Find out how to develop spring onions or spring onions

The name spring onion refers to many different types of onions. When you learn how to grow spring onions, you'll always have access to the freshest, tastiest alliums you can find!

The real spring onion is Allium fistulosum, also known as spring onions, bundle onions or just old spring onions. These are the ones we will be paying the most attention to today.

Traditional onions, Allium cepa, have a red or white onion, but they can be harvested before the onions form and the young stalks can be used like green onions. Finally there is Allium proliferum, also called tree onions or Egyptian onions. These onions are specially harvested for their long green leaves. They develop in tight knots from multiple bulbs and stems attached to each other and tend to spread over time.

If you're wondering how to get all of these delicious spring onions, we have tons of information for you! We're going to talk about how to start green onions from seeds, starters, or other methods. Let's see how to plant green onion seedlings in your garden.

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Brief instructions for care

Green onion stalks are mild and flavorful. Source: skooksie

Common name (s) Spring onion, spring onion, Japanese spring onion, Welsh onion
Scientific name Allium fistulosum
Days to harvest 60-95 days
Bright Full sun, about 8 hours
water 1 inch per week
floor Fluffy and neutral, pH between 6.0 and 7.0
fertilizer Balanced, can be supplemented with organic material
Pests Aphids, onion maggots, nudibranchs, snails, thrips
Diseases White rot, onion powdery mildew, late blight

Everything about shallots

Cross section of A. cepaA cross-section of this onion shows that it is A. cepa. Source: quinn.anya

Allium fistulosum or spring onions are also often referred to as bundle onions, spring onions, Welsh onions, or Japanese spring onions. It is likely that they were collected in the wild before they became popular in China and Egypt. Tokyo Long White, Evergreen, and Heshiko are some of the most popular varieties.

Spring onions look similar to the traditional Allium cepa onion. They have tall, green stems and are typically 1-2 feet tall. They have slender white onions at their base that won't grow big enough to form an onion. In hot temperatures, spring onions turn into seeds and form a spherical shape of tiny white flowers.

Spring onions are perennial and the spring onion leaves can be harvested for several years in mild climates. All parts of the spring onions are edible, including the flowers. Thinner spring onions have a milder taste, while thicker onions have a stronger taste and are more resistant to cooking.

An interesting fact about spring onions is that you can tell the variety by looking at a cross section of the leaves where they turn white: if it's D-shaped or flat, it's A. cepa, but if it's O-shaped is, it is A. fistula.

Plant green onions

Start sowing indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost. Keep the seeds moist and they should show up in 7 to 14 days. For no-till, each seed should be sown ¼ inch deep when the temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A seedling heating mat can help with germination. Thin seedlings so that they are 2 inches apart, or have them separate later.

When the seedlings are ready to be transplanted, separate the seedlings. Start transplanting 2 to 4 weeks before your last spring frost date, but you can plant during the spring and summer seasons and into the fall if you wish. Set seedlings an inch or two apart, with rows 6 inches apart. Consider planting with your other plants as green onions can help drive pests out of your garden. Be sure to water regularly as bulbous plants have shallow roots.

Plant traditional onion sets 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost date. Care for them like a transplanted green onion, but plant at least 2 inches apart to leave room for onion growth. Remember that the green leaves can be used the same way as spring onions, but an allium cepa will eventually form a larger onion bulb.


Sprout green onionsWhen cut, spring onions grow back easily from the onion. Source: jimmiehomeschoolmama

Now that you know more about the types of green onions, let's learn how to care for them so they can ripen! Let's discuss the details of how to care for green onions.

Sun and temperature

Plant in a sunny spot that will get at least 6 hours of full sun. Spring onions form best in zones 6-9 and thrive in temperatures between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you plan to grow spring onions in the winter, mulch your planted onions with straw or other organic matter in the fall to protect them from cold temperatures and prevent weeds.

In zones warmer than 9, you may want to plant your spring onions somewhere in the garden where they can get shade in the afternoon. Since onions like full sun, it's definitely possible to grow green onions in hot climates!

Growing green onions indoors is also an option, especially for those who have cold winters. Make sure they have plenty of light and warmth during the cold season and you will have spring onion harvests through winter and well into spring.

Water and moisture

Morning is the best time to water to reduce evaporation of soil moisture. This allows the leaves to dry out during the day, making them less prone to disease.

Shallots are sensitive to drought. Aim for 1 inch of water per week. Use soaking hoses or drip irrigation. Trench or "furrow" irrigation is another viable method. Dig a long trench in the soil an inch or two from your plants and flood the furrow to allow the bulbs to absorb moisture.

If you have sandy soil, you will need to water more often. In a cooler season or mild climatic conditions, the plants develop more slowly, so that less water is required.


Spring onions prefer fluffy, balanced and loamy soil. If you have poor soil, supplement it with organic material like compost that is at least 6 inches deep. While onion bulbs can develop in clay soil, they have a tough time when it dries out and the soil can hold a little too much moisture for their taste. It's best to change to allow for good drainage while keeping the soil moist.

To grow spring onions, the optimal pH range of the soil is between 6.0 and 7.0. These onions can tolerate the pH of the soil a little below 6.0. So if you plant them near tomatoes or any other nightshade family, they will make it. If the soil is too alkaline these may get off to a good start.


Since shallot plants are leafy vegetables, you should fertilize them regularly with a nitrogen-rich supplement. Liquid fertilizers such as fish manure or comfrey tea have nutrients that are immediately available to your plants. So remember to water with a liquid fertilizer during the growing season to provide nutrients when your plants need them most. For a longer-term solution, use granular fertilizers that are slowly released into the soil. Look for one that is high in nitrogen (the "N" in N-P-K). If desired, top dress with rich compost.


Most of the time the pruning is done only for harvesting purposes. Plants can be trimmed for cosmetic purposes, e.g. B. to remove withered leaves, but should otherwise remain until the picking.

When your green onions are turning into seeds and you want to keep the seeds from falling, cut off the flower stem. Leaf wilts can often also occur during flowering. Trimming the bud and stem early (known as the onion scale) will redirect your plant's energy to leaf development.

When you are ready to collect seeds, leave the flowers fully open. Bulb flowers are pretty impressive. They form a large, almost spherical umbel. When the flowers start to fade, tie a paper bag over it and secure it securely to the stem. The seeds are very small. As soon as it begins to droop, cut the stem off and place it somewhere to allow the head to dry out and the seeds to fall out of the flower.


One method of propagation is onions or "sets". The best way to use sets is to plant them in late autumn and overwinter in the garden. In the spring they will begin to encourage new growth.

You can also use Allium cepa seedlings and plant them to get the green onion stalks. Remember that only Allium fistulosum produces green tree onions without bulbs. Real shallots have a milder taste than A. cepa, which has a stronger onion taste.

Rescuing rooted onions from store-bought spring onion plants can easily regrow spring onions. They will happily produce large, green leaves every few weeks and give you a bonus harvest. This works both indoors and outdoors. So if you want to rescue your young spring onions from the grocery store and place them in moist soil under a T5 light, you will see new growth quickly!

And of course, starting with seeds is definitely an option. There is a wide variety of seeds available for many different types of spring onions or cluster onions. Follow the instructions in the “Sowing” section above to sow seeds.

Harvest and storage

Sliced ​​spring onionsSpring onions can be stored in slices within a few days. Source: Pepperberry Farm

Wondering what to do when you have ripe green onions? Let's talk about how to harvest the plant and what to do with your delicious spring onions!


Start picking your green onions as soon as they are a usable size. The best time to harvest the bulbs is when the bulbs are white and about the size of a pencil, but smaller seedlings can also be harvested. In fact, it is possible to sow onion seeds and harvest onions as microgreens if you so choose!

Either dig up the whole plant if you want to eat the mild white onion, or cut the stem just above ground level and let it grow further. Clean kitchen shears or secateurs are suitable for this. Pruning-and-repeating crops like the latter method mean you can enjoy a continuous harvest by leaving the roots and base of the plant in the ground and cutting the stems an inch or two above the soil line. The plant will send up more edible shoots quickly!

If you grow traditional onion onions as spring onions, harvest the green leaves early and use them like spring onions. Egyptian onions should be harvested from the second season.

When your plant blooms, the stem and unopened bud are called the onion skin. Onion skins are just as delicious as the leaves and can be an incredible addition to a stir-fry or any other meal.


Store green onions in a partially filled jar in your refrigerator with just enough moisture to half rise the onions. If you are harvesting stems without onions, store the stems wrapped in a paper towel in a plastic bag. Alternatively, cut into slices and put in a plastic bag and put in a cool place. Moisture is the enemy of your green onions when stored using these methods, so the paper towel is crucial to keeping onions and leaves dry.

To freeze green onions, rinse and pat them thoroughly before freezing or air dry. The texture is often a bit mushy when thawed, so this is best if you plan to use it in cooked foods rather than as a garnish

If you have a dehydrator, a good option is to dehydrate the stems and grind them to a powder for long-term storage.


Spring onion flowersOnions produce large, spherical umbels. Source: starmist1

Now let's discuss some of the problems that can arise when growing green onions. Since spring onions are part of the Allium family, they tend to repel many pests with their scent, although they are susceptible to some easily treatable pests and diseases.

Growing problems

Too much moisture can cause your growing spring onions to develop some forms of root rot. Be sure to provide just enough moisture for them to thrive. Use a drip hose or other irrigation system to keep the soil moist. On the flip side of that too little moisture causes leaf wilt or yellowing, so make sure they're not thirsty.

If it is too hot, Your bulbs will bloom. Be sure to plant them at the right time for your growing zone.

Competition from weeds can cause green onions to grow small, weak, or even die. Check your plants regularly and remove any weeds, especially in the root zone. Weeds can also be reduced by mulching.


Thrips and Aphids are common pests in onion crops and can be blown away from a hose with a powerful jet of water. If they persist, use insecticidal soap or neem oil. Severe infestations can be treated with pyrethrin.

Onion maggots can be prevented by following the crop rotation in the garden. You can also use floating row covers as a barrier against the flies that lay onion maggot eggs. Useful nematodes are natural enemies of onion maggots. Most of the pyrethrin insecticides that work against thrips also help fight onion maggots.

Snails and snails are also a problem, but they are easy to deal with. A beer trap can be placed between your plants to catch some of these pesky pests. As long as it is as deep as a cake pan, slugs and slugs will be attracted to the aroma of the beer and it will be deep enough to drown them. If you don't want to use beer traps, organic neck and snail bait is another great option and will draw the pests away from your greens.


White rot can cause mold or rot at the base of the plant and yellowed, withered leaves. If you notice any diseased plants, remove and dispose of them. Avoid planting allium in this location for a couple of years. Good crop rotation is essential to the health of your allium.

Downy mildew of onion (Peronospora destructor) can lead to irregular staining and reduced size. Copper fungicides can be used for treatment, but use a 3 year crop rotation between allium crops in this bed.

Botrytis leaf rot causes white spots on the leaves, and the plant may wither and die. This is most common when the plants are wet for 20 hours or more in cool temperature conditions. Make sure there is enough airflow to allow the plants to dry out. Treat with alternating copper and sulfur fungicides until the tuber rot is gone, or remove infected plants and destroy them. Do not compost contaminated material.

frequently asked Questions

Spring onion and rootsThe A. fistulosum bulb stays small instead of growing into an onion. Source: Little Li

Q: Do spring onions grow better in water or soil?

A: Although you can temporarily regrow green onions in water, the roots have no nutrients or oxygen to survive long term. The soil provides the nutrients they need.

Q: Do spring onions grow back every year?

A: Spring onions are biennial and can live multiple seasons. They come back after being cut, but they don't grow back after the onions die or are frozen.

Q: Do spring onions die in winter?

A: Some varieties can tolerate freezing, although they will not survive below freezing for long periods of time.

Q: Can spring onions tolerate heat?

Answer: yes! They do well in warm, humid climates, although they will eventually germinate and sow.

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