How to Re-Grow Green Onions from the Grocery Store!


Step by Step How to Regrow Green Onions

  1. Start with a regular bunch of store bought green onions – organic or not – your choice.

2. Cut the onions so there is about one inch of white root end remaining. Place the root ends, root side down in a small glass (shot glasses work well).  Fill with water.

3. Place on a sunny window ledge and replace water ever 2 to 3 days.

4. Enjoy watching how quickly those greens will start to regrow (here’s Day 6).

5. Once they’re 2-3 inches long, you can cut the greens as you need them and keep the roots in the water. They will continue to regrow.

6. Over time, you’ll want to clean up your green onions. Trim the roots and remove any dead layers on the outside of the onions.


How to Care for Green Onions

Wild0ne / Pixabay
Wild0ne / Pixabay

Caring for green onions is easy, even for beginners.


Green onions in jars of water will require fresh offerings each week, while the onions planted in soil require around an inch of water each week. Make sure the soil remains moist, but not wet or soggy. You can place your finger in the top few inches of soil to check the moisture level. If the soil feels dry, offer the plants a nice drink.

Some locations have more spring rain than others as well, which will affect how often you need to water your plants. Check them once per week to ensure they have the water they need. If you grow your green onions in rows or in a raised garden bed, try creating an irrigation system using soaker hoses to help save time watering the plants. When growing in containers, make sure the pot offers good drainage holes in the bottom to avoid soggy soil or stagnant water.


This plant enjoys warm temperatures between 65 and 86 degrees. Some varieties are frost tolerant in colder temperatures as low as -10 degrees if they’re well-rooted in garden soil.


If you’re growing outside, adding mulch around your green onion plants can help them maintain moisture levels and reduce the likelihood of weeds. This is really helpful if you live in an especially dry area or want to spend less time caring for the plants. Try using small mulch pieces like finely ground bark or sawdust, which will fit between the plants more easily.


Throughout the growing season, you’ll want to feed the plants with a balanced liquid fertilizer if you haven’t already added compost to the soil. Organic fertilizer in the soil prior to planting is ideal.

Crop rotation

Green onions are in the crop rotation group known as the Allium (onion) family. Never plant green onions in a garden location or container that previously housed other onions or garlic, and never re-use the soil from these plants for your green onions. The soil can carry diseases that scallions are susceptible to, so you’ll need to rotate the crop each time you plant.

Home-grown green onions rarely suffer from diseases or pests as long as you practice proper crop rotation. However, be on the lookout for soil-borne diseases along with pests like thrips and maggots, such as onion root maggots. Slugs and snails may also feast on the foliage if it’s wet.

Frequently Asked Questions

The bulb of A. fistulosum stays small rather than
The bulb of A. fistulosum stays small rather than growing into an onion. Source: Little Li

Q: Do green onions grow better in water or soil?

A: Although you can temporarily regrow green onions in water, the roots won’t have any nutrients or oxygen to survive long-term. Soil will provide the nutrients they need.

Q: Do green onions grow back every year?

A: Green onions are biennial and can live for several seasons. They will come back after being cut down, but they won’t regrow if the bulbs die or are frozen. 

Q: Do green onions die in the winter?

A: Some varieties can tolerate frost, although they won’t survive sustained periods below freezing. 

Q: Do green onions tolerate heat?

A: Yes! They do well in warm climates with humidity, although they will eventually bolt and go to seed.

The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

Rebecca Hendricks Master Gardener volunteer

How to regrow green onions in water

Fill a clean jar with a small amount of water. Place the trimmings in the jar. Keep them standing so the roots are submerged in water, and the very top of the stems should stay above water.

Place the jar in a very bright spot. Avoid too muc

Place the jar in a very bright spot. Avoid too much direct sun because it will cause algae to grow in the water. If your spring onion cuttings are fresh and healthy, you will not need to change water at all. Otherwise change the water if it looks a bit cloudy.

New growth will start in as little as 3 days! Keep

New growth will start in as little as 3 days! Keep adding water every few days so the roots are always submerged. 

You can keep trimming the new green onion tops and use them in your cooking. They will continue to grow more new shoots.

To really maximize your harvests, you can add a dr

To really maximize your harvests, you can add a drop of diluted organic liquid fertilizer like this every week or two, or plant these trimmings in soil.

Can you regrow green onions in soil?

Green onions can be planted in soil and while this method isn’t as cool as planting in water, it seems to have a higher yield.

Soil panting is boring, traditional, and old school, but it works. If you just want to get a guaranteed harvest, then soil propagation is the best choice. It also requires minimal care and leaves more room for mistakes.

When you have grown them in a contained environment, like a container of water, it makes it easy for nutrient buildup, hard water buildup, or other things that can negatively impact your onion production.

Green onion disease

There is some green onion disease that you should be on the lookout for.

Some of these are downy mildew, purple cloth, onion smut, leaf blight, or neck rot. All of these are likely caused by overwatering and poor air circulation.

Consider reducing water, harvesting more often, or using fans to help evaporate the water. If you notice any weird colors, spots, or wilting of your green onion, it should be pruned.

Then you should start with a natural fungicide to get rid of the issue. Avoid watering the leaves and make sure the mulch around the base doesn’t touch the foliage. Water at the base.

Is It Safe To Eat Sprouted Onions?

It is safe to eat sprouted onions, as long as you check for:

  • Mold – cut off any black spots, or discard the onion if the mold is too widespread.
  • Rot – if you start peeling the onion and the flesh is brown and smells of sulfur, then the decomposition process has begun.  Cut out the brown parts, or throw out the entire onion if too much of the flesh has turned brown.
  • Brown Leaves – if you are cutting up the green leaves of the onion for cooking, throw away any that have turned brown or soft.

Cooking will help to minimize any bacteria that may be present. If in doubt, put an onion in your compost pile and recycle it as a source of nutrients for next year’s garden!

Tips on growing onions:

The practices you follow will depend on the specific crop you’re growing. In general, onions grow best if you keep them well weeded. Use a sharp hoe to cut off intruders; pulling or digging weeds up can damage the onions’ shallow roots. Once the soil has warmed, put down a mulch around and between the plants to discourage weeds and to hold moisture in the soil.

Dry conditions cause bulbs to split, so water when necessary to provide at least 1 inch of water each week; keep in mind that transplants require more water than sets do. Onions can’t compete well with weeds, so it’s important to direct water right to the onion roots.

If you’ve prepared your soil well, no fertilizing should be necessary. Always go easy on nitrogen, which can produce lush tops at the expense of bulbs. New growth from the center will stop when the bulbs start forming.

Egyptian onions, chives, and shallots require slightly different cultivation from regular onions. Here are some guidelines for growing these onion relatives:

Egyptian OnionsPlant Egyptian onions in fall throughout the country; harvest some in spring as green or bunching onions. In mid-summer or fall, miniature bulbs will form at the stem tip, where most onions form flowers. Pick these tiny bulbs when the tops begin to wilt and dry. Use them fresh or store in the freezer.

ChivesPlant chives and garlic chives in early spring in rich soil. They will tolerate partial shade put prefer full sun. Seeds are very slow to germinate, so most growers prefer to plant clump divisions, which you can harvest after two months. Space the clumps, each of which should contain about six bulbs, 8 inches apart.

Cut the grass-like, hollow tops frequently to maintain production. The pom-pom-like lavender flowers are very attractive, but always remove the spent flowers to reduce the chance of rampant self-seeding. Dig up, divide, and replant every third year. Transplant to containers and move indoors for winter harvests. Chives are almost as good frozen as they are fresh.

ShallotsShallots, a favorite of French chefs, have a blue-green stem that’s used when young. In addition, it has a gray, angular, mild-flavored bulb that’s related to the multiplying onion and is used like a mild-flavored garlic. Shallots will tolerate all but the most acidic soils, but dig the earth deeply because the plants put down 8-inch-long feeder roots. However, they have no lateral roots, so space them just 2 to 3 inches apart.

Propagate shallots by dividing bulb clusters. Each clove, in turn, will produce four to eight new bulbs. In February or March, plant them 1 inch deep, barely covering the tip of the clove. Keep the soil weed-free and slightly moist, but don’t fertilize. In early summer, draw the soil away from the bulbs. Harvest shallots as green onions at any time. Cutting the tops off near soil level will produce new tops, and such harvesting actually increases bulb production. Bulbs mature in about five months. Pull and store like onions.

Why Grow Green Onions

When you are building a survival food plan and you include gardening in that plan, you gain a lot and one of those things is food security. You know how the food was produced, if it is organic or not, and the flexibility to enjoy a better diet.

A garden makes it really easy to add food to your daily table and to put food away for another day. One tablespoon of green onion bulbs and green tops gives you seven carbs and 32 calories. That is not a lot, but it is something and something that is so easy to add to your meals.

If you prescribe to the idea that part of preparing for survival is to include your overall health index, then green onions make a lot of sense. These are not foods that will make you fat in fact, they are low on the weight gain scale and very high on the optimum health scale.

In addition, they are a sink for vitamins A and C and minerals such as iron and calcium.

Green onions are not the most expensive vegetable in the produce department but it all adds up. If you find yourself buying scallions (another name for green onions) every trip you take to the grocery store, then you should consider at least growing a few containers of them at home.

How to Plant Green Onions

Fotoworkshop4You / Pixabay
Fotoworkshop4You / Pixabay

Plant perennial green onions in USDA zones 3 through 9. If you’re in Zone 7 or above, you can directly sow green onions in September to harvest a winter crop as well.

When to Plant

Get your onions into the soil as soon as spring temperatures reach above 65 degrees. If you want to plant indoors, start the seeds around 6 or 8 weeks before you plan to plant. Some locations will vary as well. People in Mediterranean climates, for example, plant green onions at the beginning of April.


Green onions require at least six hours of full sun per day. If you’re growing indoors, a sunny kitchen window is perfect. For outdoor planting, choose a bright location that gets at least 8 hours of sunlight.


Plant in well-draining soil that has a pH balance between 6 and 7.5 for the best results. You’ll want to add in plenty of premium compost or well-rotted manure (4 inches of compost layered on top of the soil) to offer nutrients as well. In contrast, traditional potting soil mix works well if you’re growing green onions in containers.

Selecting Your Onions: Two Options for Onion Greens

Green Onions

Young green onions are sometimes called scallions, spring or salad onions, and can be found with the lettuces in the produce section. They are whole young plants grown from seed and harvested just as their bulbs and leaves become juicy. Unlike the larger onions over there by the potatoes these have not been allowed to mature and dry out; they’re teenage onions. Their fat little white roots should still be attached. The longer and more intact these roots are the faster the onions will grow again. Before you plant them, cut off and use their long green tops—trimming their tops is important to encourage new growth. Just be sure not to cut down into the white bulb itself.

Pearl Onions

Pearl onions, also called boiler onions, are a bit of a gourmet item. These miniature dried onions are just an inch or two in diameter and are often used for creamed onions or for roasting with meat or new potatoes. They may be white, yellow or even red. They usually come packed twenty or so in a nifty little mesh bag, but you might also find them in bulk at a farmers’ market. These will take a little longer than green onions to get started as they have to grow new roots. But because their bulb is larger they have the potential to make a healthy show of greenery to harvest and enjoy. Their tops are pointed and their roots are a brushy dried stubble.


To plant your onions, fill the pot half full with moist soil. Then arrange the onion plants or bulbs two inches apart with the root side down. Gently but firmly pack more soil around them until the trimmed top of the green onion is just peeking out or the bulbs are completely covered. Water well and add more soil if it settles and exposes the bulbs. Place in a sunny window (onions need about six to seven hours of light per day) or under a grow light, and be patient.

Keep the pots moist and in a few weeks you will have a crop of green onion tops to harvest. Once harvested they will grow more green tops and you can harvest them again and again. In fact now that you know the trick you can start onion pots as gifts for all your friends!

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