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Botanical name: Allium cepa

Plant type: Vegetable

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Soil type: Any, Loamy

Soil pH: Neutral

Onions are a cold-season crop, easy to grow because of their hardiness.

We recommend using onion sets, which can be planted without worry of frost damage and have a higher success rate than direct seed or transplants.

Onions grow well on raised beds or raised rows at least 4 inches high.


  • Select a location with full sun where your onions won't be shaded by other plants.
  • Soil needs to be well-drained, loose, and rich in nitrogen; compact soil affects bulb development.
  • Till in aged manure or fertilizer the fall before planting. Onions are heavy feeders and need constant nourishment to produce big bulbs.
  • At planting time, you can mix in some nitogen fertilizer, too, and side dress every few weeks until the bulbing process begins.
  • Seeding? Onion seeds are short-lived. If planting seeds indoors, start with fresh seeds each year. Start seeds indoors about 6 weeks before transplanting.
  • Plant onions as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring, usually late March or April. Make sure temperature doesn’t go below 20 degrees F.
  • For sets or transplants, plant the smaller sets 1 inch deep, with 4 to 5 inches between each plant and in rows 12 to 18 inches apart.
  • Think of onions as a leaf crop, not a root crop. When planting onion sets, don’t bury them more than one inch under the soil; if more than the bottom third of the bulb is underground, bulb growth can be restricted.
  • Practice crop rotation with onions.


  • Fertilize every few weeks with nitrogen to get big bulbs. Cease fertilizing when the onions push the soil away and the bulbing process has started. Do not put the soil back around the onions; the bulb needs to emerge above the soil.
  • Generally, onions do not need consistent watering if mulch is used. About one inch of water per week (including rain water) is sufficient. If you want sweeter onions, water more.
  • Onions will look healthy even if they are bone dry, be sure to water during drought conditions.
  • Make sure soil is well-drained. Mulch will help retain moisture and stifle weeds.
  • Cut or pull any onions that send up flower stalks; this means that the onions have "bolted" and are done.


  • To control thrips—tiny insects about as fat as a sewing needle—take a dark piece of paper into the garden and knock the onion tops against it; if thrips are present, you will spot their tan-colored bodies on the paper. A couple of treatments with insecticidal soap kills them. Follow the package directions. Spray the plants twice, three days apart, and the thrips should disappear.
  • Onion Maggots: Cover your emerging onion crop with a fine mesh netting. Seal it by mounding soil around the edges. The onion maggot likes to lay its eggs at the base of plants, so the netting should prevent that. You should also keep mulch away because the insects like decaying organic matter, and make sure you completely harvest your onions as the season progresses. Onion maggots are usually a problem in very rainy periods, so these precautions may be unnecessary if you have a dry season.


  • When onions start to mature, the tops become yellow and begin to fall over. At that point, bend the tops down or even stomp on them to speed the final ripening process.
  • Loosen the soil to encourage drying, and after a few days turn them up and let them cure on dry ground. Always handle them very carefully—the slightest bruise will encourage rot to set in.
  • When tops are brown, pull the onions.
  • Be sure to harvest in late summer, before cool weather. Mature onions may spoil in fall weather.
  • Allow onions to dry for several weeks before you store them in a root cellar or any other storage area. Spread them out on an open screen off the ground to dry.
  • Store at 40 to 50 degrees F (4 to 10 degrees C) in braids or with the stems broken off.
  • Mature, dry-skinned bulbs like it cool and dry, so don't store them with apples or potatoes.

Recommended Varieties

Onion varieties are classified into two categories: Long-day, best in the North, and short-day, best for the South.

  • ‘Yellow Sweet Spanish’ long-day hybrid, large round shape, yellow-white.
  • ‘Stuttgarter’ short-day variety sold in sets, early maturity with slightly flat shape, yellow.


Wit & Wisdom

Onion's skin very thin,
Mild winter coming in;
Onion's skin thick and rough,
Coming winter cold and rough.


Hello, thanks for all the

By luisa on September 20

Hello, thanks for all the great information. I just saw some red onion sprouts at the local home depot and decided to get some. I read somewhere that onions can be planted in the end of summer for a fall crop. Are there things that need to be done differently? This is just for my garden box. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I'm in southern California BTW.

Hello, thanks for all the

By luisa on September 18

Hello, thanks for all the great information. I just saw some red onion sprouts at the local home depot and decided to get some. I read somewhere that onions can be planted in the end of summer for a fall crop. Are there things that need to be done differently? This is just for my garden box. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I'm in southern California BTW.

Hi, Luisa, By some estimate,

By Almanac Staff on September 19

Hi, Luisa, By some estimate, a critical aspect of growing onions in Southern California is choosing the proper "day-length"—onions are uniquely sensitive to the amount of daylight that they receive. The particulars of growing them in your area, as well as recommended varieties, are available here
A plant tag, or perhaps the vendor, should tell you what variety you have. Presumably, the local store is offering varieties that have promise in your area.
Good luck!

Am from southern africa

By justin nherera on August 30

Am from southern africa zimbabwe . l need to purchase onion called Arad f1 hybrid from lsrael to resale here . l hope you will be able to give me some contact details of the supplier.Many thanks in advance.

we planted onion sets, in

By RLahr on August 27

we planted onion sets, in central minnesota. The leaves are still green as are the onions on top by the leaves. Can they still be eaten at this time, even if they are green

Usually you harvest onions

By Almanac Staff on August 28

Usually you harvest onions when the tops start turning brown and the onions under ground start pushing through the soil. The green tops of onions can be cut and used the same way you use scallions.

I appriciate yo guidlines on

By Lumu Martin

I appriciate yo guidlines on onion growing,they're clear & I hope to get started soon with a very clear image.

Dear sir I have Texas early

By Ahmed Aziz

Dear sir

I have Texas early Grano seeds short day kind , we need to grow it at September 01 , we are in Iraq - Erbil and degrees on September average will be around 30 - 35 mid and 15 degree night

Please your opinion on this kind of Onion and time ?

Best regards
Ahmed aziz

I live in southern Wisconsin.

By StephanieE

I live in southern Wisconsin. Temps can drop to -20F during winter. I still want to try planting onions in the Fall for next year's crop. What advice do you have for me?

I left some small onion bulbs

By StephanieE

I left some small onion bulbs in the ground all winter because they were too small at the end of summer 2013. This summer, 2014, they grew and flowered, and some of the bulbs started dividing around the original's now hard central stalk. If I leave them in the ground until summer of 2015, will they divide into multiple onion bulbs, like garlic does?

Hi Stephanie, If you leave

By Almanac Staff

Hi Stephanie,
If you leave mature onions in the ground over winter they will flower the next year and the onion under the soil will form segments (much like a garlic bulb). You can dig this up in the fall and plant segments (onion sets) in the spring for a new crop of onions. You can also save the seeds after the flower on top of the stalk has faded.

Almost all of my red onion

By Joann Bradbury

Almost all of my red onion sets grew seed balls quickly. Onions are small. What did I do wrong?

Hi, Joann: Hard to tell, but

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Joann: Hard to tell, but this may be because your soil was not rich enough in nitrogen. Thanks for asking!

This question may have been

By Tera Byard

This question may have been asked already, but I went ahead and pulled up my onions because we were getting a ton of rain and I was afraid they would rot. The tops were starting to turn yellow. Should I go ahead and cut the tops ofd and let them dry in the sun or what do I need to do at this point?

To harvest onions: Wait for

By Almanac Staff

To harvest onions: Wait for the tops of storage onions to fall over and turn brown before you pull them.  Dig up the bulbs carefully with the tops attached. Then let them dry (cure) in a shed or greenhouse or warm area for 2 to 3 weeks until the tops are totally dried out and the skins are papery. Spread out the onions in a single layer on a clean, dry surface.  Then cut off the tops (about 1 inch above bulb).

amateur gardener who has had

By peter tattersall

amateur gardener who has had problems storing onions

Hi Peter, See the new Q&A

By Almanac Staff

Hi Peter, See the new Q&A above regarding how to harvest onions. Then, for storing onions, place the "cured" or dried onions in a wire basket or crate or mesh bag so they get air circulation. Store the onions in a cool, moderately dry location. Storage temperatures should be 32 to 40 degrees F. The relative humidity should be 65 to 70 percent. Usually a basement cellar or garage will do, but if the basement is too humid, the onions will rot and if your garage is unheated, you'll need to move the onions before winter.

Hi! I am a first time

By Katie Shelton

I am a first time gardener... In North East Ohio... Anyhoo, we have been doing an amazing job with this garden and a lot of advice we got from you guys! So here is my question... I have pulled all the rest of my onions. The bulbs are about the size of a ping pong ball... Do I clean off the dirt on them or just let them dry out a little and store them? Just not sure exactly what to do yet?? Thanks for everything!

Thanks for your kind words!

By Almanac Staff

Thanks for your kind words! For bulb onions, shake off any clumps soil gently (but don't wash every bit off). Then you need to cure the onions. Let them rest in a dry, sheltered place outdoors for a few days. Then cut off their tops, leaving a couple inches, and bring them indoors to further dry in a cool, dry place. After this, you can further cut down the stubs and store.
In terms of storage: It depends on the onion. Most can be stored in the basement or a cool, dry place (50 to 60 degrees F). Otherwise, the refrigerator is fine.

This is my first year growing

By JoshinCNY

This is my first year growing a good amount of onions from sets in my garden. I am zone 5A, and planted white yellow and red onions (about 75 of each) I am noticing that in one garden the 20 onions in it are thriving, and in my other one they are only doing fair... both gardens have the same soil and were prepared identically, and all onions were planted at the same time. The ones doing fair have the stalks rotting, and when I pulled a couple samples, the skin was very slimy, but the bulb was fine (and tasted fantastic). Any Ideas on what may be causing the rot? Thank you!

Can I freeze onions for later

By Judi Cosby

Can I freeze onions for later use, and how do I prepare them?

Onions are very easy to

By Almanac Staff

Onions are very easy to freeze because they don't require blanching. Simply peel, chop, and freeze.

Hi I want to be Onion Famer.

By Tarkel

I want to be Onion Famer. I've 1/2 Hectare land. I want to farm in 1 Hectare land. Land is near to river and there is no lack of irrigation. But I'm little bit afraid of temperature. I've heard that temperature should be 13-25 degree Celsius. But in my area
Feb (3-24)
Apr (9-34)
June (16-32)
July (17-31)
Aug (12-31)
Sep (16-31)
Oct (11-31)
Nov (5-24)
Dec (0-22).
Can I start Onion farming in this temperature range?
and If I started onion farming in 1 Hectare how much ton it can produce?
I'm new in farming. I'm expecting Your opinion, suggestions and experiences.

Thanks and Regards

That climate should be fine I

By John Merritt

That climate should be fine
I don't know where you live so I can't tell you when to plant and harvest but if your temperature doesn't go below -5 you should be good.
If everything goes ideally you could get up to 80 tons off 1 hectare but you'll probably get less than half of that at first.
In case you're still deciding on what type of onion to grow I'd recommend Walla Walla. They're sweet, big, hardy and will get more profit.
You'll need about 400,000 seeds per hectare. You want full sun and loose, just-barely-acidic soil without too much sulphur. 800 pounds of fertilizer should be good for 1 hectare.
Be careful with pesticide. Too much will kill pollinators. Which you need.
Also you should have a detailed plan for everything and a decent irrigation system or you could fail miserably.
Good luck!

- An onion farmer

can you leave the onions in

By mark zacharko

can you leave the onions in the ground till you are ready to eat them or will they rot,(red onions)

Hi, Mark: No, don't dig 'n'

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Mark: No, don't dig 'n' eat. Wait until 3/4 of your plants fall over. Count 10 days. Harvest your onions. Take half of a big onion and cut it into slices. Make an onion sandwich, wrap it in oiled (well, you can use waxed) paper, then go fly-fishing (OK, you can go for a hike or walk). Pretend you are Nick in Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River." Oops, a little more than you asked for, wethinks.

I am new to Onion

By Ifraz

I am new to Onion Cultivation, Please Guide me on the Insecticides to be used on onions and on what stages.

what are the possible insect attack on onions while cultivation.

The Onion Cultivation is at Sri Lanka (The Country near to India in Indian Ocean)

Whats are the Best Products to use on Onion Thrips and Onion Maggots.

Is there one product for Both Onion Thrips and Onion Maggots.

Please Guide and Help


i planted georgia sweet

By Raymond Nantz

i planted georgia sweet onions this year....how big do the bulbs get?...and when do i harvest...the are about as big as a golf ball now.

Congrats on your nice-size

By Almanac Staff

Congrats on your nice-size onions! A mature Georgia Sweet bulb is about 3 inches if you space correctly.  But there is no perfect size, just pull when they are big enough to suit you, even if they're smaller "spring" onions.

how to pinch onions

By ml walsh

how to pinch onions

I know this questions has

By lkd3

I know this questions has been asked but I'm not seeing an answer. If an onion plant has not matured and instead produced a flower, you advise that it should be pulled. But does that mean the entire row of onions should be pulled as well? Is there any way to save the remaining plants so that they develop into mature bulbs?

Temperature fluctuation is

By Almanac Staff

Temperature fluctuation is the most common cause for onions to flower. If an onion plant is exposed to temperature changes from cold to warm to cold again it will go dormant before resuming growth again and this will cause the onion to flower prematurely. The entire row of onions will experience the temperature changes and  probably produce flowers. Flowering can be prevented by planting the onion sets or seeds at the right time, not too early in the season.

I've got a two-crop rotation

By Jim M

I've got a two-crop rotation of 250 Stuttgarters in my greenhouse (planted six weeks apart, at the beginning of March and the middle of April), trimming greentops as I use them (they do taste amazing) and letting them grow in a mixed compost of shredded bamboo, potash from my incinerator, commercial potting compost and commercial all-purpose compost. They're growing at a stupendous rate, faster than I can eat them! I think I probably got lucky in my choice of growing variety, as I'm at fairly high latitude (53N) yet the average early planting shoot height is more than 18 inches! Oh, and I'm using no dressing fertiliser, just feeding with pure rainwater!

I have a really dumb

By BCWhitaker

I have a really dumb question:
I'm not much of a gardener but I love to watch things grow.
I planted an onion a couple months ago in a planter outside. It has long sturdy stalks (as well as long leaves that smell good to eat) with interesting "flowers" at the end of the stalks.

Here's my dumb question: how do I get more onions? The bulb under my plant is the onion I already paid for.

The top of the onion will

By Jerome Goodwin

The top of the onion will flower then go to seed when they are dry they can be planted for more onions.

Thank you ... I will search

By BCWhitaker

Thank you ...
I will search the forum for the proper procedure for collecting those seeds.

How do I turn the bulb of

By GregJStephens

How do I turn the bulb of seed on top of the onion stalk into seeds to plant. Just wait for them to dry (how long?) and then break them apart and plant them (how deep)? Thanks

Are you talking about onion

By Almanac Staff

Are you talking about onion seedheads (the flowers that form seeds)? If so, harvest the flower when most of the seeds are dry, then store in a cool, dry location for 2 or 3 weeks. You can store them for up to 1 to 2 years. Keep in mind that onions cross-pollinate readily, so the seeds will probably not be like to the parent plant unless the plants have been isolated. Also, the seeds of hybrids will not come true (they will vary in characteristics).
If you are talking about perennial Egyptian onions, they form a cluster of tiny bulbs, called sets, on top of the plant. They rarely form flowers. When the sets become heavy enough, the plant will bend over, and the sets will root in the soil. Thus, another name for this plant, Walking onion. Meanwhile, the onion bulb below ground will start to divide, forming 2 or more bulbs. To harvest the top sets, wait for the stalk to dry, which may occur in midsummer to fall; you can eat these or plant them for more onions. Once an onion bulb in the soil has divided, you can harvest some of the divisions in fall, but leave at least one bulb to continue on for next year. Or, you can leave these alone; they will produce, in a cluster, more stalks with topsets.

Planting by the Moon is a

By Joy Riddle

Planting by the Moon is a great way to help plan your above and below ground crops.
Plant flowers and vegetables that bear crops above ground during the light, or waxing, of the Moon: from the day the Moon is new to the day it is full.
Plant flowering bulbs and vegetables that bear crops below ground during the dark, or waning, of the Moon: from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again.
See the Planting by the Moon calendar here: www.almanac.com/content/planting-moons-phase-gardening-calendar

I want to grow onion. Please

By shantanu

I want to grow onion. Please help me how can do this, and how much need money for 1 acre till harvesting.

I plant sets for use as

By gary keyl

I plant sets for use as pulled green onions. I plant in early march and live in central Tennessee. the last two harvests have resulted in mushy bulbs remaining on the bottom of the stem. while it comes off easily and does not affect the remainder of the onion it results in loss of the meaty part of the onion. I plant 1-2 inches deep and use miracle gro fertilizer. I have planted onions in the same location for several years and last year was the first time I encountered this problem. any suggestion for the remainder of this year or next year

You may have bacterial soft

By Almanac Staff

You may have bacterial soft rot. Check for onion maggots in the soil. They may carry the bacteria from one bulb to another. Discard the soft bulbs and plant your onions in a different section of the garden next year.

I bought a yellow onion in

By Elizabeth B

I bought a yellow onion in the grocery store, and then didn't get around to using it. My husband and I noticed that the onion started to grow greens, so I decided to see what would happen if I popped it into a pot with some regular soil in it. Now it's thriving and I'm not really sure what to do. It has about 2 foot long greens, and there seems to be two main stalks. The two stalks started out extremely close together, and now they are a lot farther apart. I planted it a lot deeper than the article says (whole onion under the soil in my case). I was wondering if I can harvest some of the greens and use them like green onions? And how will I know when to use the onion or not? And how will I be sure to harvest it without killing the plant completely?

can i cut the onions top and

By enlal frazier

can i cut the onions top and use them after they have grow so tall where they are bending over?

The tops are the way the

By Almanac Staff

The tops are the way the onion grows and also how you can tell when it's mature and ready to be harvested.
When the tops begin to dry and fall over in the fall, you know the onion can be lifted out of the ground. Let them dry out for several days.
After the drying, clip the tops and remove the roots, leaving about 3/4 to 1 inch of the neck to seal and prevent entrance of decay organisms.

Best day to plant onion sets

By wyvonnia dillard

Best day to plant onion sets April 2014

Greetings! The planting dates

By Almanac Staff

Greetings! The planting dates depend on where you live. Look under GARDENING tab on our home page for our Planting Date tools.
Specifically, see regional Gardening by the Moon planting dates: 
and the best planting dates by zip code:

My Husband planted onions and

By Ruth Darnell

My Husband planted onions and there is no green leafs coming up from the set's. the bulbes are growing nice but it has lots of roots coming from the bottom of the bulbs .What did he do wrong?He has been planting for atleast 70 years.

It’s still a little early, so

By JBush

It’s still a little early, so they should sprout pretty soon. I live in North Western Nevada and don’t plant onions until the first week of April, or this week.

I have onions sprouting out

By Jackson.35

I have onions sprouting out of the onions that I did not get harvested last fall. Are these going to be okay? Is it as though I have planted onion sets?

Since onions are biennials

By JBush

Since onions are biennials they will probably go to seed.

My onions bulbs end up more

By Noel Freedman

My onions bulbs end up more flat, than round.
I notice from all the comments and suggestions perhaps I am blanting the sets too deep? Will try a shallow planting this season. Thank for the advice.

The final shape of your

By JBush

The final shape of your onions has more to do with variety than planting depth. Some of my tastiest onions are flat shaped when harvested. Onion plants and sets should be planted about 1” deep.

10-10-10 is fine.

By John F. Tucker

10-10-10 is fine.

Are Kelsae and Ailsa Craig

By Shawdog

Are Kelsae and Ailsa Craig the same variety? If they are different varieties, where can Kelsae slips be bought in the U.S.?


George Wilson is correct.

By JBush

George Wilson is correct. Ailsa Craig and Kelsae are different varieties. Ailsa Craig is a variety that originated in Scotland in 1887. Kelsae is a variety that dates to some time around 1980. Johnson Seeds of Cambridge, England bought the plant patent for Kelsae in 1990 and still owns it. When Johnson got control of Kelsae other seed companies began to market Ailsa Craig as a substitute. The difference is Ailsa Craig usually averages 7 lbs. while Kelsae holds the Guiness World Record at over 15 lbs. Johnson’s uses the name Kelsae Exhibition, but the variety is also called Kelsae Giant, Kelsae Sweet, and Kelsae Sweet Giant and all are the same variety. There are no other strains.

They are different varieties.

By georgewilson

They are different varieties. Go on to Google and just do a search such as "Buy Kelsae Onion Seed" and you'll see some options come up.

I bought some small onion

By Cheryl Weakly

I bought some small onion sets, can I start them off in the greenhouse and then transplant them to the raised beds that I made for them or should I wait and put them directly in the beds?

Last year at about this time

By Phil Hulme

Last year at about this time I started some sets in trays in the house. I found that they benefited from an early start, growing bigger than sets I planted direct in beds around end of March. This year I've just started some in greenhouse as it's currently warmer than last year (northern UK).


thank you for your response

By Cheryl Weakly

thank you for your response

Oops! Apologies, as I might

By Phil Hulme

Apologies, as I might have got this wrong. With the onions I started in troughs in late February, after planting them out the bulbs have all shrunk and gone soft. I guess I don't yet know my onions. I'm only a year two allotmenteer and last year might have been beginner's luck, I'm not sure. I've checked out the more experienced gardeners and they planted out their sets direct in second week in April, with the ground getting a bit warmer - I planted some more then too and they're doing OK.

I read through everything

By AmandaJH

I read through everything very carefully, but I am still unsure what "set out plants" mean. Do you mean for me to plant the "sets" in the ground outside? Even if it is before my zones last frost?

We're not sure what your

By Almanac Staff

We're not sure what your question is. On this page, we are referring to "onion sets." Onion sets are small, immature onions, planted in spring or late summer.  You can grow onions from "seed" or from "sets."

Hi,Im From Tanzania,East

By epimack

Hi,Im From Tanzania,East africa,i want to grow onions(red bombay) during rainy season(the price is good this season),but it doesnt grow well during this season,what technique should i use to ensure better results.

thank you for your tips and

By George Gwenzi

thank you for your tips and advice. how best can i fertilise my onion crop for high yields? how can I get Hazera onion seed variety from Israel? it performs so well in Zimbabwe

I found some interesting

By Marcus Rheams

I found some interesting things about harvesting and storing Onions. I harvest them and show people how to properly store them for 8-12 months.

Here is the article: http://organicornatural.com/make-your-food-last-longer-tips-and-tricks/

how do u prepare an onion

By lyada amos

how do u prepare an onion nursery bed and what causes the drying of onions on the nursery




You can purchase onions sets

By maryMo1

You can purchase onions sets such as Walmart, but I purchase mine at any farm store. Onion sets can be purchased individually or in little bundles. They look like baby onions. I buy maybe 5 red, 10 white and 5 yellow. I have a very small raised garden.

Onion "sets" are bulbs. You

By Almanac Staff

Onion "sets" are bulbs. You can grow onions 3 ways: from bulbs or sets, from transplants (young, non-bulbing onion starts) or from seed.

I grew onions for the first

By edvbeck

I grew onions for the first time this year. I started from seed and now they are onion sets. I want the sets to grow to full size onions. Do I leave them in the ground or do I harvest and store until Spring? If harvest/store, what are the conditions? I live in southern New England.

Few people seem to do this.

By Almanac Staff

Few people seem to do this. We are impressed!
Our sources suggest lifting the onion sets before the ground freezes, setting them in a cool, dry, dark place (such as a basement) to cure, or dry. You could braid the greens and hang them, if you like.
When the onions are dry, the roots and the greens—the source of nutrition—are dry (almost papery), cut them off and put the sets into a paper bag and leave in the same cool, dry, dark place until early spring. Then plant them.
We also had a thought, because we like to experiment . . . How about leaving a couple or a few in the ground, but mulched heavily, just to see how they fare.
Let us know how these all fare next season.

I live in MN. I left 4 onions

By jquinn on September 17

I live in MN. I left 4 onions in the ground over the winter(mulched) and they came up in spring, grew 3 ft tall, flowered and produced 2 in. onions, my biggest ones so far

sir i want to know white

By suninder singh

i want to know white onion plant growing row to row and plant plant distance

sunindercont- 7837450001

We answer this question on

By Almanac Staff

We answer this question on the page above.

Your ideas are helping me so

By Ntambo Cuthbert

Your ideas are helping me so much

Can I do a fall planting in

By Houseknight

Can I do a fall planting in Zone 7b of Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion (Long day variety)?

yes but mid-late fall in this

By ben garcia

yes but mid-late fall in this region I live 7b and it works great some others to try are spinach and broccoli those are early fall or spring depending...

Long-day onions need about 14

By Almanac Staff

Long-day onions need about 14 to 15 hours of daylight to bulb. In zone 7, you should grow short-day onions. The light in the South doesn't vary as much as the North.

What about in zone 6? Would

By Heather87

What about in zone 6? Would short-day or long-day onions be best? I'm in North-Western Kentucky.

Google the Dixondale Farm

By JBush

Google the Dixondale Farm website and look up your location on their map. You should be able to grow both short day and intermediate day varieties. They also have downloadable PDF files with very good instructions. You can plug in your zip code and they’ll give you the best ship date. I’ve bought onion plants from them for years with very good results. For the biggest onions be sure you fertilize and water regularly.

I planted onion sets the

By G-ma R

I planted onion sets the first week in June. Red and yellow onions. it is now August. They have grown quite well as far as I can tell. However they are more like giant green onions. They have not gotten any big bulbs on the bottom. The necks are an inch or so around. What do I do to have them get a big bulb like they are supposed to be and not so big of a top?

There are many reasons for

By Almanac Staff

There are many reasons for lack of bulbing. Is your soil rich in nitrogen? Onions are heavy feeders and need nitrogen at planting and while growing until they bulb up. Is your soil loose and crumbly--not too compact? Did you plant at the right time? This is often an issue. We don't know where you live, but June sounds late. Did you plant with the right spacing and not too deep? It they are planted more than an inch deep, they won't bulb up well. Did they get enough water to bulb? Please review this planting guide for more tips.

I live in SE Idaho at an

By G-ma R

I live in SE Idaho at an elevation 6100 ft. The last Saturday in May we had a hard frost.How early should onion sets get planted here? The nitrogen is an issue. The rest I believe are fine, spacing, water and loose dirt. Thank you!

I checked the map and the

By JBush

I checked the map and the border of southern Idaho is 42 degrees North latitude. That means that long day varieties will perform best in your area, You can find those varieties at many websites. Since it’s too late to start plants from seed I would suggest you order plants of long day varieties.

I would also google for the “Average Last Day of Frost” for your city or Zipcode, or call your local agriculture extension. At 6100ft. elevation that may be around the end of May, but you should know what it is. Once you have that information you should plan your planting date for plants one month prior to the ALDF.

About growing conditions and fertilizer, you won’t be able to grow large onions without the proper amount if nutrients and regular, even moisture. I would suggest 10-15-10 applied at 3 to 4 week intervals. If your soil is poor, you may have to fertilize every 2 weeks.

Good Luck and may your onions grow large and sweet!

From what we can find, a

By Almanac Staff

From what we can find, a general planting guideline seems to be either March/April as soon as the soil can be worked, or about 2 weeks before last expected spring frost. Choose a short-season variety.
However, we'd suggest calling your county's Cooperative Extension to make sure you get the best information for planting times in your area and elevation. For contact information, see:

my white onions have green

By Gloria Alfred

my white onions have green onion like leaves and now they have produced a white sort of flower at the end of them...what do I do?

If your onions have flowered,

By Almanac Staff

If your onions have flowered, they have prematurely bolted; the usual reason is usually some type of temperature variation shifting between cold and warm. There's not much you can do. It may still be edible, albeit smaller; use right away. One tip: use only transplants that are pencil-sized or smaller in diameter. Generally, a large onion plant will produce a seed stalk after planting instead of forming a large bulb.

can you harvest the green

By muffinRN

can you harvest the green tops of red onions to dry and use for seasoning

The green tops provides the

By Almanac Staff

The green tops provides the energy for the onions bulbs so we probably wouldn't. Once the tops die back, the onion is ready to harvest.

I did not know how to harvest

By annette bachmeier

I did not know how to harvest my large red onions and I noticed they were very large and looked ready to pull. the leaves were still tall and green (2-3 feet). I pulled most of them and now read that I should have waited. What do you recommend I do?

Onions are "mature" when the

By Almanac Staff

Onions are "mature" when the bulbs are big and the tops begin to turn yellow and fall over. Don't worry though; onions can be harvested at any stage. There is no rule.

Have a good day,how many days


Have a good day,how many days or months before the onion will harvest?

It depends on the variety and

By Almanac Staff

It depends on the variety and your climate, but the "days to maturity" are generally 100 to 120 days for mature bulbs. 

My onion sets grew

By Sandy Bews

My onion sets grew wonderfully, nice big onions. Now I'm finding that the onions have split, not into two onions, but layers have split open and they aren't going to be usable! I don't know why??

The usual reason for split

By Almanac Staff

The usual reason for split bulbs is moisture stress, such as dry soil or waterlogged soil, especially when bulbs begin to form and enlarge. Even moisture is very important; Keep onions evenly moist, but not waterlogged, throughout the growing season.

i am from india from tamil

By Rajendiran

i am from india from tamil nadu. my onion plants leafs are became yellow and it couldn't able to continue its growth and became waste. the age of the plant is abt 40 days. how to make them to regrow...

The Old Farmer's Almanac is a

By Almanac Staff

The Old Farmer's Almanac is a North American publication addressing needs of North American readers. We suggest you speak to gardening experts in India who understand your climate and conditions!

My onions are extremely tall

By mandalu9

My onions are extremely tall and have fallen over, but it started only 1 1/2 months after being planted. They're still green, they just can't hold themselves up and are about 2 ft tall.
I feel like this is stunting bulb growth. What can I do without damaging or interrupting the other plants in my raised bed?

The bulbs are probably small.

By Almanac Staff

The bulbs are probably small. You can eat them now or let them keep growing as long as the tops are green.  It will just take longer. You may be harvesting in August. Onions send out a leaf for each layer on the bulb. If some of the leaves fall over, it will send out more. No worries.

I planted onions last year

By Deb Samle

I planted onions last year and the grasshoppers ate them down to the ground. The onions came back up this spring and now have what looks like onion sets forming at the top. What is that? What do I do now?

It sounds like you have

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like you have bulbils forming. These are onion seeds. They are too tiny to plant for significant results. You could pull one up and see how big the onion is underground. (Is it big enough to use/eat?) Or cut off the bulbils and give the onions a little more time. They might grow a bit more.

Can I cut the green stalks

By Heather I

Can I cut the green stalks and use/eat as Green Onions? Will that help my Red and Yellow Onions that are growing (that I'm cutting them from)? I hate stomping them and just letting the great potential green onion rot on the ground. Could actually cutting them ruin the growing potential of the onions in the ground?

You can snip the very top of

By Almanac Staff

You can snip the very top of the greens, but those stalks provide the energy that the onions need to mature. Snip sparingly.

My onions did not mature fast

By SharondeSilva

My onions did not mature fast enough last year and of course are flowering now. The are huge and beautiful so green. I know to pull them now anyway because of the bulb at the top but I do not see how to cure these. Can anyone tell me what to do at this point.

I planted my onions with the

By Shane Williams

I planted my onions with the bulb just under the surface. Do I need to remove some dirt from around the bulb to get them to grow properly?

When to harvest planting from sets?

By Anonymous

Hi. I planted onion sets in Oct 2012. I live between Baltimore and Wilmington, DE. I also planted another round of sets in April 2013. When do you think I can stomp the greens and harvest? Thank you.

What with weather conditions

By Almanac Staff

What with weather conditions (not just now but since you planted) and the potential variability of any given area, we can't say exactly. Watch for the tops to become yellow and begin to fall over. Stomp (per our advice on this page) and pull the onions when the tops are brown.
Here in New Hampshire, that's usually in late summer.

How long from bulb to ready

By Anonymous

How long from bulb to ready to pick

will you give me adviceon

By thomas beeson

will you give
me adviceon sex?

will you give me adviceon

By thomas beeson

will you give
me adviceon sex?

Months. If you plant in the

By Almanac Staff

Months. If you plant in the fall to let the bulbs overwinter in the ground, they would mature near the end of summer, when the green tops dry and flop over. If you plant in the spring, you have to look for the same signs before harvesting.

Regular onions

By Anonymous

I cant figure out when you harvest the regular onions. I dont think they really have a color and the stems on mine are tall but I don't know if the bulbs are mature enough.

Onion bulbs are mature when

By Almanac Staff

Onion bulbs are mature when the foliage--the green tops--dry, turn brown and fall over. It's usually late in summer.

wild green onions

By Anonymous

I have wild green onions growing between the rocks in my ditch. theyre about 3ft tall. are they good to eat?

wild green onions growing in ditch 3 ft tall

By Anonymous

This is a cattail! not a green onion, You can eat the roots.

planting onions from the grocery after they began growing.

By Anonymous

I have store bought onions that began growing. I would like to plant them and see what happens. What can I expect at harvest time? Will I have more onions or just bulbs that grew, flowered and seeded?

Actually I had the same idea.

By rodge

Actually I had the same idea. I had an onion that had begun growing during the winter and I planted it in the spring. I now have 3 beautiful onions which I have just harvested so it is possible to get onions this way.

You will not get an edible

By Anonymous

You will not get an edible onion out of this, but you will get onion seeds (and green onion cuttings, I suppose).

Tiny white bugs destroying bulb. Not maggots...

By Anonymous

A week ago I noticed my onions weren't doing so great.. My mother suggested digging one out to see what was going on. I did. They were loaded with reddish brown ants carrying around these tiny white things on their heads! I assumed they were ant larvae or something. So, I put some organic ant killer down and waited a week. I dug up another one and they are still looking sickly as ever, but now, if you peel back the first layer there is a multitude of these teeny tiny crawling white bugs! I also spotted one crystal clear super thin, like 1/2 the size of a sewing needle, worm?? Help!!! I'm pretty sure they aren't maggots. They have legs.

It sounds like you have onion

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like you have onion maggots. The adult onion maggot fly lays it's eggs in the soil around onion plants in the spring and the maggots appear when the soil warms up. Yellow sticky traps will capture the flies in the early spring or you can use row covers to protect the onions. Plant a new row of onions in a different spot of your garden. Try red onions which are more resistant.

hail storm

By Anonymous

Had a freak hail storm here in Texas the other day. It trampled the green stalks. Will this "speed up the ripening process" like if you stomped them? They still needed another 25 days or so to mature.

bent onion leaves

By Almanac Staff

Garden lore tells us that bending the green leaves of onions close to maturity will help the plant to spend more energy on bulb growth. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The plant needs the leaves in working order so that they can make food for bulb growth. Bending or otherwise damaging the green leaves (such as via storm damage) will harm the growth of the bulb.

Because of hail damage, it is possible that your bulbs will be smaller this year. Harvest time might actually be delayed, depending on the percentage of leaves lost on each plant and the ability of the plant to recover. Some leaves might heal and help with bulb growth, or new leaves start to form, so we'd recommend leaving the plants alone in case they will perk up again. Wait until the leaves have yellowed and browned on their own before harvesting the bulbs.

onion blooms

By Anonymous

my 1015 onions tops are about 10" and are setting blooms. A onion bulb has only begun to form. I planted them 62 days ago.
Is this normal?

onion flowers

By Almanac Staff

Flowers on onions are not desirable (unless saving seed), as it compromises the quality of the bulb. Flowers can be triggered by temperature fluctuations (such as a period of warmth, followed by cold, followed by warmth).

A bulb uses energy to send up a flower stalk (called bolting), so once it does, the bulb will be smaller and won't be as large as an onion that does not bolt. It is still edible, but lower in quality. It is not necessary to cut off the flower stalks (some gardeners do, some don't), but you should harvest the bulb as soon as you can, and use it promptly--it will not store well.

When buying onion sets, look for those that are no thicker than a pencil, and plant them out at a time recommended for your area; larger sets tend to bolt. Also, keep in mind that 1015 onions are a short-day variety; make sure that type is recommended for your area. Short-day varieties form bulbs when daylength is between 10 and 12 hours; intermediate-day (day-neutral) onions start to form bulbs between about 12 and 14 hours of daylight; and long-day varieties form bulbs at about 14 to 16 hours daylight. If a short-day variety is planted in an area best suited for a long-day type, for example, then the bulbs might form early and not get very large. A general rule of thumb for the U.S. is that northern gardeners use a long-day type, gardeners in the mid-section use day-neutral, and southern gardeners, a short-day type.

no bulb

By Anonymous

I live is San Diego county. I've planted several onion sets this past fall. None of them have actually formed a bulb. They're almost straight up and down. What am I doing wrong?

Onions come in

By Almanac Staff

Onions come in long-daylength, medium-daylength, and short-daylength varieties, based on amount of sunlight needed. You grow long-daylength in northern latitudes and medium-daylength in central latitudes. In the southern latitudes, you need to plant short-day onions. Short-day do not come in sets. You need to seed OR plant bareroot transplants from local nurseries.


By ptbassmam

Is 10-10-10 fertilizer just as good as 6-12-12 ? Thanks

For home garden use, either

By Almanac Staff

For home garden use, either usually type usually meets the plant's requirements. Leafy veggies usually do better with a complete balance, and tuber/root veggies as well as flowers usually do better with 6:12:12.


By Anonymous

What kind of fertilizer i need to spray to make the onion good? Thanks

Fertilizing onions is

By Almanac Staff

Fertilizing onions is critical to success. Before planting, work 4 to 6 inches of well-composted organic matter and an all-purpose fertilizer (16-16-8) into the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. Then, 4 to 6 weeks later, sidedress onions with nitrogen fertilizer (21-0-0) as directed. Do not
fertilize after mid-July as extra nutrients stimulate late season growth and reduce storage potential of dry onions.


By Anonymous

I bought a bundle of white onion bulbs. I can not plant for 5-6 weeks. How do I store them sothey do not dry out and die.

Store sets (the tiny immature

By Almanac Staff

Store sets (the tiny immature bulbs) in a cool, dry, dark environment if planting must be delayed after purchase.

leaf crop or root crop

By Anonymous

It says to consider onions a leaf crop, not a root crop. Does that mean that I should plant onions in a waning moon?

Onions are considered a

By Almanac Staff

Onions are considered a belowground crop. Plant during the dark, or waning, of the Moon: from the day after it is full to the day before it is new again.

sweet onions in Mississippi

By Anonymous

I am about to set Georgia sweets and purple sweets. how far apart do i set them?

Georgia Sweet onions are

By Catherine Boeckmann

Georgia Sweet onions are planted 6 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart for full sized bulbs.

when to plant?

By Anonymous

Bit old of a post but I'm still going to try. I would like to plant onions but I'm a little confused. I'm in zone 7 on north Carolina...when do I plant? Fall or spring? It says don't let temps go below 20..so if I plant them in fall the temps do sometimes go unto the teens in the winter. But summer seems to hot its been getting over 100 and that seems to hot for them so I'm not sure when to plant them. Any suggestions?

Planting dates in North

By Almanac Staff

Planting dates in North Carolina for onions SEED are: Jan 15-Mar 31; Sept 1-30. Date for onion PLANTS or SETS are: Feb 1- Mar 15; Sept 1-15. Gardeners in plant hardiness Zone 7 and south will succeed best with short-day onion varieties.

Onion harvest

By Anonymous

ok, so I'm supposed to stomp on the onions to speed the final ripening process, and in the next paragraph I'm supposed to "handle them very carefully, as the slightest bruise will cause rot" Would you please explain this????

Onion Harvest

By Anonymous

They mean to stomp on the green tops after you have bent them over but be careful not to tramp on the onions themselves as they will bruise.

Yes, you stomp on the onion

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you stomp on the onion tops, not the onions in the ground.

You guys do a great job and I

By JBush

You guys do a great job and I love your site, but I have to reply to the onion stomping comments. I've been successfully grown large sweet onions for over 40 years and have yet to stomp my first onion! Onions are easily brusied and they usually rot when that happens. After the bulbs form and the tops of a few begin to fall over, I carefully fold or bend the rest of the tops over. After about a week I harvest and dry them in my garden shed. This year I raised over 150 lbs of 'Candy' and 'Superstar' in my Zone 5 garden at 37.35 degrees latitude. Some were over 3 lbs.!

Thanks for sharing! It sounds

By Almanac Staff

Thanks for sharing! It sounds like you have a wonderful garden. We appreciate hearing from experts! The onion stomping is something that comes up now and then in older gardening books and borders on folklore.

Harvest time

By Anonymous

How many days are typical until harvest time?

Days to maturity for most

By Almanac Staff

Days to maturity for most onions are: 100 to 120 (Mature bulbs)

Green Onions (scallions)

By kabvee

Plant sets deep for green onions? (scallions)

Set 1 to 2 inches apart and 1

By Almanac Staff

Set 1 to 2 inches apart and 1 to 2 inches deep in the row.

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