How To Plant Green Onions From Seed [ Full Guide ]

Green onions, also known as scallions, are a versatile and delicious addition to any kitchen garden. Planting them from seed can be a rewarding experience, providing you with fresh, flavorful green onions for culinary use. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of planting green onions from seed, covering everything from the benefits of growing them from seed to the necessary equipment and step-by-step instructions for a successful harvest.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Green Onions From Seed

To plant green onions from seed, begin by preparing a well-draining soil mix in a container or garden bed. Sow the seeds thinly and cover lightly with soil. Water the seeds gently, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist. Keep the seeds in a warm and sunny location, and within a few weeks, you will notice the green onion shoots emerging. Regular watering and care will result in a bountiful harvest of fresh green onions.

Benefits Of Planting Green Onions From Seed

There are numerous advantages to planting green onions from seed rather than sets or transplants. When you grow green onions from seed, you have greater control over the variety you want to grow. Additionally, seeds are often more readily available and economical compared to onion sets. Planting from seed also allows you to start fresh and ensures that your onions are free from any diseases or pests that can be carried over from sets.

Moreover, growing green onions from seed gives you the satisfaction of nurturing a plant from its earliest stage, leading to a deeper connection with the gardening process. This method also provides the opportunity to experiment with different varieties and observe the complete lifecycle of the onion plant, from seed to harvest.

Necessary Gardening Equipment And Tools

Before you begin planting green onions from seed, it’s essential to gather the necessary gardening equipment and tools. Here’s a list of items you may need:

  1. Containers or Garden Bed: Choose a container with good drainage holes or prepare a garden bed with well-draining soil.

  2. Soil Mix: Opt for a well-draining, loose soil mix that is rich in organic matter.

  3. Seeds: Select high-quality green onion seeds from a reputable supplier.

  4. Watering Can or Hose: Ensure you have a reliable method for watering your seeds and seedlings.

  5. Trowel or Garden Spade: You will need a tool for sowing the seeds and working with the soil.

  6. Mulch (Optional): Consider having organic mulch on hand for moisture retention and weed suppression.

  7. Fertilizer (Optional): Depending on the fertility of your soil, you may require a balanced fertilizer to supplement the nutrients.

Gathering these items beforehand will streamline the planting process and set you up for success in growing green onions from seed.

Choosing The Right Soil For Green Onion Seeds

Choosing the right soil is crucial for the successful germination and growth of green onion seeds. Green onions thrive in well-draining, loose soil that is rich in organic matter. A high-quality potting mix designed for seed starting is ideal for container planting, while a raised garden bed filled with well-amended soil can also provide an excellent growing environment for green onions.

The soil pH for green onions should ideally be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging between 6.0 and 7.0. Conduct a soil test if needed and amend the soil accordingly to achieve the optimal pH level. This will ensure that the green onion seeds have the best possible environment for germination and growth.

Seed Selection And Preparation

When it comes to seed selection, choose high-quality green onion seeds from a reputable source. Look for seeds that are plump, uniform in size, and free from any signs of damage or decay. It’s advisable to purchase fresh seeds from a reliable supplier to maximize the chances of successful germination.

Before planting, consider pre-soaking the green onion seeds for several hours or overnight to help soften the seed coat and encourage faster germination. This can be done by placing the seeds in a small container with water and allowing them to soak before sowing. After soaking, drain the seeds thoroughly before planting.

Step-by-Step Guide To Planting Green Onions From Seed

Now that you have gathered the necessary equipment and prepared the soil, it’s time to plant your green onion seeds. Follow these step-by-step instructions for a successful planting process:

Step 1: Prepare The Planting Container Or Garden Bed

If using a container, ensure it has adequate drainage holes. Fill the container with the chosen soil mix, leaving about an inch of space at the top to accommodate watering. If planting in a garden bed, loosen the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches and incorporate any necessary amendments.

Step 2: Sow The Green Onion Seeds

Sow the green onion seeds thinly and evenly across the surface of the soil. For container planting, gently press the seeds into the soil, and for garden bed planting, create shallow furrows or rows for sowing the seeds. Lightly cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil or compost, ensuring they are just covered and not buried too deeply.

Step 3: Water The Seeds

Water the planted seeds gently but thoroughly, ensuring the soil is evenly moist but not waterlogged. It’s essential to maintain consistent moisture during the germination and early growth stages. Consider using a fine mist setting on a watering can or hose to avoid disturbing the seeds and soil.

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Step 4: Provide Optimal Growing Conditions

Place the planted seeds in a warm, sunny location that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. If growing in a container, consider placing it in a location that is sheltered from strong winds. Maintain a consistent temperature of around 65-75°F (18-24°C) to promote optimal germination and growth.

Step 5: Monitor And Care For Seedlings

Keep a close eye on the planted seeds, monitoring soil moisture and providing water as needed. Once the green onion shoots emerge and develop into seedlings, ensure they have adequate spacing to prevent overcrowding. Thin the seedlings if necessary, allowing them to reach their full potential without competition.

Step 6: Consider Mulching And Fertilizing (Optional)

Consider applying a layer of organic mulch around the seedlings to retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Additionally, if the soil lacks fertility, consider applying a balanced fertilizer following the recommended application rates for onions or leafy greens.

Following these steps will set the stage for healthy and vigorous green onion seedlings to emerge and thrive, leading to a bountiful harvest in the weeks to come.

Planting green onions from seed is a gratifying and relatively straightforward process that can yield a plentiful supply of fresh, flavorful green onions for use in your culinary endeavors. By selecting high-quality seeds, preparing the right soil, and providing optimal growing conditions, you can successfully grow green onions from seed with a bit of care and attention. Whether you have a garden bed or a collection of containers, the process remains the same, and the rewards are well worth the effort. With the information provided in this guide, you are well-equipped to embark on your green onion seed planting journey and enjoy the satisfaction of growing this versatile and beloved vegetable from seed to harvest.

Optimal Temperature And Light Conditions For Green Onion Seedlings

Green onions, also known as scallions or spring onions, are versatile vegetables that can add a fresh and mild onion flavor to a variety of dishes. While they are readily available at grocery stores, planting green onions from seed can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to indulge in their vibrant taste.

Before we delve into the actual planting process, it is important to ensure that the green onion seedlings have the right temperature and light conditions to thrive. Green onions are cool-season crops, so they prefer moderate temperatures ranging from 55°F to 75°F (13°C to 24°C). They can tolerate light frosts, but extremely cold temperatures can inhibit their growth.

To provide the optimal temperature for green onion seedlings, begin by starting the seeds indoors. Fill seed trays or pots with well-draining potting soil or seed-starting mix. Sow the seeds at a depth of about ¼ inch (6 mm) and lightly cover them with soil. Place the trays or pots in a warm location with a temperature between 70°F and 75°F (21°C and 24°C). You can use a heating mat under the trays to maintain a consistent temperature if necessary.

Once the seedlings have emerged, it is essential to provide them with adequate light. Green onions require at least 12 to 14 hours of sunlight daily for healthy growth. If you are growing them indoors, place the seedlings near a south-facing window where they can receive ample sunlight. Alternatively, you can use grow lights to provide the necessary light intensity for the seedlings.

Appropriate Watering And Fertilization Techniques

Proper watering and fertilization play a crucial role in the growth and development of green onion seedlings. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while under-watering can stunt their growth. Finding the right balance is vital for healthy plants.

When watering green onion seedlings, it is essential to provide them with moisture consistently. The soil should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. To determine if the soil is moist enough, gently touch the top layer of soil. If it feels dry to the touch, it is time to water.

To fertilize green onions, use a balanced fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 or 14-14-14. Before planting the seeds, amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility. This will provide the seedlings with essential nutrients for healthy growth.

Once the seedlings have reached a height of 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm), side-dress them with a slow-release fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer according to the package instructions, focusing on the area around the plants, and gently work it into the soil. This will supply a steady source of nutrients to the developing plants throughout the growing season.

Preparing The Planting Site

Before transplanting your green onion seedlings into the garden, it is important to prepare the planting site properly. Green onions require well-draining, fertile soil to grow successfully. Choose a location in your garden that receives full sun or partial shade.

Start by clearing any weeds or debris from the chosen planting area. Loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller to a depth of 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm). This will ensure the roots have ample room to grow and thrive.

Once the soil is prepared, you can improve its fertility by incorporating organic matter. Mix in compost, well-rotted manure, or a balanced organic fertilizer to enrich the soil with essential nutrients. This will provide a favorable growing environment for your green onion seedlings.

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Planting Green Onion Seeds

Now that your seedlings are sturdy enough and the planting site is ready, it is time to transplant your green onion seedlings into the garden. Follow these steps to ensure successful planting:

  1. Begin by gently removing the green onion seedlings from the seed trays or pots. Be extra careful with the delicate roots to avoid damaging them.
  2. Dig shallow trenches in the prepared soil, spaced about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) apart. The trenches should be deep enough to accommodate the seedlings’ roots without bending or crowding them.
  3. Carefully place the seedlings in the trenches, spacing them about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Ensure that the roots are fully covered with soil but that the growing tip remains above ground.
  4. Gently press the soil around the seedlings to secure them in place.
  5. After planting, water the seedlings thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots and provide them with moisture.

Planting green onions from seed can be an enjoyable and cost-effective way to grow these flavorful vegetables. By providing the optimal temperature and light conditions for seedlings, ensuring appropriate watering and fertilization techniques, and preparing the planting site adequately, you can create the ideal environment for your green onion seedlings to thrive. By following the step-by-step process of planting green onion seeds, you will soon be rewarded with a bountiful harvest of fresh and delicious spring onions to enhance your culinary creations.

Proper Post-planting Care And Maintenance

Green onions, also known as scallions or spring onions, are a delicious addition to salads, stir-fries, and other dishes. They can be easily grown from seed in your home garden, allowing you to enjoy the fresh taste of homegrown green onions.

Once you have acquired your green onion seeds, follow these steps to ensure successful growth:

1. Soil Preparation:
Green onions prefer loose, well-drained soil. Before planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris. Loosen the soil using a garden fork or tiller to a depth of 6-8 inches. Incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility and moisture retention.

2. Planting Depth and Spacing:
Sow green onion seeds directly into the prepared soil. The ideal planting depth is about ¼ inch (0.6 cm). Sow the seeds in rows with a spacing of 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) between each row. For individual plants, leave a gap of about 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) between each seed.

3. Watering:
Water the newly planted seeds gently but thoroughly. Maintaining consistent soil moisture is crucial for their germination and early growth. Use a watering can or a gentle spray nozzle on your hose to avoid washing away the seeds. Aim to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, until the green onions start to sprout.

4. Sunlight and Temperature:
Green onions thrive in full sunlight and require at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. They also prefer moderate temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C). Ensure your chosen planting location provides the necessary sunlight and a suitable temperature range.

5. Thinning:
Once the green onion seedlings emerge and grow to about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) tall, thin them to ensure proper spacing and promote healthy growth. Thin the seedlings to a distance of approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Removing some of the excess seedlings will allow the remaining plants to have ample space and resources to grow.

6. Mulching:
Mulching around the green onion plants helps conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and maintain a consistent soil temperature. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the plants, being careful not to cover the green onion shoots. This will also help prevent competition from weeds.

7. Fertilization:
Green onions generally do not require excessive fertilization, as they have relatively low nutrient requirements. However, incorporating a balanced, organic fertilizer into the soil before planting can help provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Additionally, side-dress the plants with compost or a nitrogen-rich fertilizer halfway through the growing season to promote continuous growth.

Identifying Common Problems And Pests

Despite being relatively easy to grow, green onions are susceptible to certain problems and pests. Here are some common issues you may encounter and ways to manage them:

1. Bolting:
Bolting refers to when a plant prematurely produces a flowering stem, diverting energy away from the leaves. Green onions are particularly prone to bolting in response to high temperatures or other environmental stressors. To prevent bolting, choose slow-bolting varieties and ensure the plants receive adequate water and shade during hot periods.

2. Thrips:
Thrips are tiny insects that feed on green onion leaves, causing browning, wilting, and distorted growth. To manage thrips, regularly inspect your plants and remove any affected leaves. You can also spray a mild insecticidal soap or neem oil solution following the manufacturer’s instructions. Introducing beneficial insects, such as ladybugs or lacewings, can also help control thrips naturally.

3. Onion Maggots:
The onion maggot is a common pest that attacks the roots of onion plants, including green onions. The maggots burrow into the roots, causing plants to wilt and die. To prevent onion maggot infestation, use row covers to physically exclude the flies, especially during peak egg-laying periods. Crop rotation and removing any overwintering onion debris can also help reduce the risk of infestation.

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4. White Rot:
White rot is a fungal disease that affects the bulbs and roots of the green onion plants. It causes wilting, yellowing, and eventually rotting of the onion tissues. To manage white rot, practice crop rotation and proper sanitation by removing infected plant debris. Avoid excessive watering and ensure good air circulation around the plants. There are also fungicides available for severe infestations, but preventive measures are generally more effective.

Harvesting Green Onions

Green onions can be harvested at any stage of growth, depending on your preference. Here’s how to harvest them:

1. Scallion Harvest:
If you prefer small, tender green onions, start harvesting when the plants are about 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) tall. Carefully lift the whole plant from the soil using a garden fork or gently pull it by hand. Trim off the roots and any damaged or yellow leaves. Rinse the green onions with water, and they are ready to be used in your favorite recipes.

2. Bulb Onion Harvest:
If you prefer mature bulb onions, allow the green onion plants to grow further. Typically, harvesting mature bulb onions occurs around 60-120 days after planting, depending on the variety. When the onions have reached the desired size and the tops start to yellow and fall over, carefully dig them out of the soil using a garden fork. Allow the onions to cure in a cool, dry place for a few weeks before storing them for long-term use.

Fun Recipe Ideas For Using Fresh Green Onions

Green onions add a fresh and vibrant flavor to numerous dishes. Here are some fun recipe ideas to incorporate your homegrown green onions:

1. Green Onion Pancakes:
Make savory pancakes by combining green onions, flour, water, salt, and oil. Flatten the dough and pan-fry it until golden brown and crispy. Cut into wedges and serve with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar, and chili oil.

2. Stir-fried Green Onions:
Create a quick and simple stir-fry by sautéing green onions with garlic, ginger, and your choice of protein (such as tofu, chicken, or shrimp). Add soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil for a delicious finishing touch.

3. Green Onion Soup:
Sauté chopped green onions with butter until soft. Add vegetable or chicken broth and simmer until flavors meld together. Puree the soup and add cream or yogurt for a creamy texture. Season with salt, pepper, and herbs of your choice.

4. Green Onion Kimchi:
Make a unique variation of kimchi by fermenting chopped green onions with garlic, chili pepper flakes, ginger, fish sauce, and a touch of sugar. Allow it to ferment for a few days, and then enjoy this tangy and spicy condiment with rice or as a side dish.


Growing green onions from seed can be a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy the freshness and versatility of homegrown produce. By following the proper planting techniques, providing adequate care and maintenance, and identifying and treating common problems and pests, you can ensure a successful harvest of flavorful green onions. Try incorporating these vibrant vegetables into your favorite recipes and explore new culinary possibilities with the addition of fresh green onions.


What Is The Best Time To Plant Green Onions From Seed?

It is best to sow the seeds in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. This will give the green onions time to grow before the hot summer weather arrives.

Can I Plant Green Onion Seeds Directly Into The Ground?

Yes, you can plant the seeds directly into the ground as long as the soil is well-draining and has been prepared with compost or fertilizer. You can also plant them in containers if your soil is not suitable for direct planting.

How Deep Should I Plant Green Onion Seeds?

Green onion seeds should be planted about ½ inch deep and then covered with a thin layer of soil. Be sure not to pack the soil too tightly to allow room for the seeds to germinate and grow.

How Far Apart Should I Space Green Onion Seeds?

Space your seeds about 1 inch apart to allow room for the green onions to grow and mature. If you are planting in rows, space the rows about 6 inches apart.

How Often Should I Water Green Onions Seeds?

Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, by watering the seeds once or twice a day. Be careful not to over-water as this can cause the seeds to rot. Once the green onions have sprouted, water deeply once a week, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between watering.