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How to Grow Potted Green Onions from Clippings

Updated on May 30, 2014
Potted green onions
Potted green onions | Source

Did you know that you can grow your own green onions using clippings from the ones you bought at the store? All you have to do is save the root ends and you can have home-grown green onions in your back yard in very little time!

Most people just throw away the white end where the roots grow, unaware that it can be replanted. The green stalks that we eat will grow back and can be harvested and eaten again in just a few short weeks!

Green onions are easy to grow at home. They can be planted in the soil in your yard, or they can be grown in pots. These plants do just fine both indoors or outdoors, and are very tolerant of weather changes.

Here's how you can go about doing this, and growing your own green onions from the scraps you would have otherwise thrown away!


I've found that planting a few green onions closer together yields more desirable results for me. When you give them more room, they tend to focus their energy on expanding the bulb below the soil and spreading their roots out. However, when they don't have room to do that, it seems that energy goes toward growing upward, which is exactly what I want them to do! Don't crowd them too much, though!

How to Plant

Pick a spot. Just any spot will do. Whether you want to put them in between your rose bushes in the backyard or in a pot on your windowsill, just about anywhere will do (as long as they get a decent amount of sunlight and adequate soil drainage, that is). I like to plant mine in a few pots, placed in between the other potted plants in my garden.

Save at least an inch from the root-end of the next batch of green onions you buy from the store. The end with the root on it is the end that's white and bulb-shaped, and it should still have visible roots sprouting off of it.

After I've cut what I need off of the onion, I like to place those ends in a bit of water for a day or two before I plant them. If they didn't already have roots, this will give the roots a chance to grow before they are planted. They'll do much better if they already have some roots established.

How to Grow

Green onions are easy to grow. They don't need much attention in order to thrive. I've found that they do well both in shaded areas, and in full sun. You can even grow them indoors! Just make sure that they have loose, well drained soil, and water only when completely dry.

I like to grow my garden organically, so I never use any pesticides. However, I do have to take certain precautions with some plants and come up with some pretty creative methods of keeping pests away from them. That's not the case with onions. Not many pests will bother with them, so you won't likely be needing to apply any repellants or insecticides.

Potted green onions, after having been clipped.
Potted green onions, after having been clipped. | Source

Did You Know?

Onions are actually a natural pest repellant. I like to plant my green onions among the other plants in my garden. Having them in close proximity to my other veggies helps to keep away the bugs and critters that might target them!

Potted green onions among other garden plants
Potted green onions among other garden plants | Source

How to Harvest

Since you have green onions growing in your own backyard, you have them at your disposal whenever you need them. I use them often in cooking. When I need to use them, I will just snip whatever I need right off the top. I usually choose the shoots that are deeper green, as those are more mature and have the best flavor.

After clipping, the tops may turn yellow. Don't worry, it will repair itself. I was a bit worried at first that I was killing the plant by clipping, but they repair themselves and continue to grow!

You can either take what you need when you need it, or you can harvest the entire plant at once. Trim the top off to about half an inch from the soil, leaving enough for the plant to regrow. Rinse what you harvested and store in your fridge. Make sure you use a clean, sharp pair of scissors to harvest the plant!

They respond well to being harvested like this. They simply grow back! If you care for them well, they'll grow faster than you can harvest them! You can continue to do this until they start sprouting flowers. At that point, they have reached the end of their season. This happened to me recently, and I noticed that the plant put all of its energy into the flowers instead of the leaves. It began to turn a pale yellowish color and died. At that point, I pulled the plant and planted new ones. I used that same plant for an entire year (including over the winter season) before it flowered.

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Potted green onion that's begun to flower and turn yellow.Flowering green onion.
Potted green onion that's begun to flower and turn yellow.
Potted green onion that's begun to flower and turn yellow. | Source
Flowering green onion.
Flowering green onion. | Source

© 2014 Kristen Haynie


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    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      I have very limited yard space now, and I grow everything in pots. I enjoy onions so much in my salad, I'm trying this method!!

      Thanks so much for sharing your idea!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Believe it or not, I have an onion in a bowl that sprouted and grew the green top indoors. I have cut it and used some of the green onion, and it has regrown. This is without any benefit of soil! Obviously this cannot go on forever but I intend to take your suggestion and plant the green onion bottoms with roots and hopefully have an endless supply of them. Thanks! Pinning this to my gardening board.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image

      ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE 3 years ago from KOLKATA

      I have grown onions in my pots on the roof. I keep the soil moist and in a few weeks I have a crop of green onion tops to harvest. After harvesting they grow more green tops and I may harvest them over and over again. Thank you for the informative hub well written.

    • ShinyM profile image

      ShinyM 3 years ago

      This was really informative. I didn't know you can do that. I will be buying some green onions and saving the ends to experiment. Thanks for the tip.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This was awesome and very well presented. I am going to try this. Can't wait to do it! Voted up and more and sharing.