Onion, from seedling to harvest

White onion, red onion and yellow onion are ancient bulb plants that are easy to grow.

Overall Onion facts

Name – Allium cepa
Family – Liliaceae (lily family)
Type – perennial, biennial

Height – 30 to 40 inches (80 to 100 cm)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – light, drained

Flowering – April to September

From planting or preparing seedlings all the way to the harvest, you can’t fail in growing them.

Sowing and planting onion

There are two options for you to start growing onions: sowing from seeds, or planting bulbs. Planting onion bulbs is the most successful of the two, and the simplest to quickly produce beautiful onions.

  • Sow seeds in a nursery at the end of winter until the beginning of spring. Sowing can take place from February to April.
  • Plant onion bulbs at the same time, remembering to bury the bulb about 3 times as deep as the bulb is high. Spacing should be around 4 to 8 inches (10 to 15 cm)

Harvesting onion

Summer varieties

Onions sprouting along a row under a thick layer of mulch.White onions can be harvested earlier, usually in May because they must be harvested before reaching full maturity.

They can be pulled out whenever needed, or you can wait until they mature.

If harvested when mature, you’ll have to cure the onions for a couple days. Pull them out and let them dry in the sun while keeping moisture away.

Summer onions are often eaten raw in salads or to spice a marinade.

Winter cultivars

In the case of winter varieties, pull onions out once leaves have yellowed and dried, and, just like the summer varieties, let them cure or dry out in the sun for a few days.

Store away from moisture for as long as you wish, in a cool and ventilated spot.

Harvested and dried onions in a steel rack for storage.

All there is to know about onion

A sprouting onion on a tabletop.Usually yellow onions are the ones most commonly eaten, but onions can also be white or red.

The taste differs slightly in each case, red onions being sweeter. This makes red onions perfect for onion jam or salads. White onions are great for preserves.

Yellow onions are used in most onion-based dishes.

Smart tip about onion

Avoid rich soils, there is no need for any kind of fertilizer.

Also take note that yellow onions keep best if you wish to store them for a while.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Harvesting onion by Mark Valencia ★ under Pixabay license
Growing onion by Andreas Göllner ★ under Pixabay license
Steel basket with onion by Fran Hogan ★ under Unsplash license
Sprouted onion out of the ground by Tookapic ☆ under Pixabay license