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Growing Small Onions In Pots – For Balcony, Terrace, Backyard

Growing Small Onions in Pots

Hello gardeners, we are here with a new topic. Do you want to know how to grow small onions in pots or containers? Well, in this article we are going to discuss growing small onions in pots or containers. In this article, we also cover the basic requirements for growing small onions in pots or containers.

Introduction to Growing Small Onions in Pots

Small onions belong to the family of Amaryllidaceae. Small onions are also known as pearl onions and button onions. Small onions are called immature onions of different varieties and they range in sizes of around a little less or more than the one-inch diameter. They are even planted densely so that they cannot grow to be more than that size. Small onion is one of the best container-grown vegetables, and many varieties of small onions are available to grow, and all types of small onions survive under the same growing conditions. Now. let us get into details of growing small onions in pots or containers at home. This information may be helpful in growing small onions in pots in Balcony, Terrace, Backyard, Greenhouse, or Polyhouse.

A Step By Step Guide for Growing Small Onions in Pots

Growing Onions in Pots.
Guide for Growing Small Onions in Pots (Image credit: pixabay)

Many people would love to grow small onions, but due to a very small garden or perhaps no garden at all, they just don’t have any space. There is a solution though; they can even try growing small onions in pot or container gardens. Growing small onions in containers or pots allow you to be growing Small onions indoors or in a small space in your backyard. Small onions need cool and pleasant weather without any humidity and rain. Thus, the best and suitable time to grow Small onions is between November and February. The container can be used for growing the bulb. But ensure that the soil is fertile and porous for growing small onions.

Things You Will Need for Growing Small Onions in Pots

  • Seeds/sets/transplants
  • Suitable container or pots with 2 to 3 drainage holes at the bottom
  • Suitable soil
  • Water requirement
  • Suitable place
  • Suitable fertilizers

Suitable Soil for Growing Small Onions in Pots

Small onions need loamy soil to survive well. Soil requirement for growing Small onions in pots or containers: Small onion survives very well in loamy, well-drained, fertile soils. And the pH level of the soil should be from 6.0 to 7.5. Small onion plants do best and well with good quality potting soils, instead of gardening soil. You need to enrich the potting soil with compost or slow-release organic fertilizer for a good start to the Small onion plant. Small onions are the heavy feeder and soil should be enriched with nutrients throughout the growing season of it.

Suitable Container or Pot for Growing Small Onions

Select some large size plastic container or planter boxes with a good draining system. Each container or pot should have a minimum of 2 to 3 drain holes at the bottom. Some people use wide plastic tubs to grow Small onions, even you can grow in grow bags or some use plastic buckets, wooden boxes, or water tins. Prepare them with 2 to 3 drain holes at the bottom. Each Small onion plant required a minimum of 4-5 inches of space to grow. The ideal size of the container or pot should be nearly 10-14 inches in depth and 8-10 inches in diameter.

Sunlight Requirement for Growing Small Onions in Pots

Small onion plants love sunlight; they grow very well in bright light. Sunlight requirement depends on the variety of Small onions you choose or select to grow, some of them need direct and the sun grows in partial shade. If growing from Small onions from seeds, check the requirement on the seed cover before buying. If growing Small onions from sets, check with a local grower to know about the plant’s sunlight requirements. Place the Small onion containers or pots in a location where it receives 5 to 6 hours of direct sun per day. Location for your container or pots can be patios, balconies, terrace gardens, back yards, front yards, and outdoor gardens. If growing Small onions indoors, Small onion seeds need a cool temperature to germinate and high temperatures for bulb formation. So, by the time that the plant starts forming bulbs move the container or pot outdoor or place them near a windowsill where it can get 6-7 hours of direct sun.

Suitable Temperature for Growing Small Onions in Pots

The ideal and optimum temperature for bulb development is 21°C to 24°C  and around that range, onions grow very well and best.

Planting Time for Small Onions in Pots

  • In regions or areas with frigid winters, you can grow Small onions in late March or April
  • In regions or areas with mild temperatures, you can grow Small onions in late fall or winter
  • If you are going to sow the seeds in autumn, they will not be ready till summer. You also need to protect them from winters in cold areas

Propagation Method for Growing Small Onions in Pots

  • Method 1: they can be propagated from seeds.
  • Method 2: they can be propagated from transplants.
  • Method 3: they can be propagated from sets.

Propagation of Small Onions from Seeds in Pots

Select a good quality seed from a nearby nursery or any garden store. The growing requirement of the Small onion should match our weather or climatic conditions. Choose the seeds by reading labeled requirements on the seeds cover or consult any local grower on selecting seeds.

Use seed starting mix and seedling tray or small containers or pots for planting seeds. Fill the pre-moisten seed start mix within the desired container and sow the seeds ½ deep and canopy the soil loosely. and canopy the seeds with a plastic cover or humidity dome and place seeds during a cool dry location. the perfect temperature for onion seed germination should be starting from 21°C to 24°C. Once the seeds sprout, remove the duvet and place the container during a cool location with bright light. Keep the moisture levels of the soil constantly. Feed the seeds with fish emulsion or compost tea every fortnight. And therefore the Small onion seeds take 3 to 4 months to mature. And transplant the seedling to the specified content within them outdoors once they are about 3-4 inches tall. The Seedling should be hardened off before transplanting outdoor. Hardening Off is that the process of creating seedling adaptable to outdoor climates gradually. Expose seedling gradually to direct sun, cool nights, and fewer water frequencies. Hardening off should be wiped out at a sheltered location for a couple of hours on day one and increases the exposure day by day.

Propagation of Small Onions from Transplants in Pots

Sowing seeds and then transplanting seedlings is a long time taking process. rather than sowing seeds and growing transplants, buy the transplants from nurseries and plant them in desired containers.

Growing Small onions from transplants have a less harvesting period than from seeds.

Buy the transplants from any supplier and transplants should be very firm and dry to the touch.

Transplants should be planted within 4 weeks before the last frost date.

Fill the specified container with potting mix, enriched with compost or slow-release fertilizer. And maintain soil temperature at 12 to 13°C before planting.

Plant the transplants 2 to three inches deep and 1 to 2 inches apart. Water the plant and place them in sunlight for five to six hours per day.

Maintain constant moisture levels and once the plant gets firm, add some organic mulch like dried leaves or straw to regulate weeds and retain moisture within the soil.

Use watering cans with a fine hose and water only at the bottom of the plant.

Overhead watering makes foliage wet and results in fungal diseases.

Small onions propagated from transplants take 5 to six weeks to supply onions.

Propagation of Small Onions from Sets in Pots

Small onions can be easily grown from seeds and transplants, but growing Small onions from sets or bulbs are very easy and even they are disease resistant. Small onion bulbs or sets come in many different varieties, but they are sold by color, not by variety.  You need to choose the desired bulbs or sets based on color. These are available in all the nurseries and garden centers or farmer stores.

The Ideal time to plant the Small onions, bulbs, or sets is in the early spring or autumn.

Fill the desired container or pot with a good quality potting mix and enriched it with slow-release organic fertilizer or compost. Slightly you need to wet the moist the potting soil, before filling it into the containers or pots.

Leave a ½ inch space between the rim of the container or pot and the surface of the soil.

Push the Small onion bulbs about 1 inch deep into the soil with points facing upward. Even maintain 2-inch space between each bulb.

Water the Small onion bulb and place them in sunlight for 6 to 7 hours per day. You need to check the moisture levels regularly as the potting soil dries out quickly.

Once the Small onion bulbs sprout with plants and grow up to 2 inches in height, then place a thin layer of organic mulch to retain the moisture levels of the soil and control the weeds.

Feed the Small onion bulbs after 2 to 4 weeks of planting. And better to feed them every two weeks. Use a balanced organic liquid fertilizer in a ratio that is 8:8: 8 or 10:10:10. Mix the selected fertilizer with water in a ratio of 2 teaspoons of fertilizer for one gallon of water.

Water Requirement for Growing Small Onions in Pots

In case if you miss this: Growing Organic Lettuce.

Onion Plant
Water Requirement for Growing Small Onions (pic source: pixabay)

Small onion growing in containers or pots needs more water, as the potting soil dries out quickly.

If you are using a ceramic container or pot, onions grown in these pots or containers need more water frequencies.

Soil should be frequently kept moist constant, as soon as it dries out, water it through till water floods out of the draining holes.

Water your plant when the topsoil up to 2 inches deep dry. Water the plants by checking moisture levels.

Small onion plants propagated from transplants need more water than the plants that are propagated from sets.

Water the soil with a help of a hose and nozzle or soaker hoses to keep the soil moist constantly.

Suitable Fertilizers for Growing Small Onions in Pots

Small onions are very good feeders; fertilizing levels of the plant can be reduced if using a nutrient-rich potting mix.

During the growing and starting seasons, Small onions should be fertilized with balance organic liquid fertilizers every two weeks.

Fish emulsion or compost tea should be used for your plant occasionally; this may help the growth of healthy leaves.

You should not use a fertilizer with high nitrogen levels; high nitrogen levels can produce poor Small onion bulbs.

Too much fertilizer may burn the root and makes leaves yellow.

Common Pests and Diseases in Growing Small Onions in Pots

Thrips: Thrips are very tiny insects about as fat as a stitching needle—take a dark piece of paper into the garden and knock the onion tops against it; if thrips are present, you’ll spot their tan-colored bodies on the paper. a few treatments with insecticidal soap kill them. Follow the package directions. Spray the plants twice, three days apart, and therefore the thrips should disappear.

Small onion maggots: Cover your emerging onion crop with fine mesh netting. Seal it by mounding soil around the edges. The onion maggot likes to get its eggs at the bottom of plants; therefore the netting should prevent that. you ought to also keep mulch away because the insects like decaying organic matter, and confirm you completely harvest your onions because the season progresses. Small onion maggots are usually dragged in very rainy periods, so these precautions could also be unnecessary if you’ve got a season.

How to Harvest Small Onions

Pull any Small onions that send up flower stalks; this means then that the bulbs have stopped growing. These Small onions will not store well but can be used in recipes within a few days.

When Small onions start to mature, the tops that mean foliage become yellow and begin to fall over. At that point, bend the tops down or even stomp on the foliage to speed the final ripening process of the bulb.

Loosen the soil around the Small onion bulbs to encourage drying.

Be sure to harvest mature Small onions by late summer, and do this so in dry conditions. Small onions plants need to harvest when wet do not cure well and may rot in storage. Mature Small onions may spoil in cool fall weather.

When tops are brown, pull the Small onions. Handle them very carefully, as the slightest bruise can encourage rot.

Commonly Asked Questions for Growing Small Onions in Pots

How do you plant Small onions?

Scoop the pearl onion seedlings from the flat with a spoon, scooping out the basis and therefore the soil attached to the roots. Plant the seedling within the garden bed at an equivalent depth it had been at within the flat. Space the pearl onions 1 and 1/2 inches apart in rows spaced 2 inches apart.

How do I know when my Small onions are ready to harvest?

Small onions are ready to harvest when the bulbs are big and the tops begin to turn yellow and fall over. Pull them up from the soil, then shake off the soil, and lay them out to cure with the tops still attached.

Do Small onions need direct sunlight?

Small onions need full sun and at least 13 to 16 hours of light daily during bulb formation. To get a harvest during the summer, the Small onions must be planted as soon as your soil is tillable in the spring. Small onions are available to plant from seed or in sets. However, seeds may take longer to grow.

How many Small onions do you get from one bulb?

One Small onion grows from a single Small onion bulb.

This may come as a very shock and make people feel hard done by but it’s the truth. Small onions are not like potatoes but the smaller onion seeds are known as a set produce a larger onion

How long does Small onion take to grow?

It takes nearly 90 days to grow.

Small onions are cool-season crops that require 90 days or more to reach maturity. Because of their long growing season requirement and their preference for cooler weather, planting Small onion seeds directly into the container or pot in the spring makes it very difficult for the Small onion bulbs to reach a good size before warm temperatures arrive.

Do Small onions come back every year?

By growing these three hardy perennial Small onion varieties, you’ll never run out of Small onions again. Annual bulb bab onions take a long time to grow. From seed to full bulb can take as long as 6 months to almost a year also, depending on the variety you choose.

That’s all folks about growing small onions in pots at home. Keep growing veggies!.


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