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Growing Onion Bottoms in Pots

Growing onion bottoms is a great way to use parts of the onion that would otherwise end up in the trash.

Onions are such a versatile vegetable. I use them almost every day in recipes.  I always seem to have onions growing in various places in my house and garden.

Growing onions indoors can be done quite a few different ways.  Growing onions from bottom is really easy to do. You can start with a sprouted onion, or cut off the bottom and grow it from that piece.

There are many types of this versatile vegetable. Find out about the onion varieties here.

This project can be done with any type of onion.  Spanish, yellow, white and Vidalia onions all work. Scallions and spring onions will work too. The main thing that you need is an onion bottom.

I chose a Vidalia onion today.  made an oven roasted chicken recipe and just saved the bottom part which still has bits of roots on it for my project.

Growing onions from discarded bottoms will give you an endless supply of onions, in time.  You may never ever have to buy onions again!  This is great news for anyone who uses onions as much as I do.

One bottom will grow and be able to be divided into several plants.  You can grow some in pots and if you have the room, the others can be planted in the garden.

Before you know it, you’ll have a garden bed full of onions growing.

All onions will sprout easily. If you find one like this, you can plant it right into soil and get a head start. For my project, I used just the bottom piece of an onion.Sprouted Red onion

Growing Onion Bottoms in Pots is easy to do 

You will need a few supplies:

  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • a sharp knife
  • toothpicks
  • container of water
  • Clay plant pot 
  • Potting Soil
    Growing onion bottoms is a fun gardening project

Once you have your onion piece, let it dry out for a little bit so that it will be more calloused on the top part.

I decided to give my onion a head start on rooting by suspending it over water for a few days to encourage the roots to grow.Suspend the onion bottom over water with toothpicks.

Change the water every few days and roots will start to grow. This might happen in less than a week, depending on the time of the year  – mine only took about 4 days!  

The whitest roots showing are the new roots.

Seeing them shows me that the onion is now a living thing!New roots on the onion bottom

I chose an 8 inch pot so that it will be big enough to hold the roots which are already quite a good size. Add some pine bark chips in the bottom of the pot for drainage.Add pine bark nuggets to a plant pot.

Fill the pot with a well draining light potting soil.  I chose Miracle Grow Moisture Control Potting mix that is very light.

Water well and then make an indentation in the soil about the size of the onion and deep enough for the roots to sit.Make an indentation in the soil

Place the onion in the soil and push the soil well around the roots. Place in a sunny spot for a few weeks.  You will want to keep the soil evenly moist but not really wet.

I just touch the top of the soil and if it’s dry about an inch down into the soil, I give it more water.Plant the rooted onion bottom

It didn’t take long for me to see growth at the top. The first leaves appeared in five days on two places on the onion bottom..The onions sprouted in five days

And after a couple of weeks I had some vigorous growth.Vidalia onion bottom after about two weeks in soil

Now comes the fun part of growing onion bottoms.  This is how you get more than one plant from a single onion bottom. You will likely have lots of roots growing and some leaves growing on top.

Remove any old onion scales and use a sharp knife to slice the onion bottom into several plants, leaving a portion of the roots as well as some leaves attached to each plant.

The other side of my onion did not grow, so I removed that and planted each piece of onion bottom in its own pot in a more enriched soil (the soil that I used before was very light and dried out quickly.)

I now have two onion plants growing from one onion bottom.Two sprouted onion bottoms in clay pots

I cut the onion growth down a little to make it less easier on the plant after division. The new plants will need some time to recover and trimming the leaves allows the new plants to grow with less stress.  

You can harvest the plants either as green onion tops, or let them grow into fully developed onions.

NOTE: It can take quite a while for a mature bulb to form.  You will know that it is ready when the stalk starts to yellow and lean over, which may take 90 to 120 days.

For more fun with regrowing food, be sure to see my article on Growing Carrot Greens from scraps.

Have you ever tried growing onion bottoms?  How did your project work out?  Do you have any tips to share with our readers?

For more Gardening Hacks, see my Pinterest Garden Art board.  And for more Cut and Come Again veggies, check out this post.

If you liked this project, why not try to grow onions indoors in a water bottle?

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Monday 24th of August 2020

I haven’t found any info on how deep to plant the rooted onion bottoms in the garden on any website

Christine Moretto

Wednesday 20th of May 2020

This is so helpful as I am just starting out as a new gardener. Do the onions stay in the ground through the winter as the previous post said they have "spring onions" or do you bring them indoors in the cold weather? I am planting a new garden for first time in a week from now and I live in Windsor Ontario where we have freezing winters. Thanks.


Sunday 18th of October 2020

Windsor: I've left onions in the ground over winter in Michigan, not far from you, with good success.

Carol Speake

Wednesday 20th of May 2020

The onion bottle is a project that is fun to do with kids and can be done either outdoors or inside. Depending on the type of onions, some are planted in spring and harvested in summer. Others are planted in fall and harvested the following year.

Pauline Planck

Sunday 27th of May 2018

I wish I had read this before growing onions from scraps, I just stuck the onion bottom straight into the soil, they are growing well though, but im going to do it this way next time,


Monday 17th of April 2017

Onions are one of the easiest herbs to grow. We bought spring onions in the market,cut and use the leafy/stalk part, then we planted the bulb. Now, we have so many spring onions in the garden.


Monday 17th of April 2017

Good idea. They will grow in the garden for years. I had a patch about 4 years old that just kept growing and growing each year. Carol

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