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All About Spring Onions

Spring onions, also known as scallions, are a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can add a distinctive bite to various dishes.

These onions are a variety of green onion with a stronger taste compared to their more common counterparts, making them a popular choice for use in salads, salsas, and other recipes where an extra kick of flavor is desired.

Ready to grow your own? Read on for all you need to know for spring onion success!

Fresh spring onions on wooden background

What Are Spring Onions?

Spring onions are a type of young onion harvested before the bulb has had a chance to swell. They belong to the Allium genus, which includes other onion-like varieties such as garlic, leeks, and shallots.

Spring onions are characterized by their long, slender green tops and small white bulbs, both of which are edible and can be used either raw or cooked.

There are several varietals of spring onions, and their bulbs can be found in different colors, such as red, white, or yellow. The specific variety, however, does not significantly affect the overall taste or usage of the onions in cooking.

Spring onions can be grilled, roasted whole, or used as a substitute for pearl onions and other types of bulb onions.

Health Benefits and Nutrition

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

Spring onions are a flavorful and versatile addition to a variety of dishes. Rich in nutrients and offering numerous health advantages, they can be an essential component of a healthy diet. Let’s explore the health benefits and nutritional content of these allium vegetables.

Caloric Value

Spring onions are low in calories, with a typical green onion containing just 4.8 calories. Their carbohydrate content is also minimal, at approximately 1.1 grams per onion. With such a low glycemic index, spring onions can be easily incorporated into a variety of dietary preferences.

Heart Health

Other essential nutrients found in spring onions include small amounts of sodium (2.4mg) and total fat. They contain no saturated fat or cholesterol, making them a heart-healthy option for those looking to reduce their intake of unhealthy fats.

Growing Spring Onions

Sowing Spring Onions

To start with, sow spring onion seeds four to six weeks before the last frost of spring, when the soil first becomes workable. In the northern hemisphere, this happens in April or May when the soil is consistently between 50°F and 68°F.

When planting seeds, create drills that are approximately half an inch deep and around half an inch apart. If you prefer, you can sow spring onion seeds in trays or modules indoors, but make sure to wait for the seedlings to develop a good root system before transplanting them into the garden.

Maintain a two-inch distance between seedlings during thinning to give them enough space to grow and achieve their full size.

Fortunately, spring onions have the ability to grow in diverse environments. They can be grown successfully in containers and greenhouses and can even be grown in water on your kitchen bench!

This flexibility makes them a valuable addition to a variety of gardens, including small spaces and urban settings.

Soil and Sun Needs

Spring onions thrive in well-drained, humus-rich soil, and adding compost or well-rotted manure can improve your soil’s condition.

They prefer full sun but can also tolerate light shade.

Watering Spring Onions

Regular watering is important to maintain moisture in the soil and encourage steady growth. Keep an eye on the green tops as they develop, as they are an excellent indicator of the onion’s growth progress.

Once the green tops have reached their desired size and the outer layer of the onion has dried slightly, the onions can be harvested.

Incorporating spring onions into your garden not only provides you with a delicious vegetable but also adds an attractive element to your garden with their vibrant green leaves. With proper care and the right growing conditions, you can enjoy these versatile veggies all season long.

Culinary Uses for Spring Onions

Chopping green onions on a cutting board.

Spring onions are a versatile vegetable that can be utilized in a variety of dishes, adding both flavor and a bit of crunch. They are commonly used in soups, salads, and stir-fries to enhance the flavor profiles of these dishes. Their roots are edible as well, making them a valuable addition to any meal.

When cooking with spring onions, they can be grilled or roasted to bring out their natural sweetness. Drizzling them with olive oil and seasoning them with salt and pepper will help to enhance their flavors when they are cooked in the oven or on the grill. These cooked onions can then be served as a side dish, used as a garnish, or incorporated into various recipes.

In addition to their use in hot dishes, spring onions can be enjoyed raw in numerous salads and salsas, providing a crisp texture and mild onion taste.

Their green tops make an excellent garnish for many dishes, including soups, beans, and fish, as well as being a delicious addition to savory sandwiches.

Storage and Handling

Storing spring onions correctly is essential to maintain their freshness and flavor. It’s best to keep them in the refrigerator as they contain more moisture than mature onions, which can cause them to mold if left at room temperature for too long.

Place them in the crisper drawer, sealed in a plastic bag, to keep them fresh for up to two weeks.

Where to Buy Spring Onions


If you’re ready to experience spring onion cultivation for yourself, start by ordering spring onion seeds online. While you’re waiting for your own spring onions to grow, use dried spring onion in your culinary experiments until your are ready for use.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you plant and grow spring onions?

Spring onions can be planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 68°F. They grow well in well-drained soil with full sun or partial shade.

Plant seeds at a depth of about 1/4 inch and spacing of one to two inches apart. Spring onions can be grown close to other companion plants like Lemon Balm, Borage, Carrots, Beets, Silverbeet, Lettuce, and Amaranth.

What are the health benefits of spring onions?

Spring onions are healthy, offering a good source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They contain vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and folic acid. Adding spring onions to your diet can aid in digestion and support a healthy immune system.

When is the best time to harvest spring onions?

Spring onions can be harvested eight to 12 weeks after planting, depending on the variety and growing conditions. Harvest spring onions when the stems are vibrant green and the bulbs are well-formed but not fully mature.

Can spring onions be grown indoors?

Yes, spring onions can be grown indoors in pots or containers with proper light and temperature. Ensure soil drainage and place your pots in a location with bright, indirect light. Make sure to water regularly to keep the soil moist but not overly wet.

How to store spring onions for longer shelf-life?

For extended storage, place spring onions in a loosely sealed plastic bag and place in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator.

Alternatively, you can trim the roots and place the onions, root-end down, in a jar with an inch of water. Add a loose-fitting plastic bag over the top, and store the jar in the fridge, changing the water every two to three days.

In what dishes can spring onions be used?

Spring onions are a versatile ingredient suitable for various dishes. Their mild, sweet flavor makes them an ideal addition to salads, stir-fries, noodle dishes, and soups.

Spring onions can also be used as a garnish on dishes like tacos, grilled meats, and roasted vegetables. They are a popular ingredient in Asian cuisines and can be eaten raw, sautéed, or even deep-fried.

Wrapping up Spring Onions

Growing spring onions is also a popular endeavor for gardeners, as these plants are relatively easy to cultivate and provide a continuous source of fresh, flavorful onion for the kitchen.

With multiple names and varieties, such as salad onions, Japanese or Welsh bunching onions, scallions, and green onions, spring onions represent a diverse and delectable choice for many dishes and gardening projects.

Looking to learn more about onion varieties and cultivation? Check out our onion hub page.