Growing Onions

Onions growing in the ground.
With over 600 varieties of onions grown internationally, this versatile vegetable is a staple ingredient in a multitude of recipes and has been used in natural remedies the world over. Learning to grow your own onions can also be fun and save money! This is a page about growing onions.


This page contains the following solutions.

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
April 17, 2006
pile of onions

Botanical Name:

Allium cepa (and others)


Onions are the bulbs of plants in the lily family known for their strong, distinctive taste and flavor. The bulbs generally have a papery outer skin surrounding a smooth, fleshy inner core.

Planting Time:

Plant onion sets and transplants outdoors when soil temperatures reach 35ºF. Seeds can be sown directly into the ground when soil temperatures reach 40ºF. In milder climates, plant green onions in the fall as late as 4 weeks prior to the first frost.


full sun


well-drained, well-worked, nutrient-rich soil with a pH of 6.0.


Seeds should be sown thinly at a depth of _ to _ inch and spaced 1 inch apart. Bulb onion sets should be planted 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 1 to 2 feet apart. Green onions can be planted closer together. When planting sets, keep the pointed ends up and covered with 1 inch of soil.


Keep soil consistently moist to prevent bulbs from drying and splitting. Stop watering when tops turn yellow and onions are nearing harvest.


Thin seedlings and transplants as necessary for development and mulch around plants to control weeds and conserve soil moisture. Take care when cultivating around plants to avoid disturbing the shallow roots. Remove onions that start to bolt (set seed).

Harvesting & Storage:

Harvest onions as your need them. When tops start to turn yellow and fall over, bulb onions can be lifted from soil and cured for storage. Store them in a warm place (out of direct sunlight) for 2 to 3 days. When dry, trim off tops and store bulbs in a mesh bag or leave tops on and braid them together to hang for storage. Refrigerate green onions for up to 1 week.

Diseases and Pests:

Watch for thrips or onion maggots. Keep plants free of weeds to eliminate hosts and discard infected plants.

Tips to Success:

Cure onions thoroughly at warm temperatures and store in a cool, well-ventilated place to reduce the chance of "neck rot" after harvesting.

January 19, 2012

Harvest wild onions for use during the year. You can also buy green onions at the store and cut off the tops and plant the bulbs in your garden. They will continue to grow each year so long as you do not remove the bulb. You may however dig up the bulb if you do not want it to grow back again. Cut the tops off close to the ground. You can cut them up and cook right away, store in fridge or freezer in food storage bags for later use.

You can also tie the tops in bundles and dry them by hanging them up to dry out. You can speed up drying by placing them on a cookie sheet and baking in oven on 200 degrees F for 2 to 3 hrs until dried. Remove and store for later use. I chop them up really fine and put them in the herb shaker jars you get at the store. You can dry all herbs in the oven this way always having a supply on hand for free.

By Kathy Bourg from Jefferson, LA

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June 27, 2008

When planting your seed rows, plant a few onions on each end of the row so you can tell where the rows of slow germinating seeds are. By the time the onions are ready to pull, the seeds will have sprouted.

By Laurie from Fairbanks, AK

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6 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

December 12, 2014

The white and yellow short onions sets were planted 4 weeks ago and have not done anything. Further my green onions have been in from seed for 6 weeks and have just broken up through the soil and have not done anything either. I have never had an onion actually bulb out to any size. We are in Southwest Florida.

By KWH from Fort Myers, FL


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
August 7, 20170 found this helpful

The weather is ideal for growing onions. However, here I never had much luck planting my seeds in the ground. I find it best to just use a drum or pot and sprinkle my seeds on top. One thing about onions seeds is that birds won't eat them. Onion's take time to grow and mature. I plant a lot of bunching onions here and when they start bunching I separate the onions and replant them. This way I always have onions growing. Here is an excellent guide that can give you a few tips and pointers for growing your onions.


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September 11, 2011

How do I grow large onions and what type of soil do they prefer? I would also like to know what treatment to the soil am I required to make to fulfill the criteria.

By Robert from Blackburn, Lancashire, England


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 282 Feedbacks
September 13, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Robert, I live up in Scotland, and have had the same questions. I'm new to the UK and gardening over here. :)

A site that has been a great help to me is the allotment site, the information is easily adaptable to small home plots:


Great site, great info, and great people-can't beat that!

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July 12, 2011

After I have removed the dirt around the onion bulb, do I step on the tops of the onions so the bulbs get bigger and not the neck of the greens?

By Sharon

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