Growing Onions from Onions

If you are looking through a seed catalogue or a selection at your local gardening store, it is not at all unusual to see onion seeds.  That being said it is a little unusual for most people to be able to grow onions with any real rate of success from seeds.  The germination rate is not very high, thinning them can be difficult because of their shallow roots, and they grow so slow that it is hard to mulch them without smothering them and hard to keep them moist without mulch.  It is much easier to simply grow onions from onions.


  • If you get your onions from a large grocery store your onions might be from another country and not suitable to be grown in your area. Instead get some onions from a local farmer’s market.
  • Green onions are the easiest to propagate, you just cut the tops and then bury the bottoms just beneath the surface. Bulb onions require a little more but they aren’t difficult either.  Simply allow them to sit in a hanging basket with room between them for air flow so they don’t start to rot.  Wait until you see green starting to sprout out of the top.
  • Carefully peel away layers until you find fresh growing roots. You will likely have two or three sections of new growth within your old onion so carefully separate them without injuring their roots.  Don’t worry about the old dead roots on the outside.
  • Place the onions on the surface of the soil, burying only the roots and leaving the bulbs exposed.
  • With so much mass above the surface and small fresh roots they will be susceptible to falling over. Don’t support the bulb, as this is likely to cause rot, instead try providing support to the green growth.


Using this technique you can easily grow twice as many onions than you purchased.  Don’t waste money on seeds and time waiting only to be disappointed, grow your onions from onions.

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