Onion (Red) Growing Guide

Allium cepa

Onion (Red)

Crop Rotation Group

Allium (Onion family) 


Fertile, well drained soil with compost dug in. In clay soil, grow in raised beds or rows.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant



Mix a balanced organic fertilizer into the bed or row before planting your onions, taking care to get it into the soil below the plants. Do not feed plants that are nearing maturity if you want very sweet onions.


Single Plants: 5" (15cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 3" (10cm) with 7" (20cm) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

If you don't start your own seeds, set out sets (small dormant bulbs) or pencil-size seedlings in spring, while the soil is still cool.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Onions respond to changing day length. Grow short-day varieties in southern latitudes. Long-day varieties work best in northern areas. Try growing different varieties from seed to explore differences in bulb color, size and shape.


Harvest young onions as scallions. When bulbs form and the tops of the plants fall over, pull them and cure in a warm place for about 10 days before storing.


Weed early and often to keep onions growing strong. Seedlings are less likely to bolt (produce flowers) compared to bulb onions grown from sets.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Onion (Red)