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How to Grow Shallots

Shallots canstockphoto24396011
Shallot bulbs
Shallot bulbs

The shallot is a member of the onion family, a very hardy biennial grown as an annual. Shallots are more delicately flavored than regular onions. Young outer leaves can be used like chives.

Shallots are a cool-weather vegetable usually grown from cloves, not seeds. Shallots grow to about 8 inches (20cm) tall in a clump with narrow green leaves and roots that look like small onions, about ½ inch (12mm) in diameter at maturity.

Shallots Quick Growing Tips

  • Set cloves in the garden as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date in spring.
  • Shallots require a dormant period of about 30 days soon after planting with temperatures between 32° and 50°F (0-10°C).
  • Shallots will grow in soil temperatures ranging from 35°F to 90°F (2-32°C).
  • Shallots yield: plant 4 to 6 shallots per household member.

Shallot seedlings
Shallot seedlings

Where to Plant Shallots

  • Grow shallots in full sun; shallots will tolerate partial sun.
  • Plant shallots in well-worked, well-drained, moisture-retentive soil rich in organic matter.
  • Shallots prefer a soil pH of 5.0 to 6.8.
  • Shallots will be less flavorful if grown in clay soil.

Shallots Planting Time

  • Shallots are usually grown from cloves, not seeds.
  • Set cloves in the garden as early as 4 to 6 weeks before the average last frost date in spring.
  • Shallots require a dormant period of about 30 days soon after planting with temperatures between 32° and 50°F (0-10°C).
  • Shallots will grow in soil temperatures ranging from 35°F to 90°F (2-32°C).
  • Shallots are ready for harvest in 60 to 120 days.

Planting and Spacing Shallots

  • Set shallot cloves broad end down and cover with ½ inch (12mm) of soil or less.
  • Space cloves 6 to 8 inches (15-20cm) apart in rows 12 inches (30cm) part.
  • Shallot bulbs contain 3 to 4 cloves protected by brown papery skin. Plant individual cloves.

Shallots Companion Plants

  • Grow shallots with beets, lettuce, strawberries, summer savory, and tomatoes.
  • Do not plant shallots with beans or peas.

Container Growing Shallots

  • Shallots can be grown in an 8-inch (20cm) pot, plant 2 or 3 cloves in the pot.
  • If the weather warms, move containers to a cool spot.
Clumps of shallots
Shallots clumps can be divided into multiple plants every year or two.

Water and Feeding Shallots

  • Keep shallots evenly moist; do not allow the soil to dry out.
  • Add aged compost to planting beds before planting.
  • Side dress shallots with aged compost at midseason.

Shallot Care

  • Keep planting beds weed-free so that shallots do not compete for water and nutrients.
  • Bend or “lodge” the stalks when they are 16 inches (40cm) tall or more; this will force shallots to mature in 3 to 4 weeks.
  • Shallots clumps can be divided into multiple plants every year or two.
  • Do not plant shallots where garlic bulbs have previously grown.

Shallot Pests and Diseases

  • Shallots have no serious pest problems.
  • Where the soil is well-drained, shallots generally have no serious disease problems.
  • White rot can affect shallots along with other alliums. White rot is characterized by white growth on the leaves at the neck of the plant. It can not be cured.
  • Remove and destroy shallots infected with white rot and do not plant onion-family crops in the same sport for at least 5 years.
shallots stored in dry place
Store shallot bulbs in a cold, dry place for up to 6 months.

Harvesting Shallots

  • Green shallot leaves can be cut throughout the growing season and used as a seasoning. Be careful not to cut away any new growth coming from the central stem.
  • Bulbs are ready for harvest when leaves yellow, wither, and fall over.
  • Allow harvested bulbs to dry for a month.

Storing and Preserving Shallots

  • Store shallot bulbs like onions in a cold, dry place for up to 6 months.
  • Freeze or dry shallots like onions.
  • Shallot greens will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Greens can be chopped and frozen like chives.

Shallot Varieties to Grow

  • Varieties: ‘Atlantic’ (90 days); ‘Atlas’ (90 days); ‘Dutch Yellow’ (90 days); ‘French Shallots’ (90 days); ‘Frog Leg Shallots’ (90 days); ‘Giant Red’ (70 days); ‘Golden Gourmet’ (77 days); ‘Grey Shallot’ (90 days); ‘Odetta’s White Shallot’ (90 days); ‘Pink Shallots’ (90 days); ‘Success’ (90 days).

About Leeks

  • Common name. Shallot
  • Botanical name. Allium cepa
  • Origin. Asia



Comments are closed.
  1. Hey ! What is this about not growing from seed ? ! You really must have a go at growing the Zebrune banana shallot from seed . You get one huge shallot from each seed sown . Brilliant !

  2. Please explain…Why can’t plant shallots in area where garlic was previously grown? For how many years is the soil bad? It would seem that these two allums would be companion plants. What about planting green onions with garlic?

    • It is best to not plant shallots or onions where garlic has grown–or vice versa–if the previous crop has suffered from pests or diseases and if you are NOT feeding the soil on a regular basis (that is adding plenty of aged compost at least once or twice a year); if there has been no pests or disease and you are feeding the soil, then you can plant these crops year after year in or near the same spot. Rotation and companion planting schedules and suggestions aim to protect plants in the same botanical family from attack by pests and diseases that attack crops in that family, and, as well, rotation and companion planting aims to protect the soil from over-growing crops that use the same nutrients from the soil. Long story short, if you are feeding the soil and your garden has not experienced pests or diseases specific to a crop family then plant in succession until you have a problem. Check out some of the articles here on crop rotation and companion planting.

    • Shallots have purple flesh, brown papery skins, and a garlicky flavor. Green onions (also called scallions) are young onions with small white bulbs and edible leaves.

  3. I have shallots that I grew from seed to transplant in the garden. I am a zone 3B. Is end of May okay to transplant and can I trim the greens before they go in the garden? They are very long right now. Why do you say not to plant from seeds ?

    • Yes, you can trim the leaves by about a quarter or one-third of the leaf length. If nights are still chilly, protect the seedlings by placing a row cover over the transplanted seedlings. If the soil temperature averages 50F, you can safely sow seeds in the garden. Starting seed indoors protects young seedlings from cold stress.

  4. Am growing scallions and yellow onions from root base cuttings. Can shallots and purple garlic be started the same way?

  5. I bought French scallion starts in six packs at local co-op( late Oct) Do they need to be separated? I’ve never planted from starts, just from bulbs.

    • If you want the bulbs to reach their full size, you will need to separate them. If you want to harvest just the green tops, they can grow in a clump.

  6. I grow shallots and garlic in the same raised bed, year after year. But, as you say, the bed is almost all aged cow manure compost. We plant both shallots and garlic in the fall around Halloween cover entire bed with about six inches of leaves and lay chicken wire on top to hold in place. Everything starts coming up in the early spring and we start harvesting in late summer. We are in zone 7, about 2,000 ft.

  7. When you take base cuttings from onions/shallots, do you let the cut part dry out before planting it? And how much of the base do you leave to feed the roots?

    • You can start/root base cuttings in a vase or glass of water. The cut section does not need to dry, but it should not be submerged or buried as it could rot. The base should be about 1 inch or more with some roots visible. Green top growth will emerge in a week or so.

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