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For some time now I’ve been intrigued by the thought of growing new vegetables from bits of those same vegetables that you might otherwise throw away. It sure seemed like it could be a thrifty way to create some groceries so I finally decided to give it a try with a smaller vegetable that I use quite often – green onions. It turned out that it was very easy to grow green onions in a jar, but there was just a bit of disappointment in my final result too. Let’s take a closer look:
Growing Green Onions From Cuttings
To get started growing green onions indoors all you need to do is to cut off and save the white bulb ends from some green onions. Whenever you use green onions in a recipe, those bulb ends are cut off anyway and you primarily dice up and use the green stalks to flavor your food. If you want to try growing your own green onions, don’t toss out those bulb ends and instead save a few so you can get started.
When I cut the ends off my green onions I included just a little of where the green part begins too so my cuttings were about 1.5″ long. As you can also see in the picture above, these bulb ends have some small roots coming out from them too.
The next step is to take those cut ends from the green onions and place them in a small jar of water. You want enough water to cover the roots, but the top ends of your cuttings can be sticking out from the water. I used a small 2 oz glass jar I purchased at Hobby Lobby to start growing my green onions. It was just the right size to keep these small cuttings propped up without falling over into the water.
I set my jar by a west window where it would get some nice light and was ready to see what would happen.
How Fast Do Green Onions Grow In Water? Pretty Fast!
After the cut green onion ends are in the jar of water, you’ll start seeing some growth after just a few days. I learned that things move along pretty fast!
In the photo above you’ll see that at four days there was definitely new green growth coming up from the cuttings. After one week the shoots were reaching up farther and growing nicely. And at the two week mark, my new green onions were large enough to start using in recipes.
During these two weeks, you might need to change the water a few times if it is turning cloudy. Also during this time, in addition to the green sprouts growing up above, the roots are growing longer down below. After a week or two you might find it helpful to move your growing green onions to a slightly larger jar so you can add more water and have more room for the roots. I moved mine to an 8 oz (half pint) canning jar.
Two More Things I Learned About Growing Green Onions in Jars
So I did indeed learn that the process for how to grow green onions indoors in jars of water was a pretty easy thing to do – AND – it didn’t take very long either. But here’s what else I learned.
First, I discovered that these new green onions I had grown were more like hollow reeds. They were not as sturdy or fleshy as the green onions I purchase at the grocery store. This made them a little harder to chop and use in recipes, and I actually found it easier to snip them with my kitchen scissors (like I would do with chives), rather than trying to dice my homegrown green onions. This wasn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it did make cutting and using them a bit more tedious.
Second, I learned that it was best to use them up after about a month of growing. At that point the shoots were getting were very tall and because they were thin hollow shoots as mentioned above, my green onions started to fall over.
So if you’re wondering how long you can grow green onions in water, my experience was that you can grow them for about a month, and then it’s time to use them in a recipe and start over with some new bulbs.
You Can Make Your Own Green Onions!
Now that I’ve done this process of growing green onions in jars of water a few times, I can definitely say that it’s an easy project and a good reminder that nature is always growing and renewing. Just by taking the simple step of putting some discarded onion cuttings in water, you begin the process of new growth. And after just a few weeks, you might feel like you have somehow magically made your own green onions!
If you’re looking for a frugal way to save a bit on a grocery item, or perhaps you’d like to give your children a nature lesson, or maybe you just enjoy growing things, this is a simple project to start with, and the end result is a thrifty and savory addition you can use in your recipes too.
You might also like to read:
- Make Your Own Dill Pickles (No Canning Needed)
- Make Your Own Crockpot Applesauce
- Make Your Own Taco Seasoning
How To Grow Green Onions In Water
- Small Glass Jar (I used a 2 oz size to get started)
- A Few Grown Green Onions
- To begin, cut the white bulb ends off from a few green onions that are already grown. (My cuttings are usually about 1½ inches long.)
- Place these cuttings into a small jar with the roots facing downward.
- Add enough water to the jar to cover the roots. The top ends of the cuttings can be sticking out of the water.
- Place the jar with the cuttings and water in a spot where it will get some light and warmth. You should see new growth within a few days.
- The water can be changed periodically if it starts to turn cloudy. You may also wish to transfer your cuttings to a larger jar as the roots and shoots keep growing.
- After two or three weeks your new green onions should be grown enough to use in recipes.