Friday, September 9, 2011

How I Plant Sprouted Onions

Spring Onions (Scallions)

My organic home-grown Spring Onions

I have received a few emails asking me about how I planted the Spring Onions, what is my 'secret' that they grow so fat and healthy! I was really surprised to see that my Spring Onions have sparked quite an interest. So I have done up a tutorial (if you could it that! haha!). 

Spring Onions  (Scallions)  is one of my favourite veggie which I use constantly in my kitchen. Really good as a garnish for soups, porridge, stir-fries and even in curries. Due to my constant usage of this veggie, I always plant my own. Before I discovered the speedy way to make them grow, I used to plant the whole bulb of onion or shallots directly into the pot or container, but most of the time, the success rate in sprouting is not even 70%. Sometimes only 50%, with the rest rotted in the soil, even when I used sprouted bulbs from my kitchen basket. Even research from the web does not give any detailed info, other than the ones which we already knew, that is, by planting either by seeds or by placing the bulbs directly in the planting spot.

So I tested with the following method (refer below) and to my surprise and delight, the sprouted bulbs have at least 90%, most of the time 100% success of growing into healthy plants with big lovely green leaves, which can be harvested within three weeks. 

I'm going to share with you, step-by-step of  how I planted the sprouted onions, my way.

First, get some sprouted onions from the market or supermarket. I usually buy these from Tesco, nobody will buy these sprouted ones, if you see a lady choosing the sprouted onions, most likely it will be me!! :)

This onion is perfect, the sprouts are just beginning to grow, the onion looks good, without any rotting or soft spots. Firm and nice.

The roots at the bottom are compact and dried, there's some new roots that can be seen growing. Sometimes  the new roots can't be seen from the outside,  they are hiding in between the onion layers. 

Peel off the dried skin 

Peel off the next layer or two. The fresh roots are inside. Depending on the onion, you may need to peel off about 2 to 4 layers, especially if the layers are showing signs of rotting and are not healthy. Just peel them off until you can see that the bulb is firm and nice.

More of the fresh roots are now exposed. See the fresh roots all around the bottom top of the onion, on top of the dried roots.

This is another onion, where the roots can already be seen right under the dried skin. All the better!

Peel off the dried skin to reveal the long fresh roots.

I would usually cut off the clump of dried roots at the bottom to make way for the fresh roots to grow. 

These are the good layers of onions that have been peeled off from all the onions. Do not throw them away. They are sweet and can be used for cooking. Great for omelette, pasta and fried rice. You can use these when you blend your paste for sambal, asam pedas or just about anything. 

The onions that have been peeled and about to go to the garden pot.

Just give them a quick rinse so they are nice and clean.

Mix some organic fertilizer in the soil and plant the onions, with the sprouts up. Place the pot where they can get full sun, and do not let the soil dried up. They will be most happy in lightly damp soil, under full sun . Water once a day, and on extremely hot weather when the soil is dry, water twice a day. Well that's it... wait for a week... 

.... these are exactly one week later. Water them on the base of the plant, that is on the soil. Try to avoid watering them with force over the leaves, as they might snap and bend, and would not look nice. They would still grow, but they would not look 'pretty'.!

.... two and a half weeks later. All the bulbs are growing great! Look at the bended leaves, blame it on the rain!

Harvested some spring onions yesterday morning. This batch is from another pot which I planted two weeks earlier than the one above.  Just harvest how much you need, leave the rest until you need them. You may harvest only the green part by cutting the leaves about 3 inches from the bulb. The leaves will grow again. But I prefer to pull out the whole plant and start over, as the leaves that grow the second time round are usually not as big. Besides, I love using the white part of the onions, really fragrant. 

Goes into my fried beehoon (rice vermicelli) for our lunch. 

I hope the above is a useful guide. It is my method of how I plant my Spring Onions and it works for me, each time. I enjoy harvesting the spring onions right from my garden, it makes me happy, having fresh organic homegrown veggie for my cooking pot. If you are trying this out, please let me know how it works for you, I would love to know. Happy Gardening!


  1. Fantastic with those being grown in containers and your lunch looks fabulous.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. The few onions I grow come our skinny! Lack of fertiliser,I guess. Thanks for the step by step.

  3. Great sharing, Joyce. I've given up looking for such onions in Tesco. They disappeared ever since your first post. Strange but true.

  4. I like the step by step pictures and how the onions grow in a pot.

  5. Thanks for sharing the information! Useful for me!

  6. tQ for sharing the great way to plant onions. We seldom cook and wonder what will happen if they "overgrow" without harvesting?

  7. so clever!!! now i know how to get better results from my onions!!

  8. Hi! i also just harvested my spring onions about 5 days ago which i planted from shallots bulb. They are smaller but taste as good and fragrant! I have 100% success because all the bulbs which i planted grew! Felt so happy...!!! Your fried noodles looks good!

  9. Nothing beats fresh spring onion harvest. Works well to garnish any food. Look very healthy.

  10. Thank u sooooo much for this posting! will go straight to tesco to get the sprouted onions after work today.

  11. Hi Bananaz,
    Thank you for stopping by and for following too!
    If they go without harvesting them, they will eventually turn yellow and wilt.
    Have a great day!

  12. Indeed a very useful tutorial... and what a deliciously looking beehoon lunch...

  13. I buy them and, maybe, I will grow them one day to cook pasta...

  14. Thanks for yr informative tutorial, it's so step-by- step! I normally buy organic spring onions fr supermarket, damn expensive! N every times if I forget to use them, they spoiled. So, thanks again, will definitely gv it a try. :-)

  15. Stumbled upon your blog on a google search on growing sprouted onions. Great entry! I loved the step-by-step process you take the reader through.

    Am definitely going to take your tips on board and give my own little garden a go!


    Canberra, Australia

  16. can i use brown onions too tq

  17. Very well depicted. Thank you! What if I want to grow big red onions. Any idea how to go about it? Thanks

    1. Hi,
      If you meant to grow the onions for the bulbs, I have not tried that before.
      These are for the spring onions, the leafy greens.
      Thank you for stopping by!

  18. Only two and a half weeks! WOW.

    Ive found my new project!

  19. If the onions are from a non organic source, is the spring onion still organic? I plan to start a small vege patch n have d same question regarding non organic seedlings and small plants.

  20. Wish I had seen this site earlier...Yesterday I was going to throw away an onion because there were green tops on it, about 10inches tall. My husband and I decided to cut the green leafy part off and put it in a small amount of water. Guess that won't work. Have 2 more that are sprouting green; I'll follow your directions this time. Going to keep the other one and see if it does anything but roit. Sharon

  21. Thanks. Your directions give me confidence to start my spring garden!

  22. This is a wonderful example of how to grow & harvest greens from onion.
    If you left your onion in ground without interruption, it will eventually flower & produce seeds from which you can harvest, dry & replant :)