Garden of Eatin' / Vegetables

How to Grow Green Onions… Without Dirt

Green onion harvest

Or more accurately, how to regrow green onions without dirt. A green onion is kinda like a lizard. You can pull off its tail, and a new one will grow right back.

I harvested all my green onions last month — and exactly 40 days later, I still have fresh green onions growing daily.

The trick? A glass of water and a sunny windowsill.

This is an easy project that shouldn’t even be called a project. You simply dunk a bunch of green onions in water, sit back, and watch the magic happen. You don’t even have to grow your own green onions in dirt first; store-bought onions work as well.

Just make sure the roots of your onions are intact. I’m lazy and don’t even rinse mine. They go straight from the garden to the glass. (Of course, rinsing the dirt off wouldn’t hurt either.)

Clip off the green parts to cook with, but leave a few inches at the bottom to regrow. There’s no exact science to this — as long as the roots, whites, and a little bit of the greens are still there, your onions will grow again. (You can actually get away with leaving just the last inch above the roots, but it will grow back much, much slower.)

Fill your glass with enough water to cover the roots and then some. You don’t need full sun to regrow onions, but a sunny windowsill does speed along the process. It also helps to change the water every few days to keep things fresh.

Dunk a bunch of green onions in water to regrow

After a week, this is what my green onions looked like.

Green onion regrowth after one week

I’ve cut them back several times by now, and they still keep going with no change in flavor that I can taste. The green tops sprout from the bulb in just a few days’ time, so you can have a steady supply of green onions for at least a month — or more. I wonder if I can keep mine growing through the summer!

The green tops will regrow from the white bulb

Now I know what you might be thinking… why bother? Green onions are cheap, and you like to use the white part anyway. Personally, I rarely use more than a few stalks for garnishing and I’ve composted many a bunch gone bad. Green onions are one of those kitchen staples that often end up slimy and forgotten in the fridge. So when I harvest or buy a bunch, I’ll use half and regrow half. I still get the bulbs, and I save the rest from spoiling!

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »