How to Grow Shallots – A Beginner’s Guide

shallots plant growing in garden
Shallots, which are known botanically as Allium cepa var. aggregatum, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing shallots as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Shallots

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the shallot seeds in fall for overwintering or early spring. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when shallots are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Shallots the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing shallots in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your shallots grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 7.0.

4″ apart in rows 20-36″ apart. 6-8″ apart in rows 12-18″ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 1-2″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your shallot seedlings 6-8″ apart when seedlings are 4-6″ tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Shallots

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your shallots. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your shallots should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.

How Much to Water Shallots

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your shallots do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your shallots begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Shallots to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your shallots grow.

It takes approximately 10-14 days to germinate, and a total of 90-120 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Shallots

The best time to harvest your shallots is when the tops start to yellow and fall over.

Shallots can grow up to about 1-3″ diameter bulbs.

What Can Shallots Be Used For?

Food Use: great in sauces, salads, and as a seasoning.

Flavor Profile: mild, sweet, and slightly sharp.

Can Shallots Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you can plant up to 3-4 plants per 12″ container. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your shallots around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Shallots Safe for Bees?

Yes, shallots are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing shallots is bee-friendly.

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