When to Plant Shallots

Shallot seedlings

The shallot is a small onion of the multiplier type. Its bulbs have a more delicate flavor than most onions. Shallots add a distinctive, complex flavor to savory dishes.

Shallots can be grown from seed or sets (small shallots). Plant sets 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before transplanting seedlings to the garden after the last frost in spring.

Shallots mature in about 100 days, but they can be dug any time they reach a useable size. For storage shallots, wait to dig bulbs until the tops have withered.

A shallot set will yield 10 to 15 times as many mature shallots. Shallots are hardy and may be left in the ground from year to year, but the best results come from lifting the cluster of bulbs at the end of the growing season and replanting the smaller ones the next season.

Shallots prefer humus-rich, well-drained soil. They need moderate amounts of phosphorus and potassium. The soil should be kept evenly moist while they are developing. Withhold water once the tops begin to yellow and dry.

Shallots are multiplier onions; a shallot set will yield 10 to 15 times as many mature shallots

Shallot planting dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 20Jan. 1-Feb. 1
Feb. 8Jan. 1-Feb. 10
Feb. 18Jan. 1-Feb. 20
Feb. 28Jan. 1-Mar. 1
Mar. 10Jan. 15-Mar. 1
Mar. 20Feb. 1-Mar. 10
Mar. 30Feb. 15-Mar. 15
Apr. 10Mar. 1-Apr. 1
Apr. 20Mar. 15-Apr. 15
Apr. 30Apr. 1-May 1
May 10Apr. 10-May 1
May 20Apr. 20-May 10
May 30May 1-June 1
June 10May 10-June 1
Shallots in garden
Shallots in garden

Shallots planting details

  • Sowing depth: Sow seed ½ inch (1.2 cm); plant sets so that the pointed tip barely shows above the soil, not more than 1 inch deep.
  • Space between plants after thinning: 4-6 inches (10-15cm)
  • Days to sprout: 10-14
  • Days to harvest: 100, but they can be dug any time they reach a usable size.
  • Storage period: 12-32 weeks
  • Seeds per 100 row feet: ½ ounce (14 grams)
  • Yield per 100 row feet: 50 pounds (22 kg)
  • Suggested varieties: Seeds: Ambition, Zebrune; Sets: French Red, French Gray

Related articles of interest:

How to Grow Shallots

Planting Leeks and Shallots in Autumn and Spring

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

How To Grow Tomatoes

How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

Leek seedlings

When to Plant Leeks

A bunch of radishes in the garden.

When to Plant Radishes