How To Plant Onion That Has Sprouted [ Full Guide ]

Onions are a versatile and essential ingredient in many dishes, and the good news is that you can easily grow them from a sprouted onion that may have been forgotten in the back of your pantry. Whether you have a backyard garden or just a few pots on a sunny balcony, planting sprouted onions is a rewarding and relatively simple process. This article will guide you through the steps to successfully plant a sprouted onion, ensuring a sustainable and bountiful harvest.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Onion That Has Sprouted

To plant a sprouted onion, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the onion: If the sprouted onion is soft or mushy, discard it. If the sprouts are solid, carefully peel off the outer layers until you expose the healthy sprout and root.

  2. Select the container: Choose a container with drainage holes that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the onion’s roots and allow for growth. Alternatively, you can plant the onion in a garden bed.

  3. Prepare the soil: Use a well-draining soil mix and ensure it is loose and fluffy. If planting in a container, fill it with the soil mix, leaving a few inches of space at the top.

  4. Plant the onion: Dig a small hole in the soil and place the sprouted onion with the root side down and the sprout pointing upwards. Gently cover the roots with soil, leaving the sprout exposed.

  5. Water and care: Water the soil thoroughly after planting and ensure the onion receives adequate sunlight. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

  6. Harvesting: With proper care and maintenance, your sprouted onion will grow and can be harvested once the top foliage begins to yellow and wilt.

Now, let’s delve into the detailed steps and considerations for successfully planting a sprouted onion.

Materials Needed

Before you begin the process of planting a sprouted onion, gather the following materials:

  1. Sprouted onions: Choose onions that have started to sprout. Look for firm bulbs with green sprouts emerging from the top.

  2. Container or garden bed: If you plan to grow your onions in pots or containers, ensure they have drainage holes. Alternatively, prepare a garden bed with well-draining soil.

  3. Well-draining soil mix: Use a quality potting mix suitable for growing vegetables. It should be loose and well-aerated to allow for healthy root development.

  4. Watering can or hose: To provide the necessary moisture for your onion plants.

  5. Sunlight: Identify a suitable location with adequate sunlight for your onions to thrive.

  6. Fertilizer (optional): Depending on the soil quality and nutrient levels, you may consider using a balanced fertilizer suitable for onions.

With these materials in hand, you are well-equipped to begin the onion planting process.

Selecting The Right Container

Choosing the right container is crucial for successfully growing onions from sprouted bulbs. Whether you opt for a pot, planter, or garden bed, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind.

Container Size

If you are using containers, select ones that are at least 8 inches deep to accommodate the onion’s root system. A wider container allows for multiple onions to be planted together, providing ample space for them to grow without overcrowding.

Drainage Holes

Ensure that the containers have adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. If the container does not have pre-drilled holes, drill them at the bottom to facilitate proper drainage.

Garden Bed Preparation

Alternatively, if you prefer planting directly in a garden bed, ensure the soil is loose, well-draining, and free from any debris that may hinder root growth. Incorporate organic matter like compost into the soil for added nutrients and improved drainage.

By carefully considering these factors, you can create an optimal environment for your onions to thrive, whether they are planted in containers or a garden bed.

Preparing The Soil

The quality of the soil plays a critical role in the success of growing onions from sprouted bulbs. Onions thrive in well-draining, loose soil that is rich in organic matter and nutrients. Here’s how to prepare the soil for planting:

Soil Texture

Use a well-draining, loose, and fluffy soil mix that provides excellent aeration for the onion roots. A sandy loam or potting mix formulated for vegetables is ideal for growing onions.

Soil Ph

Onions prefer a slightly acidic soil with a pH ranging between 6.0 and 7.0. Test the soil pH using a home testing kit and amend it if necessary by adding lime to raise the pH or elemental sulfur to lower it.

Soil Enrichment

Incorporate organic matter into the soil to improve its fertility and structure. Adding well-rotted compost or aged manure can provide essential nutrients and enhance the soil’s ability to retain moisture.

When planting in containers, fill them with the well-draining soil mix, leaving a few inches of space at the top to allow for watering. Whether in a container or garden bed, ensure the soil is loose, fertile, and optimized for healthy onion growth.

Planting Process

Once you have selected a container and prepared the soil, it’s time to proceed with planting the sprouted onion. Follow these steps for successful planting:

Assessing The Sprouted Onion

Before planting, examine the sprouted onion. If the onion is soft or shows signs of rot or mold, it is not suitable for planting and should be discarded. However, if the sprouts are firm and healthy, it’s time to prepare the onion for planting.

Preparing The Onion

Carefully peel off the outer layers of the sprouted onion until you expose the healthy sprout and root. Remove any dry or damaged outer layers, ensuring that the inner layers remain intact.

Selecting The Planting Depth

When planting the prepared onion, ensure that the root side faces downward, while the sprout points upward. The onion should be planted with the tip of the sprout just above the soil surface. The roots should be covered with soil, but the sprout should remain exposed.

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Planting In The Container

If using a container, dig a small hole in the soil, gently place the prepared onion with the root side down, and cover the roots with soil. If planting multiple onions, space them a few inches apart to allow for adequate growth.

Planting In The Garden Bed

When planting directly in a garden bed, create shallow furrows or individual planting holes spaced approximately 4-6 inches apart. Place the prepared onions in the furrows or holes, ensuring the same planting depth and spacing as in containers.

Watering And Care

After planting, water the soil thoroughly to ensure it is evenly moist. Ensure that the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged, as excessive moisture can lead to rotting. Position the containers or garden bed in a location that receives full sun, as onions require ample sunlight for healthy growth.

Fertilization (Optional)

Depending on the soil fertility and nutrient levels, you may choose to apply a balanced fertilizer suitable for vegetables once the onions have been planted. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application rates and frequency.

Mulching (Optional)

Consider applying a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the planted onions to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and maintain a consistent soil temperature. Mulching can also protect the onions from temperature extremes.

By meticulously following these planting steps and providing proper care, you can ensure that your sprouted onions have the best conditions for growth and development.

Planting sprouted onions is a rewarding and straightforward process that yields flavorful and fresh onions for culinary use. By carefully selecting the right container, preparing the soil, and following the planting process, you can create an optimal environment for the sprouted onions to thrive. With proper care, adequate sunlight, and consistent moisture, you can expect a bountiful harvest of homegrown onions. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or new to gardening, growing onions from sprouted bulbs can be a fulfilling and enjoyable endeavor, adding a flavorful touch to your home-grown produce.

Preparing The Sprouted Onion

If you’ve ever noticed an onion sprouting in your pantry or kitchen, you may be wondering if you can actually plant and grow it. The good news is that you absolutely can! Planting onions that have sprouted not only saves you money on buying new onion sets but also allows you to enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own vegetables from scratch.

Before you can plant a sprouted onion, it’s important to prepare it properly. Follow these steps to ensure the best chance of success:

  1. Inspect the sprouted onion: Examine the sprouted onion carefully to check for any signs of disease or damage. Choose a healthy-looking onion with a well-formed sprout.

  2. Separate the sprouts: If your onion has more than one sprout, gently separate them by pulling them apart. Be careful not to damage the roots or leaves.

  3. Trim the roots and leaves: Using clean scissors or gardening shears, carefully trim the roots of the sprouted onion to about one inch in length. Avoid cutting into the base of the onion bulb. Additionally, trim any excessively long leaves to promote balanced growth.

  4. Soak the onion: Fill a container with lukewarm water and submerge the onion bulb (excluding the leaves) for about an hour. This will help hydrate the onion and prepare it for planting.

Planting The Onion

Once you’ve prepared the sprouted onion, it’s time to plant it. Follow these steps to ensure a successful planting process:

  1. Choose a suitable container: Select a container with drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging. Alternatively, if you have a garden, you can plant the onion directly in the ground.

  2. Prepare the soil: Onions prefer well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. If you’re planting in a container, fill it with a high-quality potting mix that is specifically formulated for vegetable growth. If planting in the ground, loosen the soil with a garden fork or shovel and remove any weeds or debris.

  3. Planting depth: Make a small hole in the soil or container, approximately 2 inches deep. Place the onion bulb into the hole, with the sprouted end facing up. Gently fill the hole with soil, leaving the top of the onion bulb (where the leaves emerge) exposed.

  4. Spacing: If you’re planting multiple onions, ensure you space them about 4-6 inches apart to allow for proper growth and airflow between the plants.

  5. Water the onion: After planting, give the onion a thorough watering to settle the soil and provide moisture to the roots. Be careful not to overwater, as onions prefer slightly drier conditions.

  6. Mulch the soil (optional): Applying a layer of organic mulch around the onion plant can help conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Use materials such as straw, dried leaves, or grass clippings and spread it around the onion plant, being careful not to cover the sprouted part.

Watering And Caring For The Onion

Proper watering and care are crucial for the health and development of your sprouted onion. Here are some important tips to follow:

  1. Watering requirements: Onions prefer moist but well-drained soil. Water deeply once a week, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot and fungal diseases.

  2. Fertilization: Onions benefit from regular feeding with balanced fertilizer. Apply a slow-release, granular fertilizer with a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) ratio of 10-10-10 or a similar formulation once a month.

  3. Weeding: Keep the area around the onion plant free from weeds. Weeds compete with onions for nutrients and can hinder their growth. Regularly remove any weeds that sprout near your onion.

  4. Thinning: If you’re growing multiple onions in close proximity, thin them out once they reach a height of 4-6 inches. Gently pull out the smaller, weaker onions, leaving a spacing of 4-6 inches between the remaining ones. Thinning promotes better airflow and allows the remaining onions to develop more robustly.

  5. Pest and disease control: Onions are susceptible to various pests and diseases, including onion thrips, onion maggots, and fungal infections like onion rot. Monitor your plants regularly and take appropriate action if any issues arise. Use organic insecticides or employ natural pest control methods such as companion planting to deter pests.

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Sunlight Requirements

Onions require a sufficient amount of sunlight for healthy growth and bulb development. Here are some guidelines for providing the right amount of sunlight:

  1. Full sun: Onions thrive in full sun conditions, which means they need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Plant your onion in a location where it will receive maximum sunlight exposure.

  2. Partial shade: While onions prefer full sun, they can tolerate some shade, especially during the hottest part of the day. If your garden has areas of partial shade, consider planting onions there.

  3. Indoor growing: If you don’t have access to a sunny garden, you can also grow onions indoors. Choose a sunny windowsill or use grow lights to provide the necessary light intensity. Ensure the onions receive 12-14 hours of artificial light each day.

Planting onions that have sprouted is a simple and rewarding way to grow your own vegetables at home. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to prepare and plant your sprouted onion successfully. Remember to provide adequate care, including proper watering, fertilization, and protection from pests and diseases. With patience and attention, you’ll soon be enjoying a bountiful harvest of fresh, homegrown onions that started from a humble sprouted bulb.

Harvesting The Onion

Onions are a staple in many culinary dishes, adding flavor and depth to a variety of meals. While you can easily buy onions from the store, there’s something satisfying about growing your own. If you have onion bulbs that have sprouted, instead of discarding them, why not give them a chance to grow? Planting sprouted onions not only saves you money but also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the process of nurturing and harvesting your own home-grown onions.

Before planting a sprouted onion, it’s important to harvest it properly. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to harvest a sprouted onion:

  1. Prepare the area: Begin by clearing any weeds or debris from the area where the onion is planted. This will make it easier for you to locate and harvest the onion. Use a garden fork or trowel to gently loosen the soil around the onion bulb.

  2. Inspect the sprouted onion: Carefully examine the sprouted onion to ensure it is healthy and suitable for planting. Look for firm, plump bulbs with green shoots that are about 6-8 inches in length. Avoid planting onions that are soft, mushy, or have damaged shoots.

  3. Loosen the soil around the onion: Use a garden fork or trowel to gently loosen the soil around the onion bulb. Take care not to damage the sprout or the roots. If the soil is compacted, this will help the roots establish easily and promote healthy growth.

  4. Lift the onion bulb: Once the soil is loosened, gently lift the onion bulb from the ground. Hold the onion near the base, where the roots are attached, to avoid damaging the sprout. Shake off any loose soil or debris from the bulb.

  5. Trim the roots and shoots: Trim the roots to about 1 inch in length, using clean and sharp scissors or pruning shears. This will encourage new root growth once the onion is replanted. Additionally, if the shoots are excessively long, you can trim them to promote better stability during planting.

By following these steps, you can successfully harvest a sprouted onion and prepare it for replanting.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While planting sprouted onions is relatively straightforward, there are a few common issues that you may encounter. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you overcome these challenges:

  1. Diseases and pests: Onions are susceptible to various diseases and pests, such as onion rot, onion maggots, or fungal infections. To minimize the risk of these issues, choose disease-resistant onion varieties and ensure proper soil drainage. If pests become a problem, you can use organic pest control methods or consult with a local gardening expert for advice.

  2. Poor growth or stunted plants: If your sprouted onions are not growing as expected or seem stunted, it could be due to various factors, including inadequate sunlight, improper watering, or nutrient deficiencies. Ensure that your onions receive at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily, water them deeply but avoid overwatering, and provide a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for onions.

  3. Bolting: Bolting refers to the premature flowering and seed production of the onion plant, which can negatively impact bulb formation. Bolting is triggered by stress factors such as temperature fluctuations, inadequate nutrition, or overcrowding. To prevent bolting, plant your onions in well-drained soil, provide consistent watering, and thin out overcrowded plants to allow for proper air circulation.

  4. Thinning and spacing: When planting sprouted onions, it’s essential to provide adequate space between each plant for proper growth. Overcrowding can lead to poor airflow, increased risk of disease, and limited bulb growth. Aim for a spacing of 4-6 inches between each onion bulb, and thin out any excess seedlings or sprouted onions to maintain spacing.

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By addressing these common issues promptly, you can ensure the healthy growth and development of your sprouted onions.

Benefits Of Planting Sprouted Onions

Planting sprouted onions can offer several benefits, making it a worthwhile endeavor for gardening enthusiasts. Here are some advantages of growing your own onions from sprouted bulbs:

  1. Cost-effective: By planting sprouted onions, you can save money on buying new onion sets or transplants. Sprouted onions are essentially free and give you the opportunity to utilize something that might have otherwise been discarded.

  2. Sustainable practice: Planting sprouted onions aligns with sustainable gardening practices. Instead of throwing away sprouted bulbs, you can repurpose them and contribute to reducing waste. This promotes a more environmentally friendly approach to gardening.

  3. Variety selection: When planting sprouted onions, you have the freedom to choose from a wide variety of onion types and cultivars. You can experiment with different flavors, colors, and sizes, allowing you to tailor your onion harvest to your personal preferences and culinary needs.

  4. Freshness and quality control: By growing your own onions, you have complete control over the growing conditions and cultivation practices, ensuring the freshest and highest quality produce. You can harvest the onions at their peak and enjoy the full flavor and nutritional benefits that home-grown onions offer.

  5. Educational experience: Planting sprouted onions can be a great educational experience, especially for children or those new to gardening. It provides an opportunity to learn about plant biology, life cycles, and the rewarding process of nurturing plants from sprout to harvest.

Cooking With Home-grown Onions

One of the most satisfying aspects of growing your own onions is being able to use them in your cooking. Home-grown onions tend to have a more vibrant flavor and can be a versatile ingredient in various dishes. Here are a few suggestions on how to make the most of your home-grown onions in the kitchen:

  1. Raw in salads: Dice up some fresh, home-grown onions and add them to salads for a flavorful crunch. Red onions, in particular, add a vibrant color to salads and pair well with citrus dressings.

  2. Caramelized onions: Slow-cooking home-grown onions on low heat can result in deliciously sweet and caramelized onions. They are a perfect addition to burgers, sandwiches, or as a topping for pizzas and flatbreads.

  3. Onion soups and stews: Use your home-grown onions to make flavorful soups and stews. French onion soup, in particular, showcases the rich flavor of caramelized onions and is a classic comfort dish.

  4. Sautéed onions: Sautéing onions in butter or olive oil can bring out their natural sweetness and aroma. Sautéed onions can be used as a base for many dishes, such as stir-fries, pasta sauces, or as a topping for grilled meats and vegetables.

  5. Pickled onions: Pickling home-grown onions is a great way to preserve their freshness and tangy flavor. Pickled onions can be added to sandwiches, salads, tacos, or enjoyed as a condiment on their own.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking with home-grown onions. Experiment with different recipes and explore the unique flavors of your freshly harvested onions.


Planting sprouted onions is a rewarding experience that allows you to maximize the potential of sprouted bulbs that may otherwise go to waste. By following the steps mentioned earlier for harvesting and troubleshooting common issues, you can successfully grow your own onions at home. The benefits of planting sprouted onions extend beyond cost savings, offering sustainability, variety selection, freshness, and educational opportunities. Furthermore, the versatility of home-grown onions in cooking opens up a world of culinary possibilities. So, don’t let those sprouted onions go to waste – plant them and enjoy the satisfaction of harvesting and using your own home-grown onions.


What Is The Best Time To Plant An Onion That Has Sprouted?

The best time to plant an onion that has sprouted is in the early spring, as soon as the ground is workable and there is no longer a risk of frost.

Do I Need To Remove The Sprouts From The Onion Before Planting?

No, you do not need to remove the sprouts from the onion. In fact, the sprouts are already starting to form the onion plant and will continue to grow after planting.

How Deep Should I Plant The Sprouted Onion?

Plant the sprouted onion with the root end down, about 1 inch deep in loose, well-drained soil. The sprouts should be just barely covered with soil.

Should I Water The Onion After Planting?

Yes, it is important to water the onion after planting. This will help the roots establish and encourage growth. Keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged.

Can I Plant The Sprouted Onion In A Container Or Does It Need To Be Planted In The Ground?

You can plant the sprouted onion in a container as long as it has enough room for the root system to grow. Be sure to use a well-draining potting mix and keep the soil moist. However, planting the onion in the ground will allow for larger and healthier growth.