How To Plant Bunching Onions [ Full Guide ]

Bunching onions, also known as scallions or green onions, are versatile vegetables used in a wide range of culinary dishes. Known for their mild flavor and easy growth, bunching onions are a popular choice for home gardeners and commercial growers alike. This guide will provide detailed instructions on how to plant bunching onions, covering aspects such as soil preparation, site selection, planting times, variety selection, and more. By following these steps, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh, flavorful bunching onions in your own garden.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Bunching Onions

Planting bunching onions involves the following steps:

  1. Prepare the soil: Ensure the soil is well-draining, loose, and rich in organic matter.

  2. Select a site: Choose a location with full sun exposure and good air circulation.

  3. Planting time: Plant bunching onions in the early spring or fall for the best results.

  4. Choose the right variety: Consider the specific varieties that suit your growing conditions and culinary preferences.

  5. Plant the seeds or sets: Space the seeds or sets appropriately and plant them at the right depth.

  6. Care and maintenance: Keep the soil consistently moist, weed the area regularly, and provide adequate fertilization.

  7. Harvesting: Harvest the green onions when they reach the desired size, typically after 60-80 days.

By following these steps, you can successfully grow bunching onions and enjoy their fresh, flavorful greens in various culinary dishes.

Choosing The Right Soil

Before planting bunching onions, it’s crucial to prepare the soil to provide the best growing conditions for these vegetables. Bunching onions thrive in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Here are the steps to ensure the right soil conditions for planting bunching onions:

  • Soil Preparation: Start by preparing the soil in advance to ensure it is loose, well-draining, and free from large clumps. Use a garden fork or tiller to break up compacted soil and remove any debris, such as rocks or roots.

  • Organic Matter: Incorporate organic matter into the soil, such as well-rotted compost or aged manure. This improves the soil structure, fertility, and water retention capacity. Work the organic matter into the soil to a depth of at least 6-8 inches.

  • Soil pH: Bunching onions prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH in the range of 6.0 to 7.0. If necessary, conduct a soil test to determine the pH level and make adjustments using lime or sulfur as recommended.

  • Soil Texture: Bunching onions grow best in loamy soil that is well-draining. If the soil is heavy clay or excessively sandy, amending it with organic matter can improve its texture and drainage.

By ensuring the soil is properly prepared with the right texture, fertility, and pH level, you create an ideal environment for planting and growing healthy bunching onions.

Site Selection For Planting Bunching Onions

Selecting the right site for planting bunching onions is crucial for their overall growth and development. Here are the key considerations when choosing a location for your bunching onion garden:

  • Sunlight: Bunching onions thrive in full sun, so select a site that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Adequate sunlight promotes robust growth and higher yields of green onion foliage.

  • Air Circulation: Choose a location with good air circulation to minimize the risk of fungal diseases. Avoid planting bunching onions in low-lying, stagnant areas where air circulation may be poor.

  • Proximity to Other Crops: Consider the layout of your garden and the proximity of other crops. Avoid planting bunching onions in areas where they may be overshadowed by taller plants or crowded by nearby vegetables.

  • Soil Drainage: Ensure the selected site has good natural drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to rot and other moisture-related issues. Avoid low-lying areas that tend to collect water.

By carefully selecting a site that meets these criteria, you can provide optimal growing conditions for your bunching onions and maximize their growth potential.

Best Time To Plant Bunching Onions

The timing of planting is crucial for the success of bunching onions. The best time to plant bunching onions is during the early spring for a summer harvest or in the fall for a late fall or early spring harvest. Here are the guidelines for planting bunching onions based on the seasonal timing:

  • Spring Planting: If planting in the spring, wait until the soil has become workable and the last frost has passed. Bunching onions can be planted in early spring, typically around 2-4 weeks before the last expected frost date.

  • Fall Planting: For a fall crop or overwintering for an early spring harvest, plant bunching onions in late summer to early fall. This allows the onions to establish before the winter sets in, providing an early spring harvest the following year.

By planting at the appropriate time, you can take advantage of the optimal growing conditions and ensure a successful harvest of fresh bunching onions.

Selecting The Right Variety

When it comes to planting bunching onions, choosing the right variety is essential for achieving the desired flavor, size, and adaptability to your local climate. Here are some popular varieties of bunching onions to consider:

  • Evergreen Hardy White: This variety is known for its hardiness and ability to withstand cool temperatures. It produces long, slender stalks with a mild flavor, making it a versatile choice for culinary use.

  • Ishikura Long White: With its long, slender stems and mild, sweet flavor, this variety is often favored by gardeners. It tends to be more heat-tolerant than other varieties, making it suitable for a wide range of growing conditions.

  • Beltsville Bunching: Known for its uniform, upright growth habit and mild flavor, this variety is a popular choice for both home gardeners and commercial growers. It is well-suited for spring and fall plantings.

  • Guardsman: Guardsman is a reliable bunching onion variety with dark green foliage and a robust, upright growth habit. It offers excellent disease resistance and is well-adapted to various growing conditions.

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When selecting a variety, consider factors such as your climate, preferred flavor profile, and intended use (fresh consumption, culinary purposes, etc.). By choosing a variety that suits your specific growing conditions and culinary preferences, you can enhance the overall success of your bunching onion garden.

Planting bunching onions provides a rewarding experience for gardeners, yielding a versatile and flavorful ingredient for a wide range of dishes. By preparing the soil, selecting the right site, timing the planting, choosing the appropriate variety, and following best practices for care and maintenance, you can cultivate a healthy crop of bunching onions. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, these comprehensive guidelines will help you grow vibrant bunching onions and enjoy their fresh, flavorful greens throughout the growing season. With careful attention to soil preparation, planting techniques, and ongoing care, you can look forward to a bountiful harvest of fresh bunching onions in your own garden.

Preparing The Soil For Planting

Bunching onions, also known as green onions or scallions, are a versatile and flavorful addition to any garden. Not only do they provide a delicious addition to your culinary creations, but they are also relatively easy to grow. Bunching onions are known for their mild, onion-like taste and are commonly used in salads, stir-fries, and other dishes.

Before planting any vegetable, it is essential to prepare the soil to create an optimal growing environment. Here are the steps to follow to ensure that your bunching onions thrive:

  1. Choose the right location: Bunching onions prefer full sun to partial shade, so select a location in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Additionally, ensure that the area has well-draining soil to prevent waterlogged roots.

  2. Clear the area: Remove any existing weeds, grass, or debris from the planting area. This will help prevent competition for nutrients and give your onions the best chance of growing successfully.

  3. Test the soil: Use a soil testing kit to determine the pH level of your soil. Bunching onions prefer a slightly acidic soil, with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. If your soil’s pH level is too high, you can lower it by adding organic matter such as compost, peat moss, or well-rotted manure.

  4. Add organic matter: Improve the soil’s fertility and texture by incorporating organic matter. This will help with drainage and provide essential nutrients to the plants. Spread a layer of compost or well-rotted manure over the planting area and till it into the soil to a depth of about 6-8 inches.

  5. Fertilize the soil: Bunching onions benefit from a balanced fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content. Before planting, apply a granular fertilizer following the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, you can use a slow-release organic fertilizer, which will provide a steady supply of nutrients over time.

Planting Bunching Onions

Once you have prepared the soil, it’s time to plant your bunching onions. Follow these steps for a successful planting:

  1. Choose the right variety: There are various varieties of bunching onions available, so select the one that best suits your preferences and growing conditions. Some popular varieties include “Evergreen Long White”, “Red Baron”, and “White Lisbon”.

  2. Start with seeds or sets: Bunching onions can be grown from both seeds and sets. Seeds are a more cost-effective option, and they provide a greater variety of choices. Sets are small bulbs that are already partially grown and offer a shortcut to harvesting. Whichever option you choose, make sure they are fresh and of high quality.

  3. Determine the spacing: Bunching onions need adequate space to grow and expand. Space the plants approximately 4-6 inches apart in rows that are around 12-18 inches apart. The spacing may vary depending on the variety and growing conditions, so refer to the seed packet or plant label for specific instructions.

  4. Plant the seeds or sets: If using seeds, sow them directly into the prepared soil according to the recommended depth specified on the seed packet. Lightly cover the seeds with soil and gently pat it down to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. If using sets, plant them by gently placing them on the soil surface and covering them with a thin layer of soil.

  5. Water the newly planted onions: After planting, give the soil a thorough watering. This will help settle the soil around the seeds or sets and provide immediate moisture to encourage germination or growth.

  6. Consider succession planting: To enjoy a continuous harvest of bunching onions, consider succession planting. Plant a small batch of seeds or sets every couple of weeks to ensure a staggered harvest throughout the growing season.

Watering Requirements For Bunching Onions

Proper watering is crucial for the success of any plant, and bunching onions are no exception. Here are some watering guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Avoid overwatering: Bunching onions prefer evenly moist soil but are susceptible to rot if the soil is consistently waterlogged. Therefore, it is essential to strike the right balance. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out slightly before watering again.

  2. Water deeply but infrequently: When you water your bunching onions, give them a thorough soaking. This will encourage the roots to grow deeply into the soil. However, avoid frequent shallow watering, as this can lead to shallow root growth and weak plants.

  3. Use drip irrigation or a soaker hose: To minimize the risk of overwatering and ensure that water reaches the roots, consider using drip irrigation or a soaker hose. These methods deliver water directly to the soil, reducing evaporation and keeping the foliage dry, which helps prevent disease.

  4. Water during dry spells: During prolonged periods of dry weather or drought, closely monitor the soil moisture. If the soil becomes excessively dry, water your bunching onions deeply to prevent stress and maintain healthy growth.

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Mulching For Bunching Onions

Mulching is an excellent practice for maintaining soil moisture, suppressing weeds, and regulating soil temperature. Here’s how you can effectively mulch your bunching onions:

  1. Choose the right mulch: Organic mulches, such as straw, shredded leaves, or grass clippings, are ideal for bunching onions. They slowly break down, adding organic matter to the soil as they decompose. Avoid using heavy mulch materials like wood chips, as they can interfere with the growth of the onion bulbs.

  2. Apply a layer of mulch: Once the onion seedlings have emerged and are a few inches tall, apply a layer of mulch around them. Ensure that the mulch is applied in a loose layer, approximately 2-3 inches thick, leaving a small gap around the plant stems to prevent rot.

  3. Replenish the mulch: Over time, the mulch may break down or become compacted. Replenish the mulch layer as needed, aiming to maintain a consistent depth to continue reaping the benefits of moisture retention and weed suppression.

  4. Remove weeds before mulching: Before applying mulch, remove any existing weeds in the onion bed. This will prevent them from growing through the mulch and competing with the onions for nutrients and water.

Growing your own bunching onions can be a rewarding experience and provide you with a fresh supply of this versatile vegetable. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can establish a thriving bunching onion bed and enjoy the satisfaction of harvesting your homegrown produce. Remember to prepare the soil correctly, choose the right variety, plant at the appropriate spacing, and provide adequate water and mulch. Soon enough, you’ll be harvesting flavorful bunching onions to enhance your culinary creations.

Fertilizing Bunching Onions

Bunching onions, also known as scallions or green onions, are a versatile and popular addition to many culinary dishes. They are easy to grow and can be harvested at various stages of growth, depending on whether you prefer the tender green shoots or the more mature white bulbs.

Before planting bunching onions, it is important to prepare the soil properly and provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Bunching onions prefer well-drained soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0.

  1. Soil Preparation: Begin by clearing the planting area of any weeds or debris. Loosen the soil using a garden fork or tiller, ensuring that it is free from clumps. Remove any rocks or stones that may hinder onion growth.

  2. Organic Matter: Bunching onions thrive in soil that is rich in organic matter. Add compost or well-rotted manure to the planting area and mix it in thoroughly to improve soil fertility and moisture retention.

  3. Nitrogen: Nitrogen is essential for the growth of onion foliage. Prior to planting, apply a balanced nitrogen-rich fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 14-14-14, based on the recommendations provided on the packaging. Work the fertilizer into the top 4-6 inches of soil.

  4. Side-Dressing: To encourage continuous growth, you can side-dress the onions with nitrogen-rich fertilizer once the shoots have emerged. Apply a small amount of fertilizer along each row, taking care to keep it away from the base of the plants.

Harvesting And Storing Bunching Onions

Bunching onions can be harvested at various stages of growth, depending on your preference and culinary needs. Here’s how to harvest and store them properly:

  1. Harvesting Young Scallions: If you prefer the tender green tops of bunching onions, you can start harvesting them once the shoots have reached a height of around 6-8 inches. Simply grasp the greens near the soil line and pull gently to remove the entire plant. You can store the harvested scallions in the refrigerator for up to a week.

  2. Harvesting Mature Bunching Onions: If you prefer the more developed white bulbs, allow the plants to grow for a longer period. Once the foliage begins to yellow and fall over, it is a sign that the onions are ready for harvest. Carefully loosen the soil around the bulbs using a garden fork or shovel, and then lift them out of the ground. Trim off the roots and store the harvested onions in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area for several weeks.

  3. Storing Bunching Onions: Bunching onions can be stored in a variety of ways depending on whether you have harvested young scallions or mature bulbs. Young scallions can be stored loosely in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, while mature bulbs should be cured before storing. To cure the onions, lay them out in a single layer on a tray in a well-ventilated area for about two weeks. Once the outer layers of the bulbs have dried and the tops have withered, trim off the foliage and store the onions in a cool and dark place.

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Common Pests And Diseases

Like any other plant, bunching onions are susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Here are some common ones to watch out for and how to prevent or treat them:

  1. Onion Maggots: These pests are tiny, white larvae that feed on the roots of onion plants, causing stunted growth and yellowing foliage. To prevent onion maggot infestations, use row covers or floating row covers to protect the plants. You can also practice crop rotation, avoiding planting onions or other allium crops in the same area for at least three years.

  2. Thrips: Thrips are small insects that feed on onion foliage, causing silver streaks and distorted leaves. To control thrips, regularly inspect the plants and remove any affected leaves. Insecticidal soap or neem oil can also be used to treat severe infestations.

  3. Fusarium Basal Rot: Fusarium basal rot is a fungal disease that affects the onion bulbs, causing them to rot and become mushy. To prevent this disease, ensure proper soil drainage and avoid overwatering. Remove and destroy any infected plants to prevent the spread of the fungus.

  4. Downy Mildew: Downy mildew is a common fungal disease that affects the leaves of onion plants, causing yellow spots and eventually leading to their death. To prevent downy mildew, provide adequate spacing between plants to promote airflow, and avoid wetting the foliage when watering.

Tips For Successful Bunching Onion Planting

To ensure a successful crop of bunching onions, consider the following tips:

  1. Choose the Right Variety: There are several varieties of bunching onions available, each with its own unique flavor and growth characteristics. Choose a variety that suits your preferences and climate conditions.

  2. Proper Spacing: Bunching onions should be spaced around 4-6 inches apart to allow sufficient room for growth. Adequate spacing also helps prevent the spread of diseases.

  3. Watering: Bunching onions require consistent moisture, but they should not be overwatered. Water the plants deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions. Avoid overhead watering, as wet foliage can increase the risk of disease.

  4. Weed Control: Keep the planting area weed-free to minimize competition for nutrients and water. Regularly remove any weeds that may emerge around the onion plants.

  5. Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or compost, around the onion plants can help suppress weeds, retain soil moisture, and maintain a more stable soil temperature.

  6. Companion Planting: Bunching onions can benefit from certain companion plants, such as lettuce, carrots, and beets. These companion plants can help deter pests and provide shade for the onion plants.

  7. Crop Rotation: Rotate the location of your onion beds each year to reduce the risk of pest and disease buildup in the soil.


Growing bunching onions can be a rewarding and straightforward gardening experience. By following the proper planting techniques, fertilizing recommendations, and implementing pest and disease prevention measures, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh and flavorful bunching onions. Remember to harvest the onions at the desired stage of growth and store them appropriately to prolong their shelf life. With a little care and attention, you can enjoy the delicious taste of homegrown bunching onions in your favorite dishes.


What Type Of Soil Is Best For Planting Bunching Onions?

Bunching onions prefer well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH (around 6.0-6.8). However, they can also thrive in sandy or clay soils with proper amendments and drainage.

When Is The Best Time To Plant Bunching Onions?

Bunching onions can be planted in the early spring or fall, depending on your climate. They prefer cooler temperatures and can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. In warmer climates, they can also be planted in the fall for a winter harvest.

How Do I Prepare The Planting Site For Bunching Onions?

Bunching onions require a looser soil structure, so it is important to loosen the soil and remove any rocks or debris before planting. Adding organic matter or compost can also help improve the soil’s texture and provide nutrients.

How Far Apart Should I Space Each Bunching Onion Plant?

When planting bunching onions, space each plant 4-6 inches apart in rows that are 12-18 inches apart. If you are planting in a container, you can space the plants closer together, with about 2-3 inches between each plant.

How Often Should I Water My Bunching Onions?

Bunching onions have shallow roots, so they should be watered consistently to keep the soil moist. However, ensure that the soil does not become waterlogged, as this can lead to rot. Water 1-2 times a week, depending on the weather, and adjust as needed. Adding a layer of mulch around the plants can also help retain moisture in the soil.