How To Grow Green Onions

green onions

Last Updated on September 1, 2021

In truth, green onions and scallions are the same vegetables. Whether you choose to call them scallions or green onions, you will find these delicious vegetables in almost every grocery store.  

This article will discuss:

  • Growing green onions from seed
  • Regrowing onions from scraps.
  • Taking care of, and harvesting, your green onion plants. 
  • Diseases and pests that affect green onions. 
  • Frequently asked questions.
How To Grow Green Onions infographic

How To Grow Green Onions

When to Plant When Growing Green Onions

Green onion seeds should be planted in early April for a transplant in early May. You should start green onion seedlings indoors for four weeks before being transplanted outside.

Green onion seeds need soil that is at least approximately 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. It’s time to plant once you’ve determined that your soil will stay warm enough for the seeds.

Because green onions have a shorter growth period than onions, they are easier to grow. Spring-planted varieties can be harvested 60-90 days after planting. Green onions require soil that is rich in nutrients and drains well. 

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Prepare your planting area – green onions can be grown outdoors in a garden bed or in a container indoors.  They need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Green onions may not require much feeding during the growing season if you use nutrient-rich soil. 

If you prefer to fertilize, do so every two to three weeks until harvest using a well-balanced organic fertilizer or compost tea. You can harvest green onions when they reach a height of 6-8 inches.

Step 2: Plant the seeds – you can plant green onions close together because they don’t need much horizontal space to thrive. Sow seeds one-quarter-of-an-inch deep and one to two inches apart.

Step 3: Water regularly –  green onions need to be watered regularly to thrive. As your seeds germinate, keep the soil equally moist, but you should not soak it. Mulch around the plants to maintain soil moisture and weed control is also a good idea.

An easy way to check if you need to water your plant is to simply stick your finger down to the second knuckle near the green onion plant. There is no need to water if the soil feels damp. If the earth appears to be dry, water it thoroughly.

Step 4: Thin out the seedlings – use shears to thin your green onion seedlings when they’re one to two inches tall, so there’s one green onion per two inches. It’s best to thin the seedlings to give the green onions more room to grow and prevent them from competing for nutrients with surrounding plants.

How to Regrow Green Onions From Scraps 

What is the point of regrowing green onions again? There are numerous reasons why you should replant green onions from scraps. The first benefit is that you will spend less money and have a regular supply of green onions. You also reduce the amount of waste generated. You’ll never have to throw away a half-used bundle of green onions again. Finally, it is a fail-safe project that is really straightforward.

Cut the onions a couple of inches above the roots and place the bulbs in a small glass jar with sufficient water to cover the roots. Place this on a sunny ledge and leave it alone for a few days, only changing the water.

Green onion plants grow rapidly in water. You will notice the roots growing larger and the tops sprouting new leaves after only a few days. Your green onion plants in water should fully regrow if you give them enough time. You can now snip the tops off to cook and begin the process all over again.

You have the option of keeping them in the glass with water or transplanting them into a pot. You will always have an almost endless supply of green onions for the price of a single trip to the produce area of your supermarket.

How to Care for Green Onion Plants

Water – green onions prefer moist soil, but their root systems aren’t strong enough to hunt for water deep below the ground. Watering is required regularly to prevent the soil from drying out. As previously mentioned, consider mulching around the plants to help them retain moisture for longer. Overwatering the top of the submerged bulb, on the other hand, can introduce disease into the soil.

Prune – green onions can’t compete with weeds since they don’t have robust root systems. To eliminate nutritional competition, remove weeds around your plants. Placing mulch around your green onions will also assist in preventing weed growth.

Protect – green onions are susceptible to pests such as thrips, snails, and nematodes. To help deter these pests, keep an eye out for brown spots or tunnels in your green onions, and try companion planting. We’ll go over this in detail later.

Here is a list of companion plants for green onions:

Beets, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, mint, marigolds, lettuce, pansies, Brussels sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, and cauliflower.

Note: Onions do not grow well with beans or peas, so if at all possible, avoid planting them together.

spring onion

How to Harvest Green Onions

Method 1

Often growers will harvest green onions before the onion bulb develops. The softer the flavor of the onion, the younger it is. The green onions harvesting period varies according to personal choice. However, it usually is around 60 days after planting. Green onions can be harvested multiple times throughout the season, depending on their maturity level.

When the green onions are ready to be harvested, gently loosen the dirt around them so you may pull them up with care. Harvest the largest green onions first and use them first, as it is better to harvest and consume green onions as soon as possible. 

Green onions that are left out too long may wilt and lose their crispness. If you don’t plan on using all of your onions right away, you may keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you need to store them, it’s preferable not to wash them. Seal the green onions in a plastic bag to keep them fresh. Some people find that putting them in a damp paper towel helps.

Method 2

Cut the green onions a few inches from the root. Do not pull the plant out. The green onion plant will regenerate and can be harvested 4 to 5 times. If you accidentally pulled out the plant, place the plant in water, the roots and new shoots will grow. Transplant into the soil. 

How To Save Green Onion Seeds

If you want to save and store your own seeds for next year’s planting, follow these steps:

Step 1: Cut the Blooms From the Stalks 

Allow for the flowering of some green onion plants. A handful of your green onions’ stalks should be left alone until they grow round, fluffy blooms at the tops. Remove the blooms with a knife. After the blossoms have matured, snip off each one and place it in a paper bag to dry.

Step 2: Wait for It To Dry Out

Allow two weeks for drying. The blossoms will wilt and crisp as they dry, revealing the seeds inside. 

Step 3: Shake the Bag

Once the flowers are totally dry, simply shake the bag to loosen the seeds from the flowerheads. They will fall to the bottom of the bag and be ready to store until planting.

Green Onions

Diseases and Pests

Green onions have a strong odor that may deter some pests from getting too close, but green onions can fall prey to disease and pests like most plants. Because most pests are so tiny, it’s more effective to look for the harm they create than search for the bugs themselves.

Thrips

Thrips are tiny insects that might be difficult to see. Instead, look for silvery-white streaks or patches on the onion tips. Additionally, the plants can become distorted. Because the green onion’s tips are edible, this foliage disfigurement is more problematic than it would be for other food crops. 

To eliminate the worst of the problem, blast the tops with a stream of water from your garden hose. It’s better to do this in the late morning on a bright day because moist leaves might cause the fungal illnesses that green onions are susceptible to. If the problem persists, thoroughly coat the leaves in insecticidal soap. Look for a pre-mixed solution or fill a spray bottle halfway with plain water and add roughly one teaspoon of mild liquid dish soap.

Maggots

Onion maggots prefer to eat the bulb of onion plants rather than the leaves. Even for experienced green onion farmers, this feeding habit can be a serious concern because the entire crop can die. If your plants begin to exhibit signs of diminished vitality, dig out a sample plant to determine if the bulb is rotting or filled with tunnels. 

If this is the case, remove all of the plants and use whatever greens you can. You should destroy the rest of the plant parts since the flies that make onion maggots can continue to lay eggs, producing future crop difficulties. It is also a good idea to rotate your crops so that green onions don’t grow where garlic or other onion plants once did.

Nematodes

Onion nematodes are even more challenging to identify than thrips because they are both soil-dwellers and tiny. However, the consequences of these microscopic worms can be so destructive. Onion tops turn yellow with blackened tips as a result of the toxins they pump into root systems.

Furthermore, the entire plant may become distorted. 

Pull up afflicted plants, just as you would with onion maggots. Remove any edible tops for use in the kitchen and toss the rest of the plant. Crop rotation can help to limit the amount of harm that worms do to future green onion crops.

How To Avoid Disease and Pests

Fungal infections and other pests, such as wireworms and aphids, are among the other issues that might affect green onion plants. Good garden cleanliness is your greatest hope for cultivating the most pest- and disease-resistant green onions. 

Before and after growing green onions and during the growing season, remove any excess vegetation and plant waste. The plants thrive in cool weather and full sunlight. Keep the soil evenly moist but not overwatered. 

Helpful insects that eat thrips and aphids might be attracted to green onions if you plant flowers near them. Ladybugs, green lacewings, black hunter thrips, minute pirate bugs, and parasites are among the “good” bugs attracted by floral plants.

FAQs

What is the difference between a spring onion and green onion?

Spring onions are similar in appearance to green onions, except they have little onion bulbs at the base. These onions are essentially more mature variants of scallions and come from bulb-producing varieties. They are sown as seedlings in the late fall and harvested the following spring, hence the name “spring.”

Is it possible to freeze green onions after you’ve harvested them?

You can freeze green onions after harvesting, and you do not need to blanch them before freezing. Simply cut off the roots and leaf tips, thoroughly wash and dry, chop, and freeze. Green onions are a good candidate for flash freezing. Place the chopped onions on a parchment-lined sheet in the freezer, then store them in freezer containers or bags once they’ve frozen.

Why won’t my green onions grow?

Green onions are thirsty plants that need an inch of water every week to thrive. Green onions will not grow if the soil becomes hard or crusty. Make sure your soil is moist and drains nicely.

Conclusion

Green onions are a relatively simple plant to grow from seed or a grocery-store cutting. Green onions are so versatile that they may be grown in almost any environment. Green onions grow well in a garden bed in your backyard, a tiny deck, or even a sunny window.

Green onions can be grown in the ground, in pots, or even in water. Always keep the soil moist and give your plants at least six hours of sunlight per day.

Several pests might affect green onions. Planting your next crop in a new section of the garden can help if you start to notice difficulties, such as damaged foliage or lack of healthy growth.

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