. You’re too humble. I have zero knowledge about plant care and don’t have green fingers on planting as well. :( Currently our flat is under major upgrading work. Hopefully when the work is over, I will give it a try. ;_

  10. Your spring onions look great! I do the same with cloves of garlic. After planting them, they grow nice green shoots that can be used like chives.

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