Scallions add a delicious crunch and mild onion flavor to dishes. Try using freshly picked scallions as a garnish for soup, stir-fries, scrambled eggs, and other tasty recipes. Learn how to grow scallions to enhance your vegetable garden and enjoy an endless supply of green onions for your cooking.
What are scallions? Scallions belong to the Allium genus, along with classic veggies like leeks, shallots, and chives. They are also known as green onions, spring onions, and bunching onions. The vegetable has a crunchy white stalk and green tops with a mild flavor.
It’s possible to harvest all varieties of regular onions (Allium cepa) as scallions. How long do scallions take to grow? Approximately 60 to 80 days一simply pick the leaves before the bulb gets too large.
- Tips for Growing Scallions
- Getting Ready for Growing Scallions
- How to Grow Scallions
- Caring for Scallion Plants
- Preventing Pests and Diseases on Scallion Plants
- Harvesting Scallions
Tips for Growing Scallions
Some scallions come from clump-forming onions with a narrow white bulb. These onion varieties are often perennials, surviving the winter to perk up in the spring. Whatever the variety, scallions thrive in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9.
It’s common to grow scallions from seeds or sets (small bulbs) or regrow grocery store green onions in a jar of water on a sunny windowsill.
How to Grow Scallions
Growing scallions is easy from seeds or sets. Grow scallions indoors eight to ten weeks before the last frost date. Make sure to harden off the scallion seedlings before transplanting them outdoors.
Another way to plant scallions is to direct sow seeds in early spring. Consider succession planting to extend your harvest.
Work organic matter into well-draining soil before planting. Scallions do best in full sun, although they handle some shade. The plants’ preferred temperature range is 68 to 78℉.
Keep the bed well-weeded. Mulch helps reduce weeds and protect the plants over the winter. Provide balanced fertilizer once a month. Due to scallion plants’ shallow root systems, they benefit from regular watering. However, avoid leaving the roots in soggy soil.
Scallion plants are susceptible to several pests and diseases, including onion maggots, thrips, downy mildew, and rust disease. To prevent disease, avoid overwatering, ensure good air circulation, and practice crop rotation.
How long do scallions take to grow? Approximately 60 to 80 days from sowing the seeds. Speed up the process by regrowing green onions from kitchen scraps.
Getting Ready for Growing Scallions
Choose a scallion planting site with well-drained soil and full sun to set your plants up for success. Consider planting companion plants nearby to encourage healthy growth.
When to Plant Scallions
How long do scallions take to grow? Sow scallion seeds in the spring for a summer harvest.
The ideal way to grow scallions from seed is to start seeds indoors eight to ten weeks before the last frost. Transplant seedlings outdoors two to four weeks before the last frost, first hardening them off.
Direct sow seeds in early spring as soon as the soil is workable and has a temperature of at least 50℉. Try succession planting every three to four weeks to enjoy a continuous harvest and reduce weed growth.
If you’re growing green onions from sets, plant green onions two to four weeks before the last frost. Scallions continue sending up green shoots throughout the growing season. The plants may survive the winter as long as there’s no frost.
Choosing and Amending Soil for Growing Scallions
Look for soil that is fertile, well-drained, sandy, and loamy with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. To help prevent diseases, avoid using earth that has held alliums within the past three years.
Before planting, remove any stones, which could impede growth. Work in organic matter at least six to eight inches deep, and add some balanced organic fertilizer. Smooth the soil before sowing seeds, planting sets, or transplanting seedlings.
Selecting a Site for Growing Scallions
Part of how to grow scallions is selecting the best site. Green onions thrive in full sun, with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. They tolerate some afternoon shade if necessary.
Scallions’ preferred temperature range is between 68 and 78℉. Try alternating scallions with early-maturing spring greens. Other possible companion plants include beets, chives, lettuce, potatoes, and thyme.
How to Grow Scallions
You have several options for starting green onion plants. Start seeds indoors, direct sow them, plant small bulbs known as sets, or regrow scallions from kitchen scraps.
Starting Scallion Seeds Indoors
Sow scallion seeds in seed trays with four to five seeds per cell or start the seeds in flats, a quarter-inch deep and a half-inch apart. Keep the soil moist and the temperature around 60 to 65℉. Expect to see seedlings in 7 to 14 days.
Place the scallion seedlings on a sunny windowsill or under fluorescent grow lights for 16 hours daily. Keep the grow lights three to four inches above the seedlings. Feed the plants half-strength houseplant food after three to four weeks.
Transplanting Scallion Seedlings
Transplant outdoors once the seedlings are as wide as a pencil and there’s no risk of heavy frost. Harden them off for one week in a location that’s sheltered from the wind and heat. If there’s any risk of frost, cover the plants or bring them indoors overnight.
Plant scallion seedlings one inch deep and two to three inches apart. Space the rows one to two feet apart.
Direct Sowing Scallions and Planting Sets
Direct sow scallion seeds a quarter-inch deep and a half-inch apart in rows one to two feet away. Keep the soil evenly moist. When the scallion seedlings are one to two inches tall, thin them to two inches apart. The same basic rules apply when growing shallots from seeds.
Look for onion sets with a maximum diameter of three-quarters of an inch一any larger, and the plants are likely to bolt. Plant sets one inch deep and two to three inches apart.
Regrowing Grocery Store Scallions
You may have seen internet tutorials for growing scallions from the root end of grocery store scallions. Snip approximately one inch above the roots. Insert the scallion cuttings in a small jar with enough water to cover the roots.
Place the jar on a sunny windowsill. Every few days, empty the jar and add fresh water. How long do scallions take to grow in a jar? Expect green shoots to appear within a few days of planting.
When the shoots are four to five inches tall, transfer them to your garden or a pot with good-quality potting soil. Green onions that remain in a jar eventually weaken.
Caring for Scallion Plants
Green onion plants are not very demanding. After you start onions from seed, their main requirement is regular irrigation. Monthly fertilizer, mulching, and weeding also help keep the plants healthy and thriving.
Watering and Fertilizing Scallion Plants
Scallions require lots of water, especially when the bulbs are forming. The shallow roots dry out quickly during droughts. Water your onions as soon as the soil starts to feel dry, providing approximately one inch of water per week.
Avoid leaving the plants sitting in wet soil since this can cause rot and disease. Drip irrigation helps keep the roots well-watered and the leaves dry.
Feed your scallions balanced fertilizer monthly. A nitrogen-rich fertilizer, such as fish emulsion, promotes healthy growth.
Weeding and Mulching Scallion Plants
Weeds compete for water, space, and nutrients. Make sure to keep on top of weeding by removing weeds promptly. Mulch helps prevent weeds and retain moisture.
It’s possible to grow scallions as perennials in regions with mild winters. Spread a thick layer of mulch in late fall to protect the plants against the cold. Remove the mulch from the scallions in the spring when the soil warms.
How to Grow Scallions in Containers
When growing scallions in containers, use a narrow but deep pot to provide plenty of room for the roots. Fill the pot with good-quality organic potting mix.
Water regularly to keep the soil for scallions moist but not soggy. Ensure that the pot has good drainage holes, and empty the saucer right away.
Preventing Pests and Diseases on Scallion Plants
Scallions can suffer from several pests and diseases. Take preventative measures to help your plants stay healthy and vigorous.
Preventing Pests on Scallions
Pests may cause unsightly blotches or deformities or chew holes in scallion leaves.
To prevent cutworms from cutting down scallion seedlings, install cardboard collars around the plants. You can also pick off cutworms by hand.
If your scallion plants lack vigor, dig one up to check whether its bulb contains tunnels. If it does, you may be facing an onion maggot infestation and should destroy all affected plants.
Onion nematodes inject toxins into the plants’ roots, causing the leaves to turn yellow and black. The entire plant may become deformed.
Pull up affected plants, eating any usable sections, and tossing the rest. Crop rotation discourages onion maggots and nematodes.
Slugs chew holes in leaves, leaving a slime trail. Handpick them at night, their preferred feeding time. Try using a beer or cornmeal trap or spreading a barrier of diatomaceous earth or coffee grounds.
Thrips cause silvery-white streaks or blotches on leaves. Try blasting with a hose in the late morning on a sunny day or coat the leaves with insecticidal soap.
Preventing Diseases on Scallions
It’s possible to prevent most diseases by rotating crops and caring for your scallions properly.
Damping off causes seedlings to wilt and die suddenly. Avoid overwatering and thin the seedlings to ensure good air circulation.
Downy mildew causes whitish-gray patches to form on the leaves. To prevent this disease, rotate your scallions with plants in a different family. Avoid crowding the scallion plants, watering from overhead, and working with the plants when they are wet.
Onion smut causes lesions, streaks, and spores to form on scallion seedlings and may stunt growth. The fungus lives in the soil for several years, so rotate crops regularly. Provide plenty of water and fertilizer to seedlings, and consider applying fungicide.
Pink root rot stops roots from taking up water and nutrients. Rotate crops and plant resistant varieties. Plant your scallions as early as possible so that the bulb has time to form in cooler temperatures.
To prevent rust disease, also plant early and practice crop rotation. In addition, remove any infected plants.
Depending on your planting method, either pull up whole scallion plants or snip off individual leaves. In either case, eat your scallions quickly since they have a short shelf life.
How Long Do Scallions Take to Grow?
The main difference between scallions and green onions is the harvest time. Expect your scallions to be ready to harvest 60 to 80 days after sowing the seeds. The number of days to maturity depends on the variety.
Start harvesting when the scallions are about six inches tall and the width of a pencil. They taste more tender and mild when they are young. The stalks should be white at the bottom and still fairly thin, with the bulb just starting to swell underground.
How to Harvest Scallions
Loosen the soil before carefully digging or pulling up the scallion plant. The way to harvest scallions is to pull up the largest plants first so that the others have room to grow, harvesting only a few plants at a time. Throw out any damaged leaves, and snip off the roots before storing the onions.
If you’re growing scallions as a perennial, avoid harvesting in the first year. Waiting until the second year helps the plants get established and encourages a larger yield. When harvesting perennial scallions, trim off individual leaves as needed.
Take the same approach if you have regrown green onions in a jar. Snip the leaves right at ground level to prevent the plants from getting too large. They send out new shoots from the cut end.
How to Store Scallions
Keep unwashed scallions in a resealable bag in the crisper, with a damp piece of paper towel inserted. Scallions stay fresh for one to two weeks in the fridge.
Freeze scallions to extend their shelf life. Store chopped scallions in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container in the freezer. Shake frozen green onion slices directly into a dish.
Try growing scallion plants to add a fresh flavor and texture to your home cooking. Before getting started, find out the answer to questions like “How long do scallions take to grow?” Start scallions from seeds or sets, or regrow them from grocery store green onions.
Part of how to grow scallions is providing their ideal growing conditions, including full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Water your scallions regularly, provide fertilizer monthly, and spread mulch to help prevent weeds.
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