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The Complete Guide Growing Scallions in Containers

Introduction

Scallions and green onions are actually the same thing! They're practically a staple in many dishes. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting, here's your abridged guide to growing scallions in containers.

Selecting the Right Container

Pot Size for Green Onions

The depth of your container matters for scallions, which have relatively shallow roots. A depth of at least 6 inches is ideal. This allows room for the roots to grow down and the scallions to develop. If your green onion container is too small, the scallions will compete for space. This can affect their overall size and health.

Pot Material

Plastic and terracotta are both excellent options for scallions. Plastic offers durability and retains moisture well. This is beneficial in drier climates. Terracotta, on the other hand, provides better breathability for the soil. This prevents overwatering in wetter conditions.

Drainage

Scallions do not like waterlog soil. So ensure your green onion planter has good drainage. Without it, the roots can rot, and the plants can fail. Drill additional holes if your container only has a few or none.

Depth of Soil

A good rule of thumb is to fill your green onion pot with soil up to an inch below the rim. This will allow space to water without overflow while still providing enough soil depth for the scallions.

Multi-Purpose Containers

If wholesale nursery pots aren't your style, repurpose items like milk jugs, buckets, and even unused household items. Just make sure they have the right depth, and are thoroughly cleaned before use. Drill holes if necessary.

Soil Preparation

Importance of Well-Draining Soil

Scallions, like most plants, dislike wet feet. The roots need access to air as much as they need water and nutrients. Heavy, compacted soil will hinder root development. Hence, drainage is imperative for container growth.

Recipe for a Suitable Potting Mix

Create your potting mix by combining equal parts of garden soil, compost, and coarse sand. Alternatively, you can use two parts peat moss, one part each of perlite and organic compost. This mix ensures aeration and moisture retention. Your scallions will have a healthy environment for growth.

pH Levels and Soil Acidity

Test the pH level of your soil or potting mix. Aiming for a slightly acidic level between 6 and 7. This pH range encourages nutrient uptake and helps to thwart certain soil-borne diseases. Adding garden lime or wood ash can help raise the pH if it's too low. While sulfur or ferrous sulfate can lower it if needed.

growing scallions in containers

How to Grow Green Onions in Containers?

Planting from Sets

Fill the green onion container with your prepared soil mix. Leave about an inch from the top to prevent soil runoff. Plant the sets about 1 inch deep in the soil with the pointed end facing up.


Space the sets 1 inch apart in rows or a grid pattern. Ensure they have room to grow and are not overcrowded. After planting green onions in containers, water the sets thoroughly. Until you see water draining from the bottom of the container.

Growing Green Onions in Pots from Seed

Sprinkle the seeds evenly on the soil surface. Cover with a fine layer of soil, approximately ¼ inch deep. Gently water the soil to settle the seeds in place. Be careful not to dislodge them when growing scallions in pots.


Keep the soil consistently moist until the seeds germinate. This will typically take 7 to 14 days. Once the seedlings have a couple of sets of leaves, thin them to 1 inch apart. Using scissors to snip off the excess plants at soil level. This allows the remaining to grow uninhibitedly.

Care and Maintenance

Sunlight Requirements

As for sunlight, scallions are sun worshippers. Place green onion in pot in place with at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If your balcony or windowsill doesn't provide enough light, consider supplementing with artificial grow lights for that necessary photosynthetic feast.

Watering Frequency

Consistency is key when growing green onions in pots. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Stick your finger in the soil to the first knuckle. If it feels dry to the touch, it's time to water.


Give green onion in a pot a thorough but gentle soak. Ensure the water reaches down to the roots. During hot spells or when the plant is in its most active growth phase, you may need to water more frequently.

Fertilization

Scallions aren't particularly demanding feeders. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer is the go-to choice for potted green onions. Dilute it to half-strength and apply it to your plants every two to three weeks during the growing season. Over-fertilizing can lead to an overabundance of top growth and weak, spindly stems.

Preventing Pests and Diseases

Planting green onions in containers can be susceptible to a few pests and diseases. One common nuisance is the onion thrip. It is a tiny bug that loves to feast on scallion leaves. Regular checks and using insecticidal soap can keep their numbers at bay.


Root rot and white rot are fungal diseases. They often afflict scallions due to overwatering and poor soil drainage. Keeping the soil on the drier side and using a well-draining potting mix are your best defenses. If you suspect a case of rotten roots, remove the plant (and the infected soil) to prevent the spread.

Harvesting Scallions

Signs for Harvest

Patience pays dividends when planting green onions in pots. They will take about 60-65 days from seed to full maturity. Once the scallion shoots grow to about 8-12 inches and the bulbs have reached a desired size (approximately the diameter of a quarter), you're ready to reap the rewards.

How to Harvest Scallions from Containers?

To harvest, simply grasp the scallion near its base and pull upwards. If the resistance is minimal, the scallion is ready to be plucked. Leave about an inch from the base of the bulb in the soil. You can harvest a single scallion up to three times before the flavor and texture start to wane.

Cutting Scallions for Continuous Regrowth

You can enjoy the literal fruits of your labor and initiate a cycle of regeneration. Cut the green leaves of the scallion, leaving about an inch or two above the soil. Watch with delight as new leaves sprout soon after, ready to repeat the cycle of growth.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Yellowing Leaves

If your scallion's leaves are sporting an unsightly yellow hue, you might be overwatering. Go for a more sparing approach when planting scallions in pots. Make sure the pot has adequate drainage. If you've been particularly heavy-handed with the fertilizer, consider tapering out a little.

Stunted Growth

Poor growth could be down to overcrowding in your containers. If you've gone heavy-handed with the scattering, thin out your crop. Leave about an inch of space between each scallion to allow them room to expand.

Bolting

This is when your scallions grow a flowering stem. It signals the end of the tasty leaves. Bolting is often due to stress like inconsistent watering or extreme temperatures. Try to maintain a routine and keep your scallion in a comfortable spot.

Conclusion

How to grow green onions in pots? With these simple steps, you will yield a continuous supply of culinary joy. Start growing scallions in pots today and elevate your farm-to-table experience.

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