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How to Grow Spring Onions (Scallions)

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.

Click on photo to view full size

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.

Leave a Comment

65 Responses to “How to Grow Spring Onions (Scallions)”

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  1. Roxan — February 14, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    Do spring onions come from garlic also? I had this one clove of garlic from a bulb I’ve had for a couple weeks now, and yesterday it had some green sprouting out of it! I just cut it off and used the rest of the garlic…


    • wiffy replied: — February 15th, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

      I’m not an expert but I don’t think the sprouts from the garlic is the same thing :)


    • PLoh replied: — February 16th, 2011 @ 1:10 am

      Roxan, maybe u could leave it for a while and it will become leeks?! hehe


    • Cyril replied: — March 1st, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

      Garlic sprouts are lovely


  2. Little Corner of Mine — February 15, 2011 @ 1:58 am

    Definitely organic!


  3. Pipana — February 15, 2011 @ 4:17 am

    Hello Wiffy ^^

    You know, I was very shocked when I first came to Portugal and found no spring onions sold at the supermarkets here…
    So I had no choice but grow my own spring onions at home.
    But the spring onions here are rather thin and weak, so I killed em after a few months… -_-

    But then, after seeing this article of yours, I feel like I wanna start growing em again! Cause spring onions are a must for Asian dishes! ^_-


    • wiffy replied: — February 15th, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

      no spring onions in Portugal? oh no >_< Hope you have great success growing them again, use bigger onions/shallots for more lush spring onions.


      • Pipana replied: — February 16th, 2011 @ 10:25 am

        Thanks for your comment on my blog, Wiffy!
        Happy Valentine’s Day to you too! ^^ Hope you had a great time with your loved one ^^

        Well, in fact there are spring onions in Portugal, but they are a different kind… So yes, I’ll have to start growing my own spring onions again.
        Wish me luck ^_-

  4. tigerfish — February 15, 2011 @ 5:38 am

    How long did it take for your onion to sprout?


    • wiffy replied: — February 15th, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

      this particular onion sprouted soon after buying… like within one week… but usually I think it takes a few weeks for them to sprout on their own.


  5. daphne — February 15, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    it’s true though that spring onions are probably easiest to plant! Well done on some fresh veges from your garden!


  6. masterofboots — February 15, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    This is such a great idea! i often need just a few stalks in my cooking and end up wasting all the rest of the bunch. now i remember, my mother used to do just that!


  7. Lorraine — February 15, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    Hi Wiffy, what type of soil do you use and how often do you need to water them ? Thanks.


    • wiffy replied: — February 15th, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

      Hi Lorraine, I use normal, cheap potting mix. If I’m not wrong, it’s less than S$2 for a pack. I water the pot once a day.


  8. catherine — February 15, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    Hi wiffy,

    Thank for sharing, this is wat i want! thanks again!

    Btw once it grow. we only cut wat we needed or pluck all out?
    Do they continue to grow if we only cut wat is needed?


    • wiffy replied: — February 15th, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

      It didn’t seem to continue growing from where I cut. I basically cut whenever I need, and after it’s used up, I plant new ones.


  9. mochachocolatarita — February 15, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

    wow! i have rosemary and mint at home (basil = dying, thyme = died T_T), we generally get free scallion when buying veg from the market, but it would be nice to grow my own…and i always want to grow coriander, wondering if it’s easy to grow…


    • wiffy replied: — February 16th, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

      I grew coriander from seeds before. They were really mini, but they have the distinctive fragrance, you can definitely try it during summer :D


  10. brandon — February 15, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

    my son did this for his nursery class and the spring onion grew quite tall. however after we transferred it from water/cotton based to soil, it died…

    any way, if you don’t want to use soil, you can always use a damp cotton wool and let the onion sit on it… just keep the wool damp by watering at least once a day.


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