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How to Grow an Onion From an Onion

Forget the generic introductions and let’s cut straight to the chase: growing an onion from an onion is one of those gardening tricks that feels a bit like magic. It’s a process that not only saves those sprouting bulbs from the trash but also provides an almost meditative satisfaction. This isn’t just about planting a vegetable; it’s about witnessing a cycle of life from the comfort of your kitchen or garden.

What You Need: How to Grow an Onion

Materials needed neatly laid out on a table

To embark on this surprisingly simple journey, your toolkit doesn’t need to be extensive or sophisticated. Here’s the straightforward list:

  • A sprouting onion: This is your starting point. That onion in your pantry that’s started to grow little green shoots? Perfect.
  • Potting soil: A good quality, well-draining potting mix is crucial. You want to give your onion the best possible start.
  • A pot or garden plot: Depending on where you want to grow your onion, either will do. Just ensure there’s enough room for growth.
  • Water and sunlight: Fundamental elements for plant growth. Onions enjoy a sunny spot and regular, but not excessive, watering.

The simplicity here is part of the appeal, turning what could have been onion waste into a gardening adventure.


Let’s dive into the steps, shall we? Growing an onion from an onion isn’t rocket science, but it does require a bit of know-how and patience.

  1. Prepare the Onion: Start by peeling away the outer layers of the onion, leaving the sprouts and the core intact. It may feel like you’re performing delicate surgery, but this step ensures that the part of the onion capable of growth is unencumbered.
  2. Pot and Soil Preparation: Fill your chosen pot or garden plot with the potting soil, making a hole in the center for the onion. The setting should be welcoming, with the soil acting as a cozy bed for your onion’s roots to stretch into.
  3. Planting: Place the onion in the hole, with the sprouts facing upwards towards the sky. Cover it lightly with soil, just enough to secure it in place but not so much that the sprouts are buried.
  4. Watering and Care: Give it a good watering initially, and then maintain moisture in the soil without overdoing it. Onions don’t like to be waterlogged. Place the pot or direct your garden plot to a spot that receives plenty of sunlight.
  5. Patience and Observation: Growth doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a waiting game, but one where you get to see those sprouts turn into lush green tops, signaling that the onion is developing underground.


  • Insider Tip from a Master Gardener: “Remember, the onion’s growth is as much about what happens below the soil as above. Regular, gentle care is better than occasional over-enthusiasm.”
  • Choosing the Right Onion: Not all onions are created equal when it comes to re-growing. Look for onions that are firm with healthy sprouts. A mushy onion, no matter how sprouted, is less likely to thrive.
  • Rotation Is Key: If you’re integrating this process into your garden, rotate where you plant onions each year to prevent disease buildup and keep the soil healthy.
  • Bonus Use for Onion Tops: Once your onion has matured, don’t throw away the green tops. They can be used much like scallions in cooking, adding a fresh, oniony flavor to dishes.
Onion tops ready for harvest

How to Plant Onions in Your Garden

Transitioning from the controlled environment of a pot to the open arena of a garden plot is where things get really interesting. The principles remain largely the same, but the scale and potential challenges increase.

Choosing the Right Spot

Onions are sun-lovers and need a location that bathes them in sunlight for the majority of the day. They also prefer soil that’s rich in organic matter but drains well. A spot that’s been successful with root vegetables in the past is a good bet.

Soil Preparation

This step cannot be overstated. Work the soil well, incorporating compost to enrich it. Onions are not deep-rooted, but they do appreciate the ease of spreading their roots without hindrance.


When planting multiple onions, proper spacing is crucial. About 6 inches apart allows each onion ample room to grow without competing for nutrients or space.

Watering and Maintenance

Regular watering that keeps the soil moist but not soggy is the balance to strike. Mulching around the onions can help retain moisture and combat weeds.

The joy of planting onions in your garden is not just in the eventual harvest but in the day-to-day growth you get to observe. It’s a testament to the simple yet profound pleasures of gardening.

How to Harvest Onions

Fully grown onions ready for harvest

The moment of truth! Harvesting is both the culmination of your efforts and the beginning of enjoying your home-grown onions.

Knowing When to Harvest

The tops of the onions will tell you when it’s time. Once they begin to fall over and brown, it’s a sign that the onions have matured and are ready to be harvested.

The Harvest

Gently lift the onions from the soil using a fork or your hands. Be careful not to bruise them. Once out, shake off any excess soil and let them dry in a warm, airy spot for a few days. This helps cure the onions, extending their shelf life.


After curing, trim the roots and the dried tops, and store your onions in a cool, dry place. Properly stored, they can last for several months, providing you with a taste of your garden well into the winter months.

Harvesting your onions is incredibly rewarding, marking the end of one cycle and the potential beginning of another, should you choose to replant. It’s a beautiful, cyclical process that connects you more deeply to the food you eat and the earth it comes from.

Read This | Onion Plant Growth Stages: Understanding the Life Cycle

Conclusion – How to Grow an Onion

Growing an onion from an onion is more than just a gardening project; it’s a statement. It says that we can create, that we can take something as mundane as a sprouting onion and give it new life. Through this process, we engage with nature, learn patience, and perhaps most importantly, gain a deeper appreciation for the seemingly simple things that sustain us.

Whether in a pot on your windowsill or a plot in your garden, the journey from sprout to harvest is one of discovery, filled with the potential for both success and learning experiences. And let’s not forget, it’s also about enjoying the literal fruits (or in this case, vegetables) of your labor.

So, the next time you see an onion sprouting in your kitchen, see it not as waste but as an opportunity—an opportunity to grow, to create, and to connect with the cycle of life that sustains us all.

FAQs – How to Grow an Onion

Who can plant a sprouted onion?

Anyone interested in gardening can plant a sprouted onion.

What is needed to plant a sprouted onion?

You need a pot, soil, water, and a sprouted onion.

How do you plant a sprouted onion?

Plant the sprouted onion in soil, cover lightly, water, and place in sunlight.

Why should I plant a sprouted onion?

Planting a sprouted onion can yield fresh green onions for cooking.

What if my sprouted onion doesn’t grow?

If it doesn’t grow, try planting another sprouted onion or check soil conditions.

Can I plant a sprouted onion in my garden?

Yes, you can plant a sprouted onion in your garden for a continuous harvest.

Kyle Williamson
Kyle Williamson
My passion for horticulture blossomed upon graduating in 2013. Ever since, I've reveled in the art of cultivating, landscaping, and transforming outdoor spaces into vibrant havens. As an experienced horticulturist, I'm dedicated to nurturing the beauty and functionality of gardens, ensuring they thrive as extensions of their surroundings.

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