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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.

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

  1. Once upon a time, i too, planted my own spring onions… :)

    Your spring onion is very prosperous looking!

  2. woh, I didn’t know that! I always throw away onions/garlic that grows green stuff.

  3. These are really good tips! I always buy a pack of spring onions and waste half of it as I don’t finish them in time before they turn yellow. Likewise, sometimes it happens for my ginger and onions.

    Now I know I can try to plant them!

  4. The spring onions or scallions sold here in US comes with the roots too, the white part. I just cut them and put it in water or soil and the greens will shoot out too. I have eaten a lot of scallions from just replanting the scallions I bought.

  5. LOL this reminds me of what i did when i was young. I used to place small onions that would sit nicely on top (so that the water is not exposed) of those old containers (meant to hold camera films rolls) filled with water. The roots will start growing first then i will see spring onions after a while! :D Well then again i just grew it for fun, i threw it away eventually :X

  6. Thank you! I just planted my red onion that had “sprouted” when I put it in my “recycling” bowl. I was wondering HOW I should plant it – so I just dug a whole, used my miracle grow – and then found your site! Exactly what I was looking for – the pictures were helpful and so were your comments!

  7. that happend to me too but i’ve still let them planted for 2 months and it sprouted a flower on the tip of the leaves

  8. Can I know what fertilizer you use for mint. Do spring onions need fertilizers too? If yes what kind? I have the usual red liquid food fertilizer which I wonder whether it can be used on these plants too? Thanks

  9. Only recently have I seen the term Spring Onion called for in recipes online. After some looking I have leaned that Scallions and Spring Onions are two different plants. A Scallion’s bulb is straight while a Spring Onion’s bulb is round and looks like
    a small white onion and that’s exactly what a Spring Onion is a baby White Onion!
    I suppose a Red Onion could be grown as a Spring Onion provided it was grown from seed. However, the Red Onion in the photo is too mature for a Spring Onion.

  10. You have confused your types of onions.

    Spring onion, Scallion, Green onion, Salad onion = long thin type with no bulb.
    These terms are interchangeable depending on region etc, but all refer to the type of long onion without bulb. Here is a picture of this kind http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/images/food_16x9_608/foods/s/spring_onion_16x9.jpg

    You have pictured an onion with a bulb, which is definitely not any of the above kinds.
    A shallot is a small onion that looks like this.

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