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A Beginner’s Guide To Planting Sprouted Onions

How to Grow Onions from Sprouts

Have your onions sprouted from sitting for a while in your pantry? Don’t throw them away just yet! 

You can plant them and save money by growing your onions from these sprouts. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process, and we’re sure you’ll have a fun and rewarding experience come harvest time. 

Why do onions sprout?

Why do onions sprout
Image: Happy Mothering

Sprouting is an onion’s natural way to reproduce. Once the onion is exposed to moisture, warmed and light, it will sprout and grow into a new plant.

Onions sprout even if they are not planted in the ground. So, if you want to prevent sprouting, make sure to store your onions in a cool, dry and dark place with temperatures between 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit to slow down the sprouting process.

How To Plant Sprouted Onions

How To Plant Sprouted Onions
Image: Garden Eco

Here are the required growing conditions for planting sprouted onions. 

LocationSunny area with well-drained soil
Soil PreparationAdd compost into the soil for a rich planting bed
SoilWell-drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8
SunlightFull sun
At least 6 hours per day
TemperatureCool-weather temperatures 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit
Planting DepthThe top of the onion is 1 inch below the surface of the soil
Spacing4 to 6 inches apart
WateringKeep the soil moist but not soggy
FertilizerApply balanced fertilizer after planting  and every 2 to 3 weeks
Harvesting60 to 90 days after planting
Harvest when the onion tops begin to yellow and fall over

Here’s the step-by-step process of planting them!

1. Remove the skin and separate the onion into sections.

Remove the skin and separate the onion into sections.
Image: Planters Post
DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
Duration15 to 30 minutes
Things You NeedSprouted onion

How To Do
1. Peel off the outer layer of skin. Make sure not to damage healthy leaves growing at the top of the onion.
2. Remove brown or black leaves.
3. Keep peeling the layers until you see one or more sprouts bunched at the center of the onion.
4. Cut off the top of the sprouted onion, about 1 inch below the sprout. 
5. Make a cut down the center of the onion, from the top to the bottom.
6. Carefully separate the onion into sections using your fingers or a knife.
7. Make sure each sprout gets some roots.

2. Soak the sprouts to grow larger roots.

Soak the sprouts to grow larger roots.
Image: The Repurposing Life
DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
Duration15 to 30 minutes
Things You NeedSprouted onion
Bowl of water

How To Do
1. Pour water into a bowl, enough to cover the roots and for the roots to absorb it.
2. Place the sprouts in the container.
3. Make sure that the roots have access to the water.
4. Put the container where it will get plenty of sunlight Change the water every day or two to keep it fresh.
5. The onions will grow softer roots in a week or more. 

3. Transplant the onion sprouts.

Transplant the onion sprouts.
Image: Fine Gardening
DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
Duration15 to 30 minutes
Things You NeedSprouted onion
Pot or garden bed
Compost Water

How To Do
1. Choose a spot for your transplanted onion sprouts that gets full sun and has well-drained soil.
2. Mix some compost or aged manure into your garden soil.
3. Dig a hole twice as wide as the onion sprout’s root ball.
4. Place the onion sprout in the hole, leaving only the green part of the plant above the ground.
5. Dedicate 4 to 6 inches of space between onions.
6. Gently backfill with soil, tamping down to remove any air pockets.
7. Water the onion sprout thoroughly.
8. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

4. Harvest the onions.

Harvest the onions.
Image: Homes & Gardens
DifficultyEasy ●○○○○
Duration15 to 30 minutes
Things You NeedShovel

How To Do
1. When the tops of your onion plants have turned yellow and fallen over, it is time to harvest. This is usually about 60-90 days after planting.
2. Use a shovel or spade to loosen the soil around the onion bulbs carefully.
3. Lift the onion bulbs from the ground and brush off any excess dirt.
4. Cut off the tops of the onion plants, leaving about 1 inch of stem attached to the bulb.
5. Place the onions in a basket or container to store.

How To Make Onions Sprout Faster

How To Make Onions Sprout Faster
Image: Homestead and Chill

If you want to make your onions sprout faster, place them in a warm and moist environment. 

The ideal temperature for onion sprouting is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also place them in a pot or garden bed where they will receive full sun. 

Another way to make onions sprout faster is by storing them with fruits or vegetables that give off ethylene gas, like tomatoes, potatoes and bananas. They will speed up the sprouting process. 

Can you eat a sprouted onion?

Can you eat a sprouted onion
Image: Cookist

You can eat sprouted onions, which are often softer and more bitter than regular ones. Sprouted onions have more protein, which makes them a favorite ingredient for vegetarian and vegan dishes. 

Onion bulbs use their stored sugars to sprout, so the sprouted onion tastes more bitter when raw. It also has a leathery texture and gives a more pungent scent and flavor. 

It’s best to cook them until they are soft and easy to chew. Sprouted onions are usually added to salads, soups, stews, stir-fries and sauces.

Before eating sprouted onions, make sure to cut off any black spots or parts covered in mold. If the flesh is brown and smells of sulfur, the decomposition process has begun, and you should throw out the entire onion or add them to your compost pile. 

How often should I water my sprouted onion plant?

How often should I water my sprouted onion plant
Image: AZ Animals

You should water your sprouted onion plant once every 2 to 3 days or when the top inch of the soil is already dry. Onion plants need regular watering to protect them from pests and diseases.

However, make sure not to overwater your onion plants to prevent them from waterlogging and suffering from root rot. 

It’s best to use lukewarm water to prevent shock to the plant and remember to water your onion plant at the base to ensure that the water reaches the roots, where it’s most needed. 

FAQs on Planting Sprouted Onions

How often should I change the water on sprouted onions?

You should change the water on sprouted onions once every 24 to 36 hours so the water will not stagnate and cause the onion or its newly grown roots to rot.

Can you regrow green onions?

You can regrow green onions by cutting off the bottom inch of the white bulb, growing new roots and planting them back in the soil.  

How much room is needed when planting onions?

Onions need 6 to 8 inches of space from other plants to grow large bulbs. 

What time of the year do you plant onions?

The best time of the year to plant onions is in late March or April. However, you can also plant them 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost date to give the onions time to establish their roots before the winter season. 

How do you know that onions are ready for harvest?

Onions are ready for harvest when the green shoots and flower heads turn brown and wilt. Once you see things, harvest the onions immediately before they develop mold or rot. 

Will sprouted onions grow into full-grown onions?

Sprouted onions will not grow into full-grown onions and typically produce oval-shaped onions that resemble shallots. They are commonly added to stews and casserole dishes. 

When is the best time to plant a sprouted onion?

The best time to plant a sprouted onion is in the spring when the soil has warmed up and before the heat of summer arrives.

What soil should I use for planting a sprouted onion?

You should use well-drained, loamy soil for planting a sprouted onion because it provides the right balance of nutrients and moisture the plant needs.

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