How to Grow Spring Onions

spring onions

Spring onions, also known as scallions (especially outside of the UK) or green onions, are a tasty and versatile vegetable that is often used as the base of many dishes, in salads or as a garnish. They are easy to grow and require very little maintenance, making them a great choice for beginner gardeners or those with limited space. In this blog, we will explore how to grow spring onions in the UK, from choosing the right variety to harvesting and storing your crop.

Choosing the Right Variety of Spring Onions

To start, it’s important to choose the right variety of spring onion for your area and garden. In the UK, there are several varieties that do well, including ‘White Lisbon’ and ‘Ishikura’. Both of these are hardy and can tolerate cooler temperatures, making them well-suited to the UK climate. They have a mild, sweet flavour and are often harvested when they are young and tender, perfect for a salad with their tasty long green leaves. 

Once you have chosen your variety, it’s time to prepare your soil. Spring onions prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, mix in some compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s structure and fertility. This will help the onions grow strong and healthy and if you keep chickens, then mixing in some of their manure is perfect to give your spring onions a great taste!

Planting your Spring Onions

Next, it’s time to plant your spring onions. They can be planted directly into the soil or started indoors in pots, germinated for added strength and then transplanted outside. If you are starting indoors, sow the seeds in pots or trays filled with seed compost and cover them with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite. Keep the soil moist and place the pots in a warm, bright location until the seeds have germinated. Once the seedlings are large enough, transplant them outside into the prepared soil.

If you are planting directly into the soil, sow the seeds thinly in rows, spacing them about 2.5cm (1 inch) apart. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite and keep the soil moist until the seeds have germinated. Once the seedlings are large enough, thin them out so that they are spaced about 5cm (2 inches) apart.

Maintaining Spring Onions

Spring onions require very little maintenance once they are planted. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, and weed regularly to prevent competition for nutrients and moisture. In addition, consider using a liquid fertiliser every few weeks to provide the onions with the nutrients they need to grow.

It’s worth watching out for downy mildew, a fungal infection that can impact spring onions and shows itself as a white or greyish-purple growth on the leaves of any infected plants – if untreated it will kill your plants. The best way to prevent downy mildew is to make sure you water your spring onions at the base, rather than across the leaves. Also try to ensure you don’t overcrowd the plants and leave plenty of space for air to circulate, a tip that will also help avoid being struck with downy mildew. 


Harvesting your spring onions is a simple process. When the onions are the desired size, simply pull them out of the ground, taking care not to damage the surrounding plants. You can harvest the onions as needed or all at once, depending on your preference.

Once harvested, store your spring onions in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. They will keep for several weeks when stored properly and are perfect in salads and stir-fries, especially with their tasty crisp texture. 

In conclusion, growing spring onions in the UK is a simple and rewarding process. With the right variety and a little bit of care, you can enjoy fresh, delicious spring onions in your dishes all season long. Whether you are a beginner gardener or an experienced pro, give spring onions a try and see how easy and satisfying growing your own vegetables can be.

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