How to Grow Scallions


Scallions are green onions. They are immature onions. They are not a variety of onions. They are sometimes called spring onions. Scallions can also be grown from bunching onions; bunching onions are a type of perennial onions that never form bulbs.

Scallions can be grown from all kinds of onion varieties. They can be thinnings of young globe onions or young Welsh onion. Scallions are immature regular onions. They also can be grown from bunching onions that have graceful green tops, slender white bottoms that never develop into a wide bulb.

If you plant seeds or sets of regular onions, then harvest them while they are young and have not yet formed a bulb, you have a scallion. If you harvest bunching onions, you have scallions.

To get scallions from regular onions (1) plant seeds; (2) plant baby plants; (3) plant sets; sets are bulbs about the diameter of a dime that was grown last year and harvested at a small size specifically for the purpose of planting as sets the following year.

Scallions are mild flavored. The base and leaves are used raw in salads, as a garnish, or in cooking.

Botanical names: Allium cepa (globe onion, green onion, scallion); Allium fistulosum (bunching onion, scallion)

Yield. Clumping types: plant one clump per person. Non-clumping types: grow 20 plants or more per person.

Planting onion/scallion sets
Planting onion/scallion sets

Planting Scallions


  • Plant scallions in full sun.
  • Plant scallions in humus-rich, well-drained soil. Add aged compost to the planting bed before planting.
  • Loosen the soil several inches deep and enrich each planting hole with compost or work compost into the top several inches of soil.
  • In rainy regions or where the soil is slow to drain, plant scallions on mounded or raised beds.

Planting and spacing seeds.

  • Space scallions 2 to 3 inches apart in wide rows. In single rows, space scallions 2 to 3 inches apart and space rows 9 to 12 inches apart.
  • Seeds can be planted thickly and plants can be thinned by harvesting.
  • It takes about 60 days from seed to harvest scallions.

Planting and spacing sets.

  • In spring and summer, plant sets just below soil level and then apply a light compost mulch.
  • In fall plant sets 2 to 4 inches (5-10cm) deep and over with several inches of mulch.
  • Planting sets will bring a harvest of scallions in a few weeks.

Planting time outdoors.

  • Sow scallion seeds outdoors as soon as the soil is workable.
  • Plant scallions in early spring or in fall. Plant when the soil is workable.
  • In a cold-winter region plant scallions in late fall and winter them over; you will have scallions in early spring.
  • In mild winter regions plant sets just below soil level and apply a light mulch.
  • Seed can be planted thickly and thin by harvesting.
  • You can also plant onion sets rather than seed.

Planting time indoors.

  • Sow seeds indoors 4 weeks or more before the last expected frost in spring. You can begin harvesting indoors or transplant seedling to the garden after the last average frost date.

Succession planting.

  • Sow scallion seeds every 2 to 3 weeks to ensure continued harvest through the season.

Planting time for autumn and winter harvest.

  • Sow scallion seeds in late summer or fall so that the seedlings become established before the dormant period. Protect plants through the winter with mulch or grow them under the protection of a plastic tunnel.

Container growing.

  • Grow scallions in a pot that is at least 12 inches (30cm) across and 8 inches (20cm) deep. Scatter seed and then gradually thin them to about 2 inches or more apart.
Young onions-scallions
Young onions-scallions

Caring for Scallions


  • Water scallions often but lightly at soil level Avoid wetting the foliage which can lead to disease.


  • Feed scallions with liquid kelp, fish emulsion, or a balanced organic fertilizer every three to four weeks


  • Mulch around scallion with aged compost or grass clippings to conserve moisture and add nitrogen to the soil.
  • Mulch scallions with straw in autumn to protect them from cold; this is especially important in Zone 5 and colder.


  • Remove weeds growing near scallions by hand pulling or cultivating gently to avoid damaging roots.

Winter care.

  • Where the ground freezes in winter, pot up scallion divisions and bring them indoors to a cool, bright spot to overwinter.
Scallions harvested
Scallions harvested

Harvesting and Storing Scallions

Harvesting scallions.

  • Harvest scallions when they are about as thick as a pencil and at least 6 inches tall.
  • Use a trowel to uproot the plants. Avoid pulling on the plants; the stems break easily.
  • With clumping varieties, harvest as many stems as you need, then replant the cluster.
  • To increase the number of shoots or to start a new clump, separate single shoots and replant them.
  • Replant clumps or single shoots in a new spot; this is a form or crop rotation to avoid diseases.
  • To harvest scallions as the ideal size, succession plants them.
  • Keep harvesting them as needed for fresh eating.
  • Uproot the plant with a trowel; if you pull them, the stem break easily
  • Harvesting scallions improves the growing conditions for the remaining plants by loosening the soil and removing competition.

Storing scallions.

  • Scallions will keep for about one week in the refrigerator, not longer.
Scallions — young Welsh onions

Scallion Varieties to Grow

  • ‘Deep Purple’. Bunching type; red-colored shanks; 60 days to harvest from seed.
  • ‘Evergreen Long White’. Bunching type; hardy; plant in spring or fall; 60 days to harvest from seed.
  • ‘Ishikura Improved’. Bunching type; grows to 30 inches (75cm) tall; sow in trench and then hill stems to keep them white; 50 days from seed.
  • ‘Red Baron’. Bunching type; red stems, green leaves; 65 days from seed.
  • ‘Tokyo Long White’. Non-bunching; long stalks; 65 to 95 days from seed.

Common name: Scallion

Botanical name. Allium cepa (green onion, scallion); Allium fistulosum (bunching onion, scallion)

Origin. Nothern Hemisphere

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