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All About Scallions

It looks like a green onion, it tastes like a green onion, but it’s not a green onion. Or is it? Yes, we’re talking about scallions!

You’ve probably been told that scallions and green onions are the exact same at some point in your life. However, this is not entirely true because these vegetables belong to different genus species.

Keep reading to learn what makes this plant unique!

Are you looking to buy Scallions seeds? Check availability.


Characteristics of Scallions

Appearance and Taste

A scallion is an onion with a long, thin tubular allium. It has a distinctive, mild onion flavor. As we mentioned, a scallion looks, tastes, and acts just like a green onion. You can use scallions for any recipe that calls for green onions.

Scallion vs. Green Onion vs. Spring Onion

Many gardeners and grocery stores use the term “scallion” to refer to a young onion that has not been allowed to mature. Technically, these onions are spring or green onions. Some gardeners say that scallions are just younger green onions.

The biggest difference between a scallion and a green onion is that they do not have bulbs like their green onion counterparts. In some cases, green onions and scallions are actually the same–it boils down to how the farmer labels them!

The difference between scallions and spring onions is that spring onions have a mini white onion bulb on the bottom, whereas this plant has a straight white bottom.

Country of origin also makes a difference. In the United States, it’s more common to see scallions and green onions used interchangeably, but spring onions are labeled differently. However, Canada and the United Kingdom tend to label both scallions and green onions as spring onions.

Grocers and farmers love to keep us confused!

History of Scallions

Heap of fresh green spring bunch onion, scallion or chive on farmers market display, close up, high angle view

Scallions are members of the allium (lily) family, including onions and shallots. They are specifically part of the Japanese genus Allium fistulosum (unlike green onions, which are part of the Allium cepa). Members of the Allium fistulosum genus do not form a bulb.

The onion was first cultivated in 3,500 B.C. and is native to Asia. They were one of the earliest cultivated crops. Scallions were cultivated for their top crispy greens.

This plant were a common ingredient in ancient Chinese herbals. They’re best known for their versatile cooking and medicinal uses.

Today, they are grown all over the world and in most areas in the United States, most popular in Florida and California.

Uses for Scallions

Green onion or scallion on wooden board, fresh spring chives

You can use them in lieu of green onions or spring onions in any recipe! They’re most popular in soups, salads, stir-fries, biscuits, sandwiches, bread, sauces, and salsa. Asian restaurants serve a pancake fried with scallions.

In Asian cuisine, chopped scallions are one of the last ingredients added to stir-fries–they’re cooked briefly right before serving.


Chinese Scallion Pancakes

Scallion Rice

Scallion Noodles

Health Benefits of Scallions

You might be surprised to learn scallions are loaded with nutrients, despite their small size. They have so many nutrients they’re considered a superfood and low in calories–100 grams of them have just 31 calories plus antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.


Scallions are considered a leafy green, so they contain more plant-derived antioxidants and fiber than onions with bulbs. 100 grams of fresh scallions have 2.6 grams of fiber.

Heart Medicine

They contain thiosulfonates such as diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, and allyl propyl disulfide, which convert into allicin. Allicin is shown to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, also reducing the risk of blood clots, coronary artery disease, other vascular diseases, and stroke.


Scallions are one of the richest sources of Vitamin K that you can find. Vitamin K plays a vital role in bone and brain health and is being used to treat Alzheimer’s Disease.

They also contain Vitamin A and other flavonoid phenolic antioxidants, which work together to prevent lung and oral cancers.

This leafy green also contains plenty of B-complex vitamins, which are essential for energy levels and brain function.

Pregnancy Benefits

They contain folic acid, an essential B vitamin to prevent neural tube defects in newborn babies.

Learn to Grow Scallions at Home

The best way to know you’re consuming a true scallion is to grow it yourself. Most of the same techniques used for planting onions are used for growing scallions.

Growing in Containers

Scallions don’t take up much space, so they’re perfect for growing in containers. We recommend choosing a narrow pot that is at least six inches deep. The pot can be as wide as you’d like.

These onions grow well indoors any time of the year, but they do best in direct sunlight–that’s why they’re perfect for south-facing windowsills.

Fill the pot with potting soil to its lip to give the plant enough room to stretch its roots. You can start with seeds or starts from a local nursery. To be absolutely certain you’re growing them, we recommend starting with seeds.

Sowing Seeds

Seeds should be sowed in rows that are 2 inches wide and ¼ to ½ inch deep. Rows should be 12 to 18 inches apart. Thin emerged seedlings to one plant every inch.

Growing In Your Garden

Good companion plants for scallions are beets, cabbagecarrotslettucetomatoes, and parsnips. They and other onions are popular plants to grow next to carrots because they’re believed to repel carrot flies due to their strong scent.


You should plant your seeds indoors for at least four weeks before transplanting to your outdoor garden. Scallions are one plant that can withstand being planted outside before frost ends–you can transplant them 2-4 weeks before your last frost

They can be planted at any time, but they grow best in the spring and fall.


They prefer well-drained soil with a 6.0 to 7.0 pH, though they will manage with a lower pH if planted near solanaceous plants like tomatoes. Always test your soil before planting. Your soil should be well-balanced and loamy


They need about 8 hours of sun every day.

Caring for the Plant


They need around 1 inch of water per week.


Water them regularly with a liquid fertilizer. Liquid fertilizers like Fish and Guano Fertilizer provide immediate nutrients to your vegetables during the growing season. You should feed them once a month.

If you’re growing perennial scallions and plan to let them stay in your garden over winter, we recommend a blanket of mulch and a balanced fertilizer like Hoss All-In-One Vegetable Fertilizer or a high nitrogen fertilizer like Ammonium Sulfate Fertilizer.


Harvesting the plant is the best way to prune it–read our harvesting section to learn how to keep your scallion plant healthy all year long.

Harvesting Scallions

They grow fast and within 4 weeks of emergence, they can be ready to harvest. You should wait until they’re at least 6” tall to harvest.

By the Leaf

Harvest your scallions by the leaf if you want your them to keep growing new leaves for multiple harvests. Use scissors to snip off about one-third of the leaves about halfway down.

With this method, you can have them all spring, summer, and fall!

The Whole Plant

If you want to harvest the entire plant, then you will need to pull the whole root system as well. You will first need to loosen the soil with your fingers, then you can carefully remove the entire plant. Remove the dirt, and they will be ready to use.

Where to Buy Scallions

how to store onions

Fresh Scallions

Fresh ones are available to buy on Amazon through their partnership with Whole Foods.


The best way to know you’re buying scallions is to buy their seed form, which is also available on Amazon.

The Perfect Green Onion Substitute

If your recipe calls for green onions, now you know you can use scallions, and you can enjoy the added health benefits of these non-bulb-forming vegetables.

Are you interested in learning about other kinds of onions? Check out our Onions page for all about other onion varieties.