How To Grow Green Onions (& Then Regrow Them) in Water From Cuttings

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | February 22, 2024

Man holding a box of green onion plants and a jar of green onion cuttings in water wonders how to grow green onions and how to plant green onions in a growing green onions guide.

Learning how to grow green onions in your garden or indoor containers is probably easier than you might think.

Pleasantly pungent, green onions have a distinct flavor and scent make them a beloved crop, and having them on hand and fresh is a great way to enhance your cooking.

Green onions can easily be grown indoors, or sprouted and moved to your backyard garden.

This complete guide to growing green onions explains how to regrow and plant green onion cuttings with just a glass of water.
Graphic information showing steps for how to grow green onions from cuttings, with each step numbered and a glass of water with green onion cuttings growing through the stages.


It also outlines the best varieties for home growers that deliver the most yumminess for your efforts.

What Are Green Onions?

It is common for people to use the terms spring onions, green onions,8 and scallions to refer to the same plant. The three are different types of green onions at different growth stages.

Scallions are the youngest in the group, followed by green onions, then spring onions. Scallions feature thin, slender bulbs that look like the stem and are more delicate than green onions, which are older.

On the other hand, spring onions are the oldest, with small globe bulbs and more flavorful leaves.

Where To Plant Green Onions

The first thing to recognize about how to grow green onions is that they love the sun, like other vegetables. You can plant them outside in the open without shading structures nearby or grow them indoors and place the container near the window.

They need about 6-8 hours of natural light daily for the best results, and the soil must be properly-draining and fertile (you can add slow-release fertilizers if your soil isn’t rich). Gardeners growing several of them prefer planting them on raised beds enriched with compost.

What Are the Best Varieties of Green Onions To Grow?

Green onions come in various forms, and you can tell when looking through seed catalogs, but the following are the most common varieties that do well in vegetable gardens.


This native Japanese onion grows in 60 days into thick, sturdy savory stalks.

Evergreen Hardy White

This is a beloved green onion that takes about 65 days to grow, thrives all through the seasons, and boasts a fast growth rate and hardiness to harsh weather conditions.


These are your go-to if you want impressively long stalks that grow to over 15 inches.

It also develops very fast, within 55 days.

Newly harvested Parade Green Onion in yellow container.

(Image: F Delventhal (krossbow)14)


The parade is a high-quality green onion variety widely grown around homes in the country.

Red Beard

Unlike the onions above, the red beard is known for its unique purplish-red stalks.

It grows fast in about 55 days and is a perfect ingredient for cooking and eating raw.2

A bunch of Red Beard Green Onion showing its purplish-red stalks.

(Image: Evan-Amos15)

When To Plant Green Onions for the Best Yield

Timing is one of the first considerations to make in how to grow green onions.6 It is crucial to consider the season and the variety you are planting to ensure a bumper and healthy harvest.

Photo of many spring onions bundled by green rubber bands.

(Image: Christopher Previte16)

You can start in spring, if planting them outdoors, preferably towards the end of March or early April, when the temperatures will not plummet. Alternatively, you place it indoors for a few weeks and then transplant them when the soil gets warmer.

How To Grow Green Onions

Spring is the best time to plant green onions if you want to harvest in summer. They have shallow roots, making them susceptible to drying, explaining why it is crucial to keep the soil moist.

You can increase the watering frequency during the scorching months and add mulch for conservation and weed prevention. Weeding avoids competition for available resources since onions don’t compete well.

You can also hill the soil for the stalks to grow taller and stronger or practice deep planting. For outdoor gardens, the best spot should allow full sunlight, and the ground must be well-draining.

The seeds go ¼ inches deep, whether in gardens or containers. They also need proper spacing to avoid overcrowding, and you can thin them if they continue to grow too close.

How To Grow Green Onions From Seed

Planters start with seeds indoors for up to 10 weeks until the frost passes, or they plant it directly on the ground when the air is warmer. You plant them about ¼ inches deep in the soil and ensure that you water them frequently.

Many prefer indoor planting that is easier to monitor because onions tend to grow slowly from seeds.
Graphic information showing steps for how to grow green onions from seeds, with each step numbered and a field of harvested green onions in the background.


You should see the sprouts in about two weeks, and when the growth is consistent, you can start thinning them to maintain a small distance in the middle. If you want a steady supply, you are safer planting new seeds 3-4 weeks apart.

What Is the Best Location for Growing Green Onions?

Onions thrive in well-draining soils and under full sunlight. If going for a large harvest at the end of the season, you are better off planting in your garden where there is enough room and sunlight access.

Close up photo of young onion sprouts from the soil.

(Image: Victor Serban17)

It is also best to plant your onions alongside parsnips since they grow slower, especially if you want to save on space. They also work with carrots helping to deal with rust flies.

How To Regrow Green Onions

Green onions are excellent crops for gardeners because you can regrow them from their root ends. You can buy them from a grocery store, chop the tips with the roots intact and place them in a water jar ensuring the ends are covered and the tops are floating above.

Next, place the container under a well-lit window and keep replacing the water when the level drops, and you should see the shoots developing in days. However, this is not the best way to get long healthy green onions because leaving them in water deprives them of the soil nutrients they need.1,10

When the shoots reach about 4 inches tall, you can remove them from the water and plant them in soil, whether in the garden or a container. If you meet all the conditions, you should harvest onions about 3-5 times from each bulb.

How To Grow Green Onions in Water: Regrowing Green Onions in Water

Regrowing onions in water is the fastest way to see the shoots develop before you can transfer the onions to their permanent location. All you need is store-bought green onions, a clear cup, water, and a well-lit space near a window.

First, chop off the parts you need and use the scraps or the bulbous part of the roots, preferably 1-2 inches long. Once you rinse the cuttings, you can place them in a cup or jar with water, ensuring that the roots are covered and the rest of the stalk is floating above.

Next, place the cup under full sunlight access near a window for better growth. The shoots should develop in a few weeks, ready for replanting in the soil.

You can regrow them like this about 4-5 times, after which you will have to substitute them.

How To Plant Green Onions To Regrow in Soil

While they can regrow in water, it is crucial to know how to grow green onions in soil for the best yield. The nutrients in the ground ensure that the crop grows longer, stronger and healthier, but leaving them in water makes them thinner and less flavorful.5

The onion scrapes can do well even by planting them directly in the soil. If you don’t have garden space, you can plant some in a small container with rich soil and water them regularly to prevent drying up.

Growing a Green Onion From a Seedling

Green onions best grow from seeds that start indoors, but you can buy transplants and directly plant them outside for a head start. You take the seedlings and plant them in different well-spaced holes a quarter an inch deep and 2-4 inches apart.

The next step is to water and care for them as you would with sprouting onions from seeds, and you are sure to get an excellent harvest in due time.

When and How To Harvest the Crop

If you are a first-timer learning the ropes of how to grow green onions, you will appreciate that they are easy to grow and harvest. You can get 2-5 harvests based on your regrowing method,7 water, or soil.

The best part about onions is that they keep growing from layers of the initial stem, and you don’t have to worry when the subsequent stalks get thinner.

To harvest your crops, you can cut as much as you need, but it is best to chop it about an inch from the ground level to facilitate further regrowth.

How To Grow Green Onions in a Container

Green onions make excellent container plants and thrive in plastics or fabrics as long as they are under full sunlight and the soil inside is well-draining and fertile.

Photo of several young oinions planted in small black plastic containers.

(Image: Greta Hoffman13)

The best pots should be about 2 inches high with proper drainage. For the best result, you can add a potting mix of compost and moisten the soil whenever it dries up.

How To Grow Green Onions From Cuttings or Scraps

You can start healthy crops from your kitchen scraps if you pick healthy cuttings from the onions available at your local stores. You take the bottom two inches of the crop, wash it, place it in water, and let it grow as you keep emptying and refilling the container.4

They grow best directly under sunlight, and your roots should be ready for replanting in the soil within a few weeks.

How To Grow Green Onions Indoors

How to grow brussel sproutsGrowing onions indoors ensures you get a steady supply all year round. You can care for them and watch them grow from your house, provided that you take great care of them.

Another advantage is that you avoid common diseases that attack plants outdoors.

They need a spacious container filled with quality soil and should receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. You can place them under a window or direct sunlight and water them frequently, especially during the summer.

How To Propagate Green Onions

You can propagate green onions by division, especially in spring, since they can grow as perennial plants. To divide a mature crop, you dig a clump, avoid interfering with the roots, and slowly divide them to form two or more parts based on the onion’s size.

You can now replant each of the parts you have removed in your preferred site and replant them at a preferred location. Water the soil while caring for it like you usually do other onions.

Green Onions

(Allium cepa)

Green Onions in an oval frame on green background.
  • Order: Asparagales
  • Family: Amaryllidaceae
  • Growing zones: 5 to 10
  • Plant Type: Bulb, Cool Season Vegetable, Edible, Vegetable

How To Care for a Green Onion Plant

Here are factors to consider when taking care for a green onion plant.


While green onions can survive shade, they thrive better under six hours of full sun, which helps them grow longer, stronger, healthier, and tastier leaves.


Given the plant’s shallow roots, it helps to irrigate regularly to keep the soil from drying up, mainly when it is sweltering outside.

The ground should be moist but not boggy,9 and remember to water the soil directly, not the leaves.


Like other vegetables, onions love rich, well-draining sandy loam that is slightly acidic. A bonus will be adding compost to make the soil more fertile.


The crops grow better under 45 degrees or warmer and can survive humid conditions as long as other factors are in check.

How Many Times Can You Regrow Green Onions?

The impressive part about green onions is that you can regrow them more than once, ensuring that you have a steady supply, unlike other crops.

Depending on the variety and the regrowing method, you can expect to harvest your onions 2-5 times, after which you will have to substitute them for new ones.

How Long Do Green Onions Take To Grow?

If you perfectly timed your onions and grew them during the cold spring, you can watch out for a harvest 10-12 weeks after planting. However, it can shorten to eight weeks if it is warmer outside.

The best part is that there is no specific harvest time as long as the onions are to your preferred size.

Growing Zones for Green Onions (Where To Grow)

It is crucial to know the recommended growing zones for various crops before starting planting projects.

Green onions can live and thrive in USDA zones 6-9, where the winters are more bearable for them to survive all year round.

However, you can also overwinter them if you live in the colder regions of the country, but you will need to shield the bulbs from the cold using mulch.

How Far Apart To Plant Green Onions?

You can sow the tiny seeds a quarter of an inch apart from each other or in grid patterns because onion roots don’t grow deep or fight for the soil’s nutrients.

However, the stalks will keep growing closer, and thinning will help check them.

How Much Sunlight Does Green Onion Need Each Day

Onions need six or more hours of sunlight daily, explaining why they love growing in the open with unobstructed access.

However, you can also plant them in containers indoors as long as you place them under a window or where the sun’s rays can reach, as you do with types of indoor palm trees.

Common Pests of the Green Onions

Although green onions are relatively easy to plant, they are not safe from common pests and diseases.

The most infamous insects to watch out for include slugs, cutworms, onion maggots, allium leaf miners, and thrips, which feed on the leaves and deform them or render them unusable.

Close up photo of worms and maggots infesting in a green onion.

(Image: Rasbak12)

On the other hand, you can watch out for diseases like purple blotch, botrytis leaf blight, downy mildew, and white rot. Some of these diseases can stay in the soil for years, affecting the successive crops you plant.

How To Stop Green Onions Disease (Or Fungus, Rot, Whatever Is Applicable)

Most green onion diseases are easily transmitted to other crops, affecting entire rows quickly. Proper spacing helps avoid close contact, preventing such infections, and leaves sufficient room for air to circulate.

You can also make a habit of rotating your crops every season to prevent infection of the same plant in the same soil. It is also best to plant the onions in well-drained soil to battle diseases like downy mildew.

Natural Pest Control for Green Onions

You can remove pests like aphids from your onions by hosing them down or using a mixture of water, dish soap, and cayenne pepper. You can also use essential oils or dust the onions to keep off insects.

However, a long-term preventive approach involves rotating your crops because some diseases lurk in the soil for a while.

Companion Plants for Growing Green Onions

While most plants, including endangered tree species, prefer to grow without competition, others have a perfect symbiotic relationship. Green onions have shallow roots, hence don’t compete with others for the soil’s nutrients.

Their powerful scent also repels insects, making them a natural pesticide. You can plant carrots, peppers, tomatoes, beets, melons, and strawberries near them, and they will effectively keep off aphids, rust flies, maggots, and other insects.

Photo of green onions planted alongside with a different crop.

(Image: Kenan Kitchen11)

On the contrary, green onions are dangerous to plant near beans, asparagus, and different onion types because they will keep competing.3 Onions are some of the most fun vegetables to plant because they are resilient and easy to grow.

You can plant them indoors or outdoors and keep thinning them all year round for a daily supply of ingredients for cooking or eating raw.

You can start from seeds or regrow them from cuttings, but remember that growing in water is not preferred. Water and sunlight are not enough for the green onions that need the nutrients from the soil to grow taller and healthier.

You will have to remove them and plant them in a pot or kitchen garden, ensuring they receive six hours of sunlight and regularly water them. If this is your first time learning how to grow green onions, you will love how simple and exciting the process is.

Are Green Onions Easy To Grow?

You don’t need a green thumb to grow onions. They can thrive under your care even as a beginner because they are not as needy as other crops and are hardy enough to survive harsh conditions.

They need fertile, well-draining soil, frequent watering, and full sunlight.

How To Grow Potatoes

Potatoes are root tubers that need loose, well-draining soil that accommodate their growth underground. When learning how to grow potatoes, you should make sure the soil should be slightly acidic, and the ideal temperature should be 45-55 degrees.

They also need a minimum of 6 hours under the full sun.

How To Grow Carrots

Gardeners who know how to grow carrots understand that carrots don’t like transplanting or any interference with their roots. Therefore, you can plant them directly in their final location, digging the seeds a quarter of an inch deep, 2-3 inches apart.

Since they are root vegetables, they need sufficient room to expand without overcrowding each other.

Learning how to grow green onions isn’t rocket science, and with a few careful strategies, you can have them sprouting both indoors and out.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Grow Green Onions

How To Grow Green Onions vs. Garlic, What Is the Difference?

Garlic and green onions belong to the same plant family, and many mistake them for each other. They are both green and grow slender and tall, but the difference is in the smell and the leaf appearance, with garlic having thicker leaves and a more potent scent than green onions.

How To Grow Scallions From Seeds: Can You Grow Scallions From Seeds?

Seeds grow well in spring; you can replant them outside when the shoots start growing. The first thing is to prepare the soil, properly plant the seeds and care for your onions and they should gradually grow until harvest time.

What Are the Planting Tips for Green Onions?

Green onions need 6-8 hours of natural light daily, fertile soil that drains well, frequent watering when the soil dries, and warmer temperatures. These conditions ensure that the stalks grow tall, sturdy, and sweet

What Are the Best Growing Conditions for Green Onions?

Green onions love fertile, well-draining soils, full sunlight for more than six hours a day, and regular watering because they lack deep roots. They also prefer warm temperatures of at least 45 degrees

What Are the Watering Needs for Green Onion Plants?

Unfortunately, green onions don’t have deep roots that can absorb water better, even during scarcity. Therefore, they need regular irrigation or rainfall, and the best way to check is by confirming that the soil is still moist; otherwise, living in scarcity can affect their growth and ruin their taste.

How To Grow Brussel Sprouts?

Unlike potatoes and carrots, Brussels sprouts need transplanting from the first seedbed to the main plot, particularly at the beginning of summer. They don’t need wide spacing like other root tuners; you can plant them 13mm apart.

How To Grow Celery?

Growing celery from the seed can be tricky because they are tiny. You can mix them with soil and sprinkle the mixture on the ground but ensure that the earth is rich and loose by running a tiller over it and adding 2-4 inches of compost.

How To Grow Rice?

Rice can grow at home, provided it has the perfect soggy and warm temperatures. You can plant after the frost in massive deep pots and preferably buy seeds from the dedicated shop, avoiding planting the heavily manufactured rice that will not effectively grow.


1Iannotti, M. (2022, October 30). How to Grow Green Onions: From Seeds & Regrowing. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from The Spruce: <>

2Jabbour, N. (2023). How to grow green onions: The ultimate seed to harvest guide. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from Savvy Gardening: <>

3Johnston, C. (2021). How to Grow Green Onions. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from Growfully: <>

4Master Class. (2021, June 7). How to Grow Scallions From Seeds and Scraps. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from Master Class: <>

5Vu, H. (2022, March 30 ). How to Regrow Green Onions from Scraps (In Water & Soil). Retrieved February 3, 2023, from Hungry Huy: <>

6Jauron, R. (2023). Planting Onions in the Home Garden. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Retrieved February 14, 2023, from <>

7Oregon State University. (2023). Planting Methods. Malheur Experiment Station. Retrieved February 14, 2023, from <>

8Plant Village. (2023). Onion. Plant Village. Retrieved February 14, 2023, from <>

9University of Florida. (2023). Soggy Soil Can Make Plants Sick. IFAS Extension. Retrieved February 14, 2023, from <>

10Western Institute for Food Safety & Security. (2023). Green Onions. Green Onions. Retrieved February 14, 2023, from <>

11Photo by Kenan Kitchen. Unsplash. Retrieved from <>

12Delia antiqua maggots at Allium porrum Photo by Rasbak / Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0). Resized. From Wikimedia Commons <,_uienvlieg_maden_op_prei.jpg>

13Photo by Greta Hoffman. Pexels. Retrieved from <>

14Onion Parade Photo by F Delventhal (krossbow) / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) . Resized. From Flickr <>

15Red Spring Onions Photo by Evan-Amos / Public Domain. Resized. From Wikimedia Commons <>

16Photo by Christopher Previte. Unsplash. Retrieved from <>

17Photo by Victor Serban. Unsplash. Retrieved from <>

18Species Information Image: Produce, vegetable, green, and onion Photo by Christopher Previte. (2020, October 15) / Unsplash License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Unsplash. Retrieved January 10, 2024, from <>