Why Scallions Are Easiest Aromatic You Can Grow Indoors

updated Aug 22, 2022
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(Image credit: Shannon Douglas)

Perhaps you’ve seen all those gardening hacks online showing that you can regrow your scallions simply by placing the white bulbs in a cup of water (and maybe eventually putting them in soil)? Perhaps you’ve doubted that it really can be that easy? I’m here to tell you it is, indeed, that easy!

It is not hard to have a continuous supply of scallions. Of course, the more you know, the better your results will be. Here’s a quick tutorial on growing and harvesting your own scallions at home.

First, the Basics

Scallions are part of the allium family (the same family as shallots and garlic) and are quick to grow. Even better, scallions are considered cut-and-come plants, meaning you can trim them for eating and the plant will continue growing.

The entire scallion plant is edible — there is the white, bulbous portion of the plant that grows somewhat underground, and the green stalks of the plant that shoot out from the soil. Both are tender, oniony, and delicious.

(Image credit: Shannon Douglas)

Planting Scallions

From Seeds
From seeds, scallions can take months to grow into full, thick plants. This is never my preferred method — only for the fact that there are two other options that are offer more instant gratification.

From Scraps
This is the method I mentioned at the beginning of the post: Using leftover store-bought green onions as your starts. Instead of just putting them in water (which the internet likes to tell you to do), I get the best results planting them into soil.

To do it: Leave three to four inches of the white bulb intact and plant it about 1/2-inch deep in fresh soil. It will produce green stems that should be ready to harvest in two or three weeks.

From Starts
If you begin with starts from a local nursery, growth will happen super quickly. When planting, trim the roots so they are about two to three inches long (above) before you put them into the soil. If you prefer to eat the white portion of the plant, which is more flavorful, you can bury more of that part deeper into the soil and it will grow larger than if it was sticking out of the soil.

Regardless which way you’re starting your scallion garden, choose a narrow pot that is at least six inches deep and work in tidy rows, leaving one inch between plants. Fill the pot to its lip with potting soil — the deep soil will give the plant room to stretch its roots.

Scallions can be planted nearly all year long but do better in direct sunlight, so opt for a south-facing window if you have one. Those with less direct sunlight need not despair — scallions will still grow, just not as quickly.

Either way, keep the soil slightly moist; overly wet soil leads quickly to disease and even insects, so be mindful that the soil drains well and do not let water stand in the drainage saucer after watering.

Every three weeks you can plant more scallions to produce a continuous harvest. Don’t worry about overcrowding the planter because you’ll be thinning it out as you harvest.

(Image credit: Shannon Douglas)

Harvesting Scallions

When you want to eat your homegrown scallions, you have two harvesting options. You can pull the entire plant from the soil, clean it, and use. Of course, then you’ll have eaten the entire plant, so there won’t be opportunity for it to regrow.

(Image credit: Shannon Douglas)

Another option: Leave the white bulb in the soil and cut the green tops. To do this, use scissors to trim up to 70 percent of the green from the plant. This will allow the green shoots to grow back in over the course of about two weeks.

More on Scallions

(Image credit: Amy Pennington)

About me: I’m a cook and urban farmer, and I wrote a book called Apartment Gardening. I believe that growing your own food is a natural extension of eating healthy and eating well — and that anyone can do it, no matter how little space you have.