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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.

                                           

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

  1. Min {Honest Vanilla} — February 15, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

    I’m definitely inspired to grow my own herbs now :)

    Reply

  2. Daniel — February 15, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

    Hi there, thanks for inspiring me again. I just plant one pot of it and two pot of Garlic. Hopefully all three of them will grow well.

    Reply

  3. The Sudden Cook — February 15, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    Wow! Growing your ingredients now eh? Good on you. My sis who is an awesome cook also grows mint leaves I believe….for garnishing…like u!

    Reply

  4. Marysol — February 15, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

    NC, I’m not a gardener either, but I manage to keep a couple of herbs alive year round, e.g. rosemary, sage, thyme. I have only tried growing scallions once, years ago, and, somehow, got lazy and gave it up. Your efforts have inspired me to start growing them again. I mean, it’s free, it’s fun, and it’s food.

    Reply

  5. MaryMoh — February 15, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

    Looking at this I want to plant too but I don;t think they can survive in this cold weather. Maybe I should plant them inside the house :D

    Reply

  6. norma — February 15, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

    The only thing that grows in my apartment is dust bunnies….So lucky yoiu can.

    Reply

  7. skip to malou — February 15, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

    Funny that I have a bulb right now that has sprouted and it has been sitting in my kitchen counter. It is however a yellow onion not the red one. But I’m glad I came your post, now I could go ahead and plant it. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Reply

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

      I think it will still work, good luck! :)

      Reply

  8. Jun — February 15, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

    This is a great idea. This would be great for garnishes. I always buy a bunch from the market just for garnishing, and end up only using a stalk or two. The rest goes to the waste bin. I think you have green fingers tho, for edible plants. Way better than decorative plants!

    Reply

  9. Roze — February 16, 2011 @ 12:21 am

    I’m a gardner who worked on an organic farm where we grew baby greens, flowers and some vegetables for high end restaurants in NYC. Right now anything that can bring some spring and green into the house is welcome!

    As for scallions not having a bulb…I have to correct you and say that the white part is considered the bulb. It may not show a roundness to it, but it is the bulb portion of the plant. Same with leeks.

    Garlic you could plant in a pot and get what they call garlic scapes…the tall and wispy, unruly shoot that will flower and it can be used in all sorts of dishes.

    If you’re interested in trying to grow onions of the spring variety…now’s the time to order them. Try Johnny’s Seeds in Albion, Maine. I used to get my seeds from them when I was working on the farm.

    They also have this onion sprout that is awesome! Sprinkle over a tray of soil, give some warmth and moisture and the seeds should sprout. Seeds don’t need light, only moisture and warmth to sprout…once sprouted, they need light. Johnny’s gives you directions on sprouts and is a great source for seeds.
    http://www.johnnysseeds.com

    For non-gardeners, sprouts and baby greens and lettuces are easy to grow with minimal effort other than making sure you keep them moist.

    Reply

  10. Noobcook Fan — February 16, 2011 @ 12:26 am

    Hi wiffy
    Do u know how to grow pandan leaves?

    Reply

    • wiffy replied: — February 16th, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

      I have never grew pandan from seeds before. I just buy a plant from the nursery and try to keep it alive :p

      Reply

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