How To Plant Green Onions In Soil [ Full Guide ]

Green onions, also known as scallions, are a popular and versatile addition to various dishes, adding subtle onion flavor and vibrant color. While they are readily available in most supermarkets, growing them at home is a satisfying and cost-effective option. Planting green onions in soil is a simple and rewarding process that can be accomplished with a few basic steps. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of planting green onions in soil, from selecting the right soil to harvesting your homegrown scallions.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Green Onions In Soil

Planting green onions in soil involves preparing the soil, selecting appropriate seeds or sets, and ensuring proper care and maintenance. Follow these quick steps to get started:

  1. Choose a well-draining soil rich in organic matter.
  2. Prepare the soil by loosening it to a depth of 6-8 inches and incorporating compost.
  3. Select green onion seeds or sets from a reputable source.
  4. Plant the seeds or sets in rows, spacing them approximately 1 inch apart and covering them with a thin layer of soil.
  5. Water the soil thoroughly after planting and keep it consistently moist.
  6. As the green onions grow, provide adequate sunlight and regular watering.

By following these steps, you can successfully plant green onions in soil and cultivate a bountiful harvest of fresh, flavorful scallions.

Choosing The Right Soil For Green Onions

Selecting the appropriate soil is crucial for the successful growth of green onions. Ideally, green onions thrive in well-draining, fertile soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level. The soil should be rich in organic matter to provide essential nutrients for the green onion plants.

When choosing soil for green onions, consider the following factors:


The soil should have a light, loamy texture that allows for proper drainage while retaining adequate moisture for the plants. Avoid heavy clay soils that may become waterlogged and hinder root development.

Ph Level

Green onions prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH level ranging from 6.0 to 7.0. Conduct a soil test using a home testing kit or send a sample to a local cooperative extension office to determine the pH level of your soil. If necessary, amend the soil with lime to raise the pH or elemental sulfur to lower it.

Nutrient Content

Ensure that the soil is rich in essential nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, can be added to the soil to improve its nutrient content and enhance the growth of green onions.

Preparing The Soil For Planting Green Onions

Before planting green onions in soil, it is essential to prepare the soil to create an optimal environment for their growth. Follow these steps to prepare the soil for planting green onions:

Loosening The Soil

Using a garden fork or a tiller, loosen the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. This process helps improve aeration, drainage, and root penetration. Break up any large clumps of soil and remove debris such as rocks or roots.

Incorporating Compost

Add a generous amount of well-decomposed compost to the soil. Compost enhances the soil structure, provides essential nutrients, and promotes microbial activity, thereby creating a fertile environment for the green onions to thrive.

Organic Matter Amendments

Consider incorporating organic matter such as well-rotted manure or composted leaves into the soil to further enrich it with nutrients. Work the organic matter into the soil to ensure even distribution.

Soil Leveling

After amending the soil, level the surface using a rake to create a smooth and uniform planting area. This helps in achieving consistent planting depth and ensures uniform growth of green onions.

By meticulously preparing the soil, you establish an optimal foundation for planting green onions and set the stage for successful cultivation.

Selecting Green Onion Seeds Or Sets

The next step in planting green onions in soil involves selecting the appropriate seeds or sets. Green onions can be propagated from seeds, sets (immature bulbs), or transplants. When choosing seeds or sets, consider the following factors:


Select high-quality green onion seeds from a reputable source. Look for varieties suited to your climate and growing conditions. Opt for seeds that are fresh, disease-resistant, and have a high germination rate. Popular green onion varieties include ‘Evergreen Hardy White’, ‘White Lisbon’, and “Ishikura”.


Alternatively, you can choose to plant green onion sets, which are small, immature bulbs that are typically used for propagation. When selecting sets, ensure that they are firm, free from any signs of damage or disease, and have a good root system.


Transplants are young green onion plants that have been started from seeds and are then transplanted into the soil. While transplants provide a head start in the growth process, they may not be as readily available as seeds or sets.

Selecting high-quality seeds or sets is crucial for establishing robust and productive green onion plants in your garden.

Tips For Planting Green Onions In Soil

Planting green onions in soil requires attention to detail and proper care to ensure the best possible results. Consider implementing the following tips to maximize the success of your green onion cultivation:

Planting Depth And Spacing

When planting green onion seeds, sow them approximately ¼ inch deep in the soil, and space them about 1 inch apart in rows. For sets, plant them at a depth of 1 inch and space them 2-3 inches apart. Ensure that the green onion plants have ample room to develop without overcrowding.


Provide adequate moisture to the soil after planting the green onions. Water the soil thoroughly to ensure that it is evenly moist but not waterlogged. As the green onions grow, maintain consistent soil moisture by watering them regularly, especially during dry periods.


Green onions thrive in full sun, requiring at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Select a planting location that receives ample sunlight to promote healthy growth and development. In regions with intense summer heat, partial shade during the hottest part of the day may benefit the plants.


Although green onions do not require heavy feeding, they can benefit from a balanced fertilizer application. Apply a complete, balanced fertilizer with a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K) ratio of 10-10-10 or similar around the green onion plants a few weeks after planting to provide additional nutrients for growth.

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Consider applying a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the green onion plants to help conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Mulching also contributes to soil health as it decomposes over time, adding organic matter to the soil.


After the green onion seeds have germinated, thin the seedlings to the desired spacing, typically leaving them 2-3 inches apart. Use scissors to snip off the excess seedlings at the soil level to avoid disturbing the remaining plants.

Pest And Disease Management

Monitor the green onion plants for signs of pests or diseases and take appropriate measures to address any issues promptly. Common pests that may affect green onions include thrips, aphids, and onion maggots. Employ cultural practices and organic pest control methods as necessary to manage potential threats.

By adhering to these tips and best practices, you can ensure that your green onions receive the care and attention they need to flourish and produce a plentiful harvest.

Planting green onions in soil is a straightforward and gratifying endeavor that allows you to enjoy a continuous supply of fresh, homegrown scallions. By selecting the right soil, preparing it meticulously, choosing quality seeds or sets, and providing proper care, you can cultivate robust green onion plants that yield flavorful, tender scallions for culinary use. Whether you are an experienced gardener or a novice enthusiast, growing green onions in soil is an enriching experience that offers the satisfaction of harvesting your own bountiful crop of this versatile and delectable vegetable. With the knowledge and guidance provided in this comprehensive guide, you are well-equipped to embark on a successful journey of planting and nurturing green onions in your garden.

Watering Green Onions: Dos And Don’ts

Green onions, also known as scallions or spring onions, are a versatile and flavorful addition to any garden. Not only are they easy to grow, but they also add a delicious crunch and subtle onion flavor to salads, stir-fries, and other dishes. Whether you’re a novice gardener or an experienced one, planting green onions in soil can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Proper watering is vital for the health and growth of green onions. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:


  1. Consistent moisture: Green onions thrive in soil that is consistently moist but not waterlogged. It’s important to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season.
  2. Deep watering: When watering, make sure to water deeply, allowing the water to reach the root zone. This encourages the onions to develop strong, deep roots.
  3. Water in the morning: Watering in the morning allows the foliage to dry off during the day, which reduces the risk of fungal diseases.
  4. Use drip irrigation or a watering can: Using drip irrigation or a watering can with a fine rose attachment provides a gentle and controlled flow of water, minimizing soil erosion and preventing water pooling.


  1. Watering too frequently: Overwatering green onions can lead to root rot and other diseases. It’s important to strike a balance and avoid watering too frequently.
  2. Watering late in the day: Watering late in the day can lead to prolonged leaf wetness, making the plants susceptible to diseases.

Fertilizing Green Onions: What To Know

Green onions are relatively low-maintenance when it comes to fertilizing. However, providing them with essential nutrients will help ensure healthy growth and maximize yields. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Organic matter: Before planting green onions, incorporate well-rotted organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, into the soil. This will enrich the soil with nutrients and improve its structure.
  2. Slow-release fertilizer: A balanced slow-release fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 can be applied at planting time. Follow the recommended application rate on the fertilizer packaging to avoid over-fertilization.
  3. Side-dressing: After the green onions have started growing, you can side-dress them with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, such as blood meal or fish emulsion. Apply the fertilizer according to the package instructions and lightly work it into the soil around the base of the plants.
  4. Avoid excessive nitrogen: While green onions benefit from nitrogen, excessive nitrogen can promote excessive foliage growth at the expense of bulb development.
  5. Monitor nutrient deficiencies: Keep an eye out for any signs of nutrient deficiencies, such as yellowing leaves or stunted growth. If deficiencies occur, adjust your fertilization accordingly.

Mulching Green Onions For Better Growth

Mulching is a beneficial practice for green onions as it helps conserve moisture, suppresses weed growth, and keeps the soil temperature consistent. Here’s what you need to know about mulching green onions:

  1. Types of mulch: Choose a mulch material that allows water and air to pass through easily. Good options for mulching green onions include straw, shredded leaves, grass clippings, or compost.
  2. Apply mulch after planting: Once you have planted your green onions, apply a layer of mulch around the plants. Make sure the mulch is at least 2-3 inches thick but keep it away from the base of the plants to prevent rot.
  3. Mulch thickness and renewal: As the mulch decomposes, its thickness will reduce. It’s important to replenish the mulch to the recommended thickness to ensure that the benefits of mulching are maintained throughout the growing season.
  4. Mulch removal: Before harvesting the green onions, it’s advisable to remove the mulch from the top layer of the soil to allow the bulbs to fully mature and facilitate easy harvesting.

Controlling Weeds In Green Onion Beds

Weeds can compete with green onions for nutrients, sunlight, and moisture, hindering their growth. It’s important to control weeds to ensure the health and productivity of your green onion beds. Consider the following methods for effective weed control:

  1. Mulching: The layer of mulch applied around green onion plants helps suppress weed growth by blocking sunlight and preventing weed seeds from germinating. Regularly replenishing the mulch will maintain weed control.
  2. Hand-pulling: While green onions have shallow roots, it’s still best to avoid disturbing the soil around their roots. Hand-pulling weeds is a tedious but effective method, especially when combined with mulching.
  3. Use of pre-emergent herbicides: Pre-emergent herbicides can be applied to the soil before planting green onions. These herbicides prevent weed seeds from germinating and can provide effective weed control. However, it’s essential to follow the instructions and confirm the herbicide’s compatibility with green onion cultivation.
  4. Avoid herbicides near green onions: Once the green onions have emerged, it’s crucial to avoid spraying herbicides near them. Selective herbicides designed for use in vegetable gardens can be used carefully but with caution.

Planting green onions in soil is a relatively straightforward process, and with proper care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of these delicious and versatile onions. Remember to water consistently, but avoid overwatering, as well as to fertilize appropriately to ensure their nutritional needs are met. Mulching will help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and maintain a consistent soil temperature. Finally, regular monitoring and weed control will ensure that green onions have the best chance of flourishing. So go ahead and plant some green onions in your garden, and enjoy the freshness and flavor they bring to your culinary creations.

Materials Needed

Green onions, also known as scallions or spring onions, are a versatile and flavorful addition to any garden or kitchen. Not only do they add a fresh and vibrant touch to various dishes, but they are also relatively easy to grow.

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Before you begin planting green onions, it’s important to have the right materials on hand. Here’s a list of items that will be required:

  1. Green onion seeds or seedlings
  2. A well-drained garden bed or containers
  3. Compost or organic matter for enriching the soil
  4. Garden fork or tiller for soil preparation
  5. Watering can or garden hose
  6. Mulch for weed prevention
  7. Organic insecticide or natural pest control methods (optional)
  8. Pruning shears or scissors for harvesting

Now that you have everything you need let’s dive into the process of planting green onions in soil.

Step 1: Choosing The Right Variety

When it comes to selecting green onion varieties, there are several options to consider. Some popular choices include Evergreen Hardy White, Tokyo Long White, and Red Beard. Each variety has its own unique characteristics, such as flavor, size, and color. Choose a variety that suits your preferences and growing conditions.

Step 2: Preparing The Soil

Green onions prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Start by selecting a sunny spot in your garden or preparing containers with drainage holes for planting. Green onions can also tolerate partially shaded areas.

Next, loosen the soil using a garden fork or tiller. Remove any rocks, roots, or debris that may obstruct the growth of your green onions. If the soil is heavy clay or lacks organic matter, it’s advisable to amend it with compost or well-rotted manure to improve its texture and nutrient content.

Work the organic matter into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil, ensuring it is evenly distributed. This will help retain moisture, provide essential nutrients, and promote healthy root development.

Step 3: Planting Seeds Or Seedlings

Green onions can be grown from seeds or seedlings, depending on your preference and time availability. If you’re using seeds, sow them directly into the soil at a depth of around ½ inch. Space the seeds about 1 inch apart in rows that are 12 to 18 inches apart. If you prefer larger green onions, you can space the seeds up to 2 inches apart.

If you’re using seedlings, separate them carefully and plant them in pre-dug holes in the soil. Make sure the plant is set at the same depth as it was in the nursery container. Space the seedlings 4 to 6 inches apart to allow for adequate airflow and room for growth.

Water the newly planted seeds or seedlings gently but thoroughly, ensuring the soil is evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to rotting or fungal diseases. Maintain regular watering throughout the growing season, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Step 4: Mulching And Watering

To keep weeds at bay and conserve soil moisture, apply a layer of organic mulch such as straw or wood chips around the green onion plants. Mulch helps to prevent weed growth by blocking sunlight and also acts as an insulation layer, keeping the soil temperature more stable.

Keep an eye on the moisture levels in the soil. Green onions require consistent watering, especially during dry spells or in hotter climates. Provide approximately 1 inch of water per week, either through rainfall or manual watering. Avoid watering the foliage to minimize the risk of disease.

Step 5: Fertilizing

Green onions are relatively low-maintenance plants when it comes to fertilization. However, incorporating a balanced, slow-release fertilizer into the soil during the initial soil preparation can provide a nutrient boost. Alternatively, you can apply a liquid fertilizer once or twice during the growing season.

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate dosage and application method. Over-fertilization can lead to excessive leaf growth and reduced bulb formation.

Protecting Green Onions From Pests And Diseases

Like any garden plants, green onions can be susceptible to pests and diseases. Here are some common threats and methods to protect your green onion crops:

  1. Aphids: These small insects feed on the sap of the plants and can cause stunted growth and distorted leaves. To control aphids, you can spray a mild soapy water solution on the affected plants. Alternatively, introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs or lacewings, which feed on aphids.

  2. Onion maggots: These tiny larvae feed on the roots of onion plants, resulting in wilting and yellowing leaves. To prevent onion maggots, it’s recommended to use row covers or mesh netting to create a physical barrier that prevents adult flies from laying eggs on the plants. Remove any infected plants promptly to avoid infestation spread.

  3. Thrips: These tiny insects feed on the leaves and can cause discoloration, stunted growth, and distorted leaves. To control thrips, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil spray. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product label for proper application.

  4. Fusarium basal rot: This fungal disease affects the base of green onion plants, causing rotting and decay. To prevent this disease, it’s crucial to practice good crop rotation and avoid planting green onions in the same area for consecutive years. Remove and destroy any infected plants to prevent the spread of the fungus.

  5. Downy mildew: This fungal disease appears as yellow or brown spots on the leaves and can result in foliage wilting. To control downy mildew, provide adequate spacing between plants to promote airflow and reduce humidity. Avoid overhead watering and remove any infected leaves promptly.

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Harvesting Green Onions: When And How

Green onions can be harvested at different stages of growth, depending on your preference. Here are some guidelines to help you determine the optimal time for harvesting:

  1. Scallions: Scallions are harvested when the plants have developed a small bulb and the greens are around 8 to 12 inches long. Gently pull the entire plant out of the soil or use pruning shears to cut them at ground level. Leave about 1 inch of the white bulb attached to the greens.

  2. Baby onions: Baby onions are harvested when the bulbs have reached a size of about 1 inch in diameter. Gently loosen the soil around the base of the plant and lift out the bulb. It’s essential to be careful not to damage the neighboring plants or disturb the roots.

  3. Full-sized onions: If you prefer larger onions, allow the green onion plants to grow until they reach maturity. The green tops will become larger and the bulbs will develop a more pronounced shape. Harvest them by gently pulling the plant out of the ground or using a digging tool to lift the bulb.

Remember to harvest green onions before they bolt, which means when the plant starts producing flowers. Once the plants bolt, the greens become tougher and the flavor changes.

Storing And Using Fresh Green Onions

After harvesting your green onions, it’s important to store them properly to maintain their freshness and flavor. Here are some tips for storing and using fresh green onions:

  1. If you plan to use the green onions within a few days, simply wrap them in a damp paper towel and store them in the refrigerator. This will help retain their moisture and crispness.

  2. For long-term storage, you can freeze green onions. Wash and slice the greens into small pieces and store them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Alternatively, you can chop the greens and freeze them in ice cube trays with a little water. This makes it easy to add small amounts of green onions to various dishes.

  3. Green onions can also be dried for storage. Hang them upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area until they become brittle. Once dried, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Crush or crumble the dried greens before using them in cooking.

  4. Fresh green onions can be used in a variety of dishes, both cooked and raw. They add a refreshing crunch and mild onion flavor to salads, stir-fries, soups, omelets, and many other recipes. Experiment with different culinary creations to make the most of your homegrown green onions.

Troubleshooting Common Problems With Green Onion Plants

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter some challenges while growing green onions. Here are a few common problems and possible solutions:

  1. Bolting: Bolting occurs when green onions send up flower stalks prematurely. This is often due to stress from high temperatures or extreme weather conditions. To prevent bolting, ensure your green onion plants receive consistent moisture and provide shade during hot periods. Harvest promptly as soon as you notice the signs of bolting.

  2. Poor bulb formation: If your green onion plants are not developing bulbs, it could be due to overcrowding or inadequate nutrition. Ensure proper spacing between plants to allow for airflow and light penetration. Consider supplementing with a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus, which promotes bulb development.

  3. Yellowing leaves: Yellowing leaves can signify various issues, including nutrient deficiencies, overwatering, or pests. Check the soil moisture levels and adjust your watering accordingly. If you suspect nutrient deficiencies, consider adding compost or a balanced fertilizer. If pests are present, implement appropriate pest control measures.

  4. Fungal diseases: If your green onion plants are suffering from fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew or fusarium wilt, it’s crucial to act promptly. Remove and destroy infected plants to prevent the spread of the disease. Improve airflow by spacing plants adequately and avoid overhead watering.


Planting green onions in soil is a rewarding and enjoyable endeavor. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully cultivate these versatile and flavorful plants in your garden or containers. Remember to choose the right variety, prepare the soil, and provide adequate care throughout the growing season. Protect your green onion plants from pests and diseases, and harvest them at the appropriate time for optimal flavor and freshness. With proper storage and usage techniques, you can savor the taste of your homegrown green onions long after the harvest. Enjoy the process and relish the joy of growing your own food!


What Is The Best Time To Plant Green Onions In Soil?

The best time to plant green onions is during the cooler months of spring and fall, as they thrive in temperatures between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Deep Should Green Onion Bulbs Be Planted?

Green onion bulbs should be planted 1-2 inches deep in the soil, with the top of the bulb just below the surface.

How Far Apart Should I Space Green Onion Bulbs When Planting?

Green onion bulbs should be spaced 4-6 inches apart to allow enough room for the plants to grow and develop properly.

Is It Necessary To Fertilize Green Onion Plants?

As long as the soil is nutrient-rich, green onions generally do not require additional fertilization. However, if your soil is poor in nutrients, you can use a balanced fertilizer sparingly during the growing season.

How Often Should Green Onions Be Watered?

Green onions should be watered frequently, but not excessively. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, and water every 2-3 days or as needed, depending on the weather and soil moisture levels.