How to grow spring onions successfully

Spring onions, also known as scallions or green onions, are not only a versatile ingredient in various culinary dishes but also an easy-to-grow addition to your garden. Their mild and refreshing flavor can enhance salads, stir-fries, and more, making them a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike. In this guide, we’ll delve into the art of growing spring onions, from selecting the right varieties to nurturing them through each growth stage.

Spring Onions
Spring onion (Credit: Kindel Media)

How to Grow Spring Onions

Spring onions can thrive in a variety of settings, from garden beds to containers. Follow these steps to ensure a successful and rewarding spring onion growing experience:

Choosing the Right Variety

Selecting the appropriate variety of spring onions sets the foundation for a successful harvest. Some popular options include:

  • Evergreen Bunching: These cold-hardy onions are perfect for year-round cultivation.
  • White Lisbon: A classic variety with a mild flavor, ideal for both beginner and experienced gardeners.
  • Red Beard: Vibrant in color, this variety adds a pop of visual appeal to your garden and dishes.

Preparing the Soil

Spring onions prefer well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Follow these guidelines for optimal soil preparation:

  • Loosen the Soil: Use a garden fork to loosen the soil in your chosen planting area to a depth of at least 8 inches.
  • Amend with Compost: Incorporate compost or well-rotted manure to enhance soil fertility and structure.
  • pH Level: Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH range of 6.0 to 7.0 for optimal growth.

Planting Spring Onions

Now that your soil is ready, it’s time to plant your spring onions:

  • Seeds or Sets: You can plant spring onions from seeds or sets (small bulbs). Sets provide a quicker harvest, while seeds offer more variety.
  • Planting Depth: Sow seeds or sets about 1 inch deep and 2 inches apart in rows spaced 12 inches apart.
  • Thinning Seedlings: If you started from seeds, thin the seedlings to allow proper spacing, typically 4 to 6 inches apart.

Essential Care and Maintenance

To ensure healthy growth and development, your spring onions require ongoing care:

  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Aim for about 1 inch of water per week, adjusting based on weather conditions.
Process of watering spring onions
Process of watering spring onions (Credit: Tatiana Terekhina)
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  • Fertilization: Feed your spring onions with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks.

Harvesting Spring Onions

The moment you’ve been waiting for—harvest time! Here’s how to pick your spring onions:

  • Green Tops: Harvest when the green tops reach a desirable height, typically around 6 to 8 inches.
  • Gentle Pull: Gently pull the spring onions out of the soil, taking care not to damage neighboring plants.
  • Continuous Harvest: Spring onions can be harvested as needed, and new ones will continue to grow in their place.
Friendly senior man in checkered shirt and hat looking at camera and carrying wooden box with fresh onions in field
Friendly senior man carrying wooden box with fresh spring onions in field (Credit: Max-kegfire)

FAQs About Growing Spring Onions

Q: Are spring onions the same as regular onions?

A: While both spring onions and regular onions belong to the same Allium family, spring onions are typically harvested earlier in their growth stage. They have a milder flavor and are often consumed raw.

Q: Can I grow spring onions indoors?

A: Absolutely! Spring onions can be grown indoors in containers. Place them near a sunny window or under a grow light, and follow the same planting and care guidelines.

Q: How long does it take for spring onions to grow?

A: From planting to harvest, spring onions usually take about 8 to 12 weeks. However, you can start harvesting the green tops earlier if desired.

Q: Do spring onions require a lot of maintenance?

A: No, spring onions are relatively low-maintenance. Regular watering, occasional fertilization, and weed control are usually sufficient for a successful harvest.

Q: Can I regrow spring onions from kitchen scraps?

A: Yes, you can! Place the white root ends of store-bought spring onions in a container with water, and they will regrow new green shoots that you can harvest.

Q: Can I freeze spring onions for later use?

A: Absolutely. Clean, chop, and blanch the spring onions before freezing. They’ll retain their flavor and can be added directly to cooked dishes.


Growing spring onions is a delightful and rewarding endeavor that brings the fresh and vibrant taste of these greens right to your plate. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to nurture your spring onions from seedlings to harvest, enjoying the process every step of the way. Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or simply eager to elevate your culinary creations, cultivating spring onions is a journey that’s both satisfying and delicious.

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