Green onions are a popular plant to grow and care for at home due to how simple the process is. All you need is some water, a jar, and a handful of green onion clippings from the store. With a little bit of patience, you can propagate a never-ending bounty of scallions right in your kitchen.
This guide will cover the two different methods for growing green onions and how to care for your crops to reap better benefits. Read on to learn everything you need to know about growing green onions at home!
How to Grow Green Onions
There are two methods for growing green onions at home:
- The first is by propagating old onion cuttings by placing them in water.
- The second method is planting green onion seeds in outdoor soil and waiting for a sprout.
Both methods will result in fully grown onions, but propagating is much quicker. The subsections below will cover each of the two methods in more detail to give you a better idea of which might be the right choice for you!
How to Propagate Green Onions
To put it simply, propagating literally means to create something from a parent. In terms of plants, propagating is the process of creating new growth from old clippings. Certain crops such as green onions and garlic can be propagated easily in your kitchen.
When you purchase a bunch of green onions from the supermarket, you typically don’t use the white bottoms. To propagate new green onions, simply snip off the white bottoms, leaving about two to three inches of green as well.
Place the cuttings into a shallow jar filled with water, and simply wait for the propagation to occur!
Believe it or not, the cuttings will grow new green onions from their access to water. As they mature, you can snip off the ends to eat, and the onions will continue to regrow.
According to Kalyn’s Kitchen, her propagated green onions only took about twelve days to grow fully; however, the exact amount of time can vary.
Be sure to change out the water every few days and refill the jar as needed. Fresh water is the key to a successful green onion crop.
Here’s a helpful video with some in depth info about green onions:
How to Plant Green Onions
Growing green onions from seeds is undoubtedly a longer process, but it can be extremely rewarding as well. Before beginning, you’ll need to acquire green onion seeds, which can be found at most hardware stores and nurseries.
Your seed packet will likely have some instructions printed on the back for the best growing practices.
Green onion seeds can either be planted in small pots inside and later transferred outside or planted outdoors, to begin with.
The method you choose should depend on your location’s typical weather; if your area is prone to frost and freezing temperatures, starting your green onions inside would be the best idea.
Seeds should be planted in an area with an abundance of sunlight, between 12 and 18 inches apart from each other. SF Gate recommends planting outdoors between April and May when the soil is warm enough to handle seeds or seedlings.
Be sure to water your sprouts frequently!
Caring for Your Green Onion Crop
Once your green onions have sprouted, caring for them is actually quite easy.
When using the propagation method, simply replace and replenish the water every few days and harvest your onions when they’ve fully matured, leaving two to three inches at the bottom for regrowth.
According to Veggie Gardener, green onion sprouts typically need one inch of water every week, depending on the climate.
The soil should be kept moist, as green onion bulbs are susceptible to drying out if you aren’t careful. If you’re growing your sprouts in small pots or containers, be extra careful that the soil doesn’t get too dry.
You can mix some compost into the soil before planting your green onions for better results. Aside from watering, consider feeding your sprouts with fertilizer during the growing process.
Here’s another helpful video about green onions growing from store bought onions:
Protecting Green Onions from Pests
When growing green onions, you’ll need to keep an eye out for possible pests that can damage your crop. According to SF Gate and Plant Village, there are three main pests that you’re likely to come across when growing or propagating green onions. These common pests are as follows:
- Maggots: These pests go for the underground bulb of the green onion instead of the leaves, making them difficult to spot. If you notice your plants suffering, you may need to pull one or two out to examine the bulbs for damage. Infected onions should be completely discarded to avoid new eggs.
- Bulb Mites: As their name suggests, bulb mites attack the bulb of the green onion and cause rotting and other insect infestation. The mite itself is small, white, and resembles a tiny spider.
- Thrips: A thrip is a very tiny insect that attacks the leaves of the green onion, leaving discoloration and scarring. Green onions can be blasted with a garden hose to remove thrips or coated with soap mixed with insecticide.
- Leafminers: These small flies leave white blotches on the leaves of your onion plant, which in turn cause the leaves to droop and die. An excellent way to avoid leafminers is by harvesting your green onion crop as soon as it has fully matured. It is also recommended to use an insecticide if there is evidence of leafminers on your plants.
If your pest problem persists, consider contacting a local nursery for specific advice on how to save your green onions from further damage.
Protecting Green Onions from Disease
Along with pests, growers of green onions will need to keep an eye out for diseases. Unfortunately, these plants are susceptible to certain infections that can cause damage to the plant or destroy it entirely.
The key to stopping a disease from taking over your plant is by catching it early enough.
Below are a handful of common diseases that attack green onions:
- Rust: Just like metals exposed to moisture, green onions can be attacked by rust, a fungus that leaves orange pustules on the leaves. To protect from rust, plant-growers should use fungicide and monitor their plants, as severe infestations can result in the complete destruction of the crop.
- Downy Mildew: Appearing as gray fuzzy growth on the leaves of your green onion plant, downy mildew is another common disease. It is most common in crops that don’t get enough drainage, so be sure that your soil is drying out completely.
- Purple Blotch: If you notice wet lesions on the leaves of your crop, your green onions may be suffering from purple blotch, a disease that targets moist foliage. Like downy mildew, ensure that your soil is drying out properly to avoid purple blotch.
- Smut: Smut is a fungus that can live in the soil or spread through the wind, so it’s important to carefully watch your green onions. The disease appears as dark spots on the green onion bulbs, which can stunt overall growth and kill the plant entirely in weeks. While there’s no way to prevent smut from occurring, you can limit the chances by planting healthy seedlings.
Green onions are a common crop to grow both indoors and out. Either by propagating clippings or planting seeds, harvesting green onions has never been easier. When maintaining your crops, be sure to look out for pests and diseases, as green onions are susceptible to quite a few.