How To Grow Green Onions In Containers

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Growing green onions in containers is an easy way to always have fresh green onions on hand. They are great for adding flavor to any dish without having the hassle of going out and buying them every time you need some. Here’s your comprehensive guide to growing green onions in containers!

One of the best parts of growing green onions is that you can regrow them from their bulbs time after time…indefinitely! There’s no need to buy seeds or bulbs for each planting, making it a very rewarding (and affordable) gardening experience.

Green onion cuttings in a small jar of water.

Cut The Root Bulbs from Several Green Onions

One of my favorite things about green onions (allium fistulosum, aka scallions) is that you can harvest your green onion leaves and then regrow another harvest from the same white bulbs! Regrowing vegetables from kitchen scraps is an easy and cost-effective way to have a steady supply of fresh homegrown food at your fingertips.

Green onions can be grown from cuttings taken from scallions purchased at the grocery store. You don’t need to go to a garden center to buy green onion seeds or bulbs. This makes growing your own green onions very cost effective, as you can buy and use them once, but continue regrowing them from the same bulbs. Simply cut the shoots about an inch from the roots, and save the bulb.

Put The Bulbs in a Clean Jar, Roots Down

Get a clean shallow jar or glass, and place your cuttings root end down. It’s best to choose a jar that just fits the number of bulbs you have, because it will help keep them upright.

Green onion roots in a jar of water.

Cover the Bulbs With Water

Add just enough water to ensure that the roots are covered, keeping the tops of the white stalks out of the water.

Check on your green onion plants daily, and don’t let them dry out. Make sure the roots stay submerged in water. If you notice the water starting to get cloudy, pour it out and refill with clean, fresh water. Even if the water doesn’t could, you should replace it at least once a week.

Place Your Onions In a Sunny Spot

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Find a sunny windowsill for your plants to grow. Green onions love full sun, but so does algae, so keep a close eye on your water, and change it regularly.

If you are growing your green onions in the winter, or in a windowless space, you can use a grow light to help keep the plants happy.

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Let the Onions Grow to 5 or 6 Inches

It won’t take long for your green onions to start to sprout. Once they have grown to about 5 or 6 inches, they can be transplanted into a container with soil.

You can keep growing them in just water, harvesting them when they reach 10 to 12 inches, but they will only regrow a few times without the added nutrients they get from soil. For longer lasting plants I recommend re-planting in a container.

Green onions about 5 inches tall growing in a glass of water.

Prepare a container With Soil

Fill a shallow container with quality potting soil. Choose loose soil with good drainage and a container that has drainage holes. Use a tray under your container to prevent water from leaking out. Poke a small hole in the soil with your finger or a pencil for each bulb, about 2 to 3 inches apart. The holes should be deep enough to cover the bulb, with just a bit of white stalk poking out.

Keep Your Onions Fed and Watered

By growing green onions in soil instead of just water, you can have onions that will grow back again and again. The more times they regrow, the more nutrients they take from the soil, so if you notice your green onions starting to slow down, you can boost them with a bit of 5-10-10 organic fertilizer.

As for water, green onions like moist soil, but not soggy soil, so water once or twice a week depending on humidity and soil moisture.

A single green onion in soil.

Treat Pests and Diseases Right Away

Green onions grown indoors will not be exposed to many pests, however, outdoor onions can be affected by aphids, slugs, and onion root maggots.

The key to keeping your green onions healthy and pest free is prevention and swift action. Keep your watering consistent, your containers clear of debris, and inspect your plants regularly for pests and diseases.

Common Pests Of Green Onion Plants

To treat aphids, spray the affected leaves with a hard blast of water, knocking aphids off. Insecticidal soaps are effective on aphids, however, use them sparingly, as they need to be applied directly to the leaves, which you eat. Be sure to wash your green onions thoroughly before eating.

Onion maggots are best managed by prevention – either by covering your plants with a mesh, or keeping them indoors. If multiple plants in a container are affected, it is best to destroy the plants and soil and start again. Do not compost discarded plants or soil.

Slugs and snails can be managed simply by picking them off the plants. If the infestation is severe, you can make beer traps, or simply take your containers indoors.

Green Onion Diseases

Green onions are mostly disease resistant, but can be affected by diseases such as anthracnose, leaf blight, root rot and dampening off. There are slight variations in the symptoms of these diseases, but they commonly present as wilted plants with spots or lesions.

The key to disease care is prevention – keep your moisture levels consistent, and your temperatures between 68 to 77 F. If you find infected plants, discard the whole plant and soil, do not compost.

Harvest When Shoots Reach 10 to 12 Inches

Once your onions are about 10 to 12 inches tall, they are ready for harvest. Cut the sprout completely off just above the soil level, leaving a bit of the green part behind. A new sprout will start growing again within a few days.

  • Related: Are you growing bulb onions and aren’t sure when the best time to harvest is? Check out our complete guide on when to harvest onions!
Green onions growing in a tray of soil.

Store and Preserve Extra Onions

Green onions grow fast! You may find you have more onions than you know what to do with, especially at your first harvest when all the onions are ready at once. Don’t worry though, green onions can keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge, and can be dried for longer storage.

To store in the fridge, gently wrap your green onions in paper towel, place in a plastic freezer bag and put them in the vegetable crisper.

It’s quite easy to grow green onions in containers

Green onions are an everyday garden staple because they’re a cinch to grow. And because of their shallow root system and fast growth, they are great for growing in containers, either indoors or outdoors. You can even keep them outdoors during their growing season, then easily bring them in for winter, keeping them growing year-round for a steady supply of green onions.

Container gardening, in general, can be a terrific way for anyone to grow vegetables and herbs!

Learn More: We’ve got tons of posts on growing vegetables in containers, such as carrots, green beans, onions, kale, and beets, or even our list of 15 vegetables that grow great in containers. We also have some great tips to get plentiful yields from blueberries and strawberries grown in containers.

Fresh cut green onions in a white bowl against a black background.

What are green onions?

Because green onions are also called scallions and spring onions, there’s a lot of confusion about them. Are all of these “varieties” the same thing? Are they different?

Green onions and scallions are actually the same things. They’re the immature leaves (which look like green stalks) of a small bulb plant in the onion family. It’s worth mentioning that the bulbs of scallions never get big and round like the bulbs of other bulb onions. They have a very mild onion flavor and are sometimes known as salad onions.

Spring onions, on the other hand, are cousins to green onions. They grow from a more typical-looking onion bulb.

Advantages To Growing Green Onions In Containers

Growing green onions in containers allows you to grow them inside or outside. This can be especially helpful if you want to move your green onions indoors for the cold months.

If you live in a condo or apartment and don’t have space for a garden, container gardening allows you to still grow your own vegetables.

Learn More: Check out our post on gardening ideas for small spaces!

Fresh green onions on a rustic cutting board.

Grow Your Own Fresh Green Onions!

I hope this guide has inspired you to try growing green onions in a container! It’s so easy to do that it will even make you feel successful if you’re a beginner gardener. Plus there is something so satisfying about turning kitchen scraps into fresh produce for you and your family!

If you’re looking for more information on gardening, check out these other posts on growing flowers and vegetables:

More Gardening Resources

Editorial Note: This post was originally published on October 14, 2021, and was updated on March 20, 2022.

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