Growing Shallots

September 30, 2005

Have you discovered the joy of using fresh shallots in your gourmet cooking? If so do you frown and question why this delicious gourmet vegetable is so expensive?

Advantages of Growing Fresh Shallots

While you can purchase onions by the pound with a little loose change, shallots are sold by the ounce for big bucks. The curious thing is that shallots are much easier to grow, and even more productive than the common cooking onion. When growing shallots you can also replant part of your harvest and avoid buying new seed for future crops.

Shallots are preferred by gourmet chefs for the subtle and delicious flavors that they impart to even the most basic recipe. In the garden shallots require very little in the way of effort and don’t require much garden space. So if you love shallots but hate paying exorbitant amounts to enjoy them, the perfect solution is to grow your own.

French Shallots, also know as grey shallots are recognized as the ultimate “true” shallot by gourmet chefs, but there are many other great varieties including: Dutch yellow shallots, red shallots, and the larger frog leg and banana (echalion) shallots.

Planting Shallots in the Home Garden

Cultivation is simple, shallots are grown in much the same fashion as garlic. Plant them six to eight inches apart with the root scar facing downward and the pointed end facing up. They should be placed at a depth so that the tops are just barely below the soil. Fall is the best time for planting in most areas and shallots have no trouble surviving winter conditions.

Shallots will grow well in average garden soil, there’s no need for heavy applications of fertilizer. Just keep the bed weeded and watered, and you’ll discover how easily they produce, with none of the day length issues that you encounter when growing onions.

Fall planted shallots will be ready for harvesting early the following summer. Save some of the best bulbs to replant in the fall and you’ll never need to repurchase seed stock.

If you’re interested in more information on growing shallots and raising a beautiful garden that’s loaded with delicious gourmet produce check out my new ebook: “Amazing Secrets to Growing Luscious Fruits and Vegetables at Home.”

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • Thanks for the shallot info. Just a few weeks ago I purchased some shallots and garlic to plant here in Ky this fall. I’ve held off as it has been so warm.

  • terry bowden

    I have bought some shallots but they are large , do I split them before planting , or put in ground as is .

  • Kenny Point

    No, don’t split or cut the shallots, separate the individual sections of the bulbs, but plant each of the pieces whole.

  • Deb

    I planted my shallots a couple weeks ago, are they going to be ready this fall or do I have to leave them in the ground till next summer? I’ve never planted them before and am not sure. Thanks!

  • Kenny Point

    Deb, I plant shallots in the fall to overwinter for an early summer harvest, or plant them in the spring for a late summer or fall harvest. You didn’t mention where you live but it sounds like you planted your shallots a little late. Harvest them in the fall or whenever the tops die back and try to plant your shallot seeds earlier the next time around.

  • Barbara

    Hi, I planted some shallots this spring
    first time(Maine)
    do I get 1 to 1 like a onion? thanks

  • Kenny Point

    Barbara, you will get multiple shallots for each shallot seed clove that is planted. Depending on the shallot variety and the size of the bulbs, you could harvest four to eight shallot cloves from each plant.

  • noel urben

    How do I store shallots? Just harvested in Southern Wisconsin end of July.

  • Kenny Point

    After harvesting allow the shallots to cure in a warm, dry location (but out of direct sunlight) for about a week or two. Once the shallots have cured store the bulbs in a cool, dry area in a mesh bag, in thin layers on trays, or in a shallow container that allows good air circulation.

  • Audrey Osborne

    I live in north Auckland New Zealand. I planted shallots in the Autumn,they seem to have sprouted very well but the original bulb is now mushy with at least 4 healthy plants. Do I split up these plants or do I leave these alone to develop a bulb? I would appreciate your comment thank you.
    Kind Regards.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Audrey, did you split the shallot seed cloves apart before you planted them? If so the shallots are just fine, when they grow they form multiple separate clove sections that are joined at the bottom where the roots are growing. So when you harvest each plant you will actually wind up with a cluster of four or five shallot cloves per seed that was planted the previous fall.

  • Brandi

    I live in a small apartment in Newport Beach, wih a tiny patio that only gets a few hours of sun in the morning. Is it possible to grow shallots and/or garlic in containers these conditions? Can they be grown indoors with normal lighting? Thanks for sharing your expertise!

  • Kenny Point

    Brandi, it’s worth a try to plant a few shallots or garlic cloves in a container on your patio to see how they will grow for you. Shallots can produce mature bulbs in containers, as for the garlic your best bet is to grow baby garlic rather than attempt to cultivate full-sized mature bulbs in containers. Planting shallots or garlic indoors in containers probably won’t produce harvestable bulbs, but you could grow plenty of green leaf shoots that can be snipped off and used like chives to add a little fresh garlic flavor to your favorite recipes.

  • Greg

    Hi. Can you grow Shallots from the Seed Pods after they have matured? Or is this process cumbersome? And is there a better type of Shallot for colder climates such as mine, Southern Ontario?

  • Sande

    I want to try to grow some shallots but am told they are not commercially grown in TX.
    1. will they grow in the Houston area – North side?
    2. where do I buy sets?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Greg, there are shallots that can be grown from seed but the process is more cumbersome and time consuming. Using the mature shallot’s cloves as seed is simpler and you’ll get more consistent results with less effort and in a shorter time from planting to harvest. Shallots are very adaptable to colder climates and actually thrive when planted during the fall and left in the ground over the winter.


    Sande, just because they’re not commercially grown in your area doesn’t mean that shallots won’t grow in your backyard garden. I’m not certain about growing shallots in Texas but my guess is that you can grow them in your southern garden. The biggest challenge for you may be in determining the best time for planting shallots in your growing region. In the north shallots can be planted in the fall and over wintered, or they can be planted in early spring. Because of your hot summers I would try planting the shallot seed cloves in the fall. This will allow them to grow as much as possible during the cooler fall and winter months, and mature for harvesting during spring or early summer.


    One good source for purchasing shallot seed is Kitchen Garden Seeds.

  • Elizabeth

    I am out of the country and have limited supplies. Does anyone know if you can use concrete blocks to plants in and if so, more importantly are there toxins released from the concrete?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Elizabeth, I have seen many gardeners that use concrete blocks and pavers to grow plants in and if it were me, I wouldn’t be too concerned about toxins from the materials, or you could line the sides with plastic before adding your potting soil.

  • Joe K

    I live in the Southern part of New Jersey. I planted some Shallot bulbs in November of last year. They immediately started growing and survived the winter.

    When should I harvest them?

  • Kenny Point

    Joe, the shallots will be fully mature and ready to harvest in early to late summer after the leafy green tops of the plants turn brown and die back. But there’s no harm in harvesting a few of the shallot bulbs earlier if they reach a usable size. Remember to dry and cure the bulbs before placing them in storage.

  • Hazel

    I bought some bulbs that I was told were shallots from a farmer’s market in Maine. I planted some there and brought the rest to Arizona and planted them all in the fall. The plant seems to be different – they bunch but are larger and flat. As they went to seed, bulb clusters developed on the leaves. Is this a variation of shallot and should I treat them the same?

  • Kenny Point

    Hazel, I’ve never seen true shallots that went to seed and produced topsetting bulbs. It sounds more like some type of multiplier onion, unless your climate is causing the plant to behave a little differently. I would treat them just as you normally would and see how they turn out at harvest time.

  • Anne

    I live in VT zone 4, I just purchased shallot bulbs for planting (yellow dutch). If I plant them now will I have anything to harvest in the fall? Or do you suggest waiting to plant them in the fall like garlic? Do I cure the shallots in the same way as garlic and onions? I assume so, but there is no information on the packaging. Thanks!

  • Kenny Point

    Anne, you can plant your shallot seed right away for harvesting later this summer. Shallots are best planted at the same time that you would normally plant your garlic but the bulbs that you purchased will not keep until then. So plant the shallot seed that you have and after you harvest the crop in late summer or early fall replant some of the shallot bulbs when you plant your garlic. And yes, you should dry and cure the shallots for a few days the same way that you would cure onions.

  • Charlene

    We live in the deep south part of Louisiana. Our shallots are ready for havest now. You spoke of drying and curing….could you please elaborate? I have an over zellous gardening husband and we are blessed with a very large amount, Thanks!

  • Duane

    I planted shallot seed that I purchased at a green house about 4 weeks ago. as of this morning only 1 has germinated. What am I doing wrong or do I just have to be patient. My other onions and garlic are doing just fine.
    Thank you.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Charlene, I just posted an entry on Drying & Curing Shallots. Duane, it doesn’t sound too good for your shallots, they usually germinate very quickly. Your seed may have rotted in the ground before it sprouted. Dig around and see if you can locate one of the seed cloves that you planted and check its condition. Unless you at last see signs of roots growing by now I would give up on that shallot seed.

  • Peter in Wisconsin

    I’ve been planting small cloves from last years harvest. I plant them root side down and cover with soil just slightly above the top. They grow fine and look very healthy (three weeks) until the scallions get about 3 inches high. Then many of the plants just stop growing and turn brown like they would when mature. ?????

  • Kenny Point

    Check the condition of your shallot’s roots, it sounds like there may be an insect pest like nematodes or root maggots attacking the plants. Dig a few of the shallots and inspect the the roots for insect infestations or signs of damage to the underground portion of the plants.

  • been growing shallots for 10 years but moved to NE Nebraska from Kansas City a couple of years ago and finally got my garden space in shape instead of the lawn it was in… this year i have the best shallots i have ever had. the other years i just got smaller than grocery store size shallots but they were very good and we like the flavor. this year those small bulbs i planted as soon as i could work the ground this spring are as big or bigger than the store bought… also i like keeping shallots. I keep them in the garage in ventilated trays and they keep all winter into the next summer. i still had good bulbs to eat when we started eating this years crop… charles kuchar

  • Ling Lee

    Dear Mr Point,
    I live in MN and it gets really cold in the winter.
    Is it ok to plant shallot in the fall with the tip just about ground level or do I have to plant them deeper just so they do not freeze to death? I know I have to plant my garlic at least 1″ below ground.
    I planted some this spring and all the green shoots have fallen over just like onion. Should I wait until the shoots turn brown or can they be harvested now?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Ling, What growing zone do you garden in? I have heard reports of gardeners planting shallots successfully during the fall season in Zone 4 growing regions. If you can locate a Master Gardener in your area they can probably tell you for sure if shallots will survive the winter in your part of the state. Shallots are not as hardy as garlic but if you want to give it a try plant the seed a little deeper than normal and after the ground begins to freeze cover the bed with a thick mulch of shredded leaves or straw. In the spring remove enough of the mulch so that the shallot leaves can penetrate to the surface. Good luck!

    I usually wait until the leaves start to dry and turn brown before harvesting shallots for storage. For fresh use you can harvest them at any stage. don’t forget to cure the shallots if they will be stored.

  • John

    We have a small organic farm and have been trying to track down a good supplier for organic shallots. We’re hoping to buy about 500 pounds in different varieties, and hoping to harvest 3-4,000 pounds next summer. Then we can save 500-1,000 for planting next year and trade the rest.

    I was wondering what varieties you would suggest and was hoping you could point us in the right direction for sources of organic shallots for planting in fairly large quantities. If you know of a “directory” of organic distributors carry shallots, that would be very helpful.

    We’re in northeastern Ohio, USA, which as very cold winters, but has been fine for growing various types of garlic and squash for us over the last several years.

  • Kenny Point

    John, I would contact some of the organic garlic seed suppliers such as Gourmet Garlic Gardens or Filaree Farms and network with them to see if they can offer any good sources for bulk quantities of shallot seed. They may also be able to point you in the direction of other shallot growers, suppliers, and cooperatives that can provide you with assistance and information on large scale shallot production. A great variety for the home garden may not be the best shallot for farm production. Good luck and let me know how the shallots produce for you.

  • Don DiCiero

    I have grown shallots for many years, the hidden secret in cooking, but the harvested bulbs are much smaller than the bulbs planted. I live in Norfolk, VA,Zone 8. The soil is well cultivated with grass clippings and mulched leaves and fertilized. But I plant them rather close together under six inches. Could the close planting be the cause of small bulbs at harvest or is this area not ideal for the lack of larger shallot growth?
    Thank You, Don DiCiero

  • Kenny Point

    Don, when are you planting your shallot seed? They grow better for me when they are planted in late fall and allowed to remain in the ground during the winter months. This gives the shallot plants a chance to develop strong root systems to support rapid growth as soon as the weather warms in early spring. Space them a little further apart, about eight inches to encourage larger sized bulbs. There is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to harvest shallots that are at least as large as the ones that you find at the grocer.

  • Laura

    Not sure where I can get shallot bulbs for planting. Can I just buy the ones from the grocery store? Also, I’m in Zone 5. Can I plant them in the spring insteaf of the fall since it’s already winter now? Or should I plant them indoors and bring them out when spring comes around?

  • Nick

    Is it OK to plant supermarket bought shallots? I want to get some in the ground right away but they are only sold in nurseries around here(Eugene Oregon)in the Fall. Will the large store bought shallot bulbs germinate? Could they carry some kind of bacteria? Any ideas? Thanks.

  • Kenny Point

    Laura & Nick, you can find shallot seed at many of the same sources that sell seed potatoes and gourmet garlic seed. They can be planted in the spring as well as the fall and those shallot bulbs at the supermarket will usually grow if planted out in the garden. I always recommend certified seed for growing garlic in the home garden but am not as particular about shallot seed, mainly because there doesn’t seem to be as big of a difference in the quality or varieties of the shallots that are found at the grocer. I’m not aware of any bacteria on the shallots that would be a concern and I also don’t know if the shallot bulbs at the grocer are commonly treated with any type of agent to retard germination. Good luck with growing your shallots.

  • Niels

    Do you know what will happen if I leave shallot bulbs in the ground after the first season of growth?
    Will the the root-plate stay intact and the plant continue to multiply, albeit somewhat slower?
    Can shallot colonies naturalize?
    Are there dangers of the plants rotting in the ground?
    Also, can shallot colonies be divided and replanted instead of harvesting and storing?
    How similar is the growth habit to Welsh onions, which seem to do fine left for years untouched, without rotting or dying-back. Though probably having a reduced yield I should have thought, especially as this is quite a low-yielding plant already.
    Thoughts welcome.
    Also, any thoughts on planting shallots through a cardboard mulch? Rot, etc?


  • Kenny Point

    Hi Niels, shallot bulbs will eventually sprout and regrow if they are left in the ground after the clusters mature. There may be some rotting and the shallots will definitely perform better if they are divided and replanted, but you could do the replanting at harvest time instead of storing the bulbs to plant later. I don’t think that the shallots will naturalize in the same manner as the Welsh onions but I don’t have any experience with that. The shallot leaves are pretty weak and I doubt that they could grow through a cardboard mulch very easily.

  • Don DiCiero

    This season I planted my shallots as usual, during the month of Sept. or Oct. to winter over. I planted at eight inches apart. Some of them deeper than the usual depth of just below ground surface. Some about 1-2 inches deeper. I live in Zone 8, Norfolk, VA. During June or July, when they start to turn brown and die out, I will harvest. We’ll see if I harvest large bulbs as when planted or will they down size. My soil is well mulched and fertilized.

  • Good organic shallot planting stock is extremely hard to find. Fall planting is always best… see our website for growing instructions and available shallot types. Big John

  • Greetings:
    I planted my shallots about mid-late March. I did not get all of the cloves seperated and some of the smaller cloves I planted whole. (stupid?) They are beginning to dry off here in June and I test pulled one clump which turned out to be like Green onions about a half inch in diameter 7 plants with tiny little root systems. What should I do?
    Should I leave them alone for now and replant in September when I do my garlic. I have never grown shallots before.
    Spilleth thy Guts if you will.Please! Thankyou

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Richard, it’s really not a good idea to plant shallot bulbs without separating the cloves because you’ll wind up with the clusters of small cramped plants that you are experiencing. The smaller bulbs may be better suited to just use in the kitchen. You could replant your small, stressed, shallot bulbs in the fall but you really are better off and will get the best results from using the largest, choicest bulbs as your seed stock… those are the traits that you want to preserve and pass on to future harvests.

  • Don DiCiero

    I am very much aware of planting the larger cloves. Since I like to cook and use the shallot, the smaller cloves are difficult to peel. I have always separated the cloves at planting. Plant the larger clove 8″ apart some of them just below soil surface and some at soil surface. I still got more very small cloves. Could it be the area I am in? Live in Norfolk, VA, zone 8, plant in Sept. to winter over. Harvest in June. We had a mild winter and not very cold for any length of time. This time I will plant a little earlier, to see what happens. Any other suggestions? Don DiCiero,

  • Chris

    Hi, I planted shallots for the first time this year. I used cloves and they sprouted almost immediately. I am a little concerned though that it is already shooting a flower shoot (after about 3 weeks in the ground). There are probably about 5-6 shoots that came up after it was planted. Should I worry about this? Should I harvest before it goes to seed, should I let it go? I didn’t realize that I should plant them in the fall so I just planted some this spring when i was putting in my onions.

    Pittsburgh, PA

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Chris, that’s not a good sign that your shallots are producing seed stalks. Are you sure that they are flower shoots and not just leaves? Is that five or six shoots from all of your shallots or per plant? I’ve never really noticed shallots going to seed and if they did I wouldn’t expect to see multiple flower stalks from a single plant. You did separate the sections of the shallot bulbs before planting… right? The best approach at this point is probably to leave them and remove the shoots as they appear. You can harvest them when they grow large enough for cooking but I wouldn’t use those bulbs for replanting. I prefer to plant shallots in the fall but you can also get a decent crop from shallots that are planted in early spring.

  • Chris

    Thanks for the quick reply. I should have been more clear, and I checked the garden after I posted. There is only one seed stalk each on some of the shallots. There are more like 8-10 stalks per plant. I separated the cloves when I planted them so there should only be one per plant. So, should I cut the seed stalk on each plant and let them go? I am not too worried about next year as i can replant in the fall again. For this year I just want something to harvest that is grown in my own garden. 🙂


  • Kenny Point

    Chris, Don DiCiero tried to reply with the following response: “You will get multiple green top growth, you don’t remove any of that top growth. Each clove you plant will produce at least five or more cloves. What area are you in and its planting zone?”

    What he is getting at is are you sure that the shallot growths are seed stalks and not just the normal long, slender, rounded leaves that shallots produce? It would be unusual for a normal shallot plant to produce a single seed stalk let alone ten of them from a single plant.

  • Chris

    The was only one seed stalk on the plant, the rest are regular leaves. I am assuming thats what it was as it was growing taller than the rest and had a white hershey kiss shaped pod at the top. I am in Pittsbugh, PA, which is zone 6a I believe.

  • Kenny Point

    OK Chris, that makes sense. You should remove the seed stalks from each shallot plant and let them continue growing. Good luck.

  • Henri

    There seem to be a lot of guessing in the culture of shallots; here in western Washington we do grow shallots from seed in a green house in winter and transplant in March in the garden; for years I have grown shallots from bulbs planted in early spring, shallots have a gene that make them quit growing when the days get shorter (late June) no mater how much water you give them the tops turn brown; the advice I got from a cousin in Brittany, do not use fresh manure, plant the bulb with one third sticking out, let nature do the watering (they have water restriction) after a heavy downpour throw a handful of rock salt on the garden patch and you should have good shallots; when they are ripe hang them braided in a breezeway away from direct sun. Anybody wanting to try it let us know. H.

  • ARWadoo

    I have been growing Shallots for the last 4 years. However this year in june rains spoiled my Shallots. The shallot crop due to heavy rains resprouted the shallots. I would request to let me know how to save the the sprouted shallots. Will it be useful to dig out divide and replant these sprouted stocks.
    sincerely yours

  • Ron in NE Ohio

    Wow, great forum, thanks Kenny.
    I planted my first shallots a week ago on a whim after an impulse purchase at Lowes.
    One has multiple green sprouts peeking out and I mulched lightly with grass clippings to discourage the birds who have been plucking my onion sets out of the same patch.
    After reading this, I went to Lowes, bought some more, and will plant them soon.
    Also inspired me to play with garlic. I will be sticking some of that (red and Elephant) in the ground this week.
    This fall I will buy a pound of shallots and plant them for overwinter, and then replant from the harvest.

  • Maris van Erum

    I live in The Netherlands; I wish to know whether I could plant shallots now (I have some bulbs purchased) in the spring and expect a harvest, whenever? later this year, most probably? I would appreciate an early response.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Maris, shallots will do just fine when planted as a spring crop and should mature during mid to late summer. Good luck!

  • Ron in NE Ohio

    OK, so while shopping at the local grocery store, I noticed how nice and big their shallots were, so I bought almost a pound.
    They were like small onions, nice and firm, so i stuck them in the garden, along with some garlic I had in the kitchen. This was about 10-12 days ago, and they are starting to sprout!
    I’m so excited, I decided to stick garlic cloves in the garden randomly, to utilize the space in my square foot garden, and hopefully repel some pests, and maybe a werewolf or two.
    Seriously though, the shallots I bought from Lowes were like tiny garlic cloves, shriveled up and sorry looking, where these were beautiful huge cloves.
    Just wanted to thank you Kenny, I have googled quite a few garden sites where the site owner never answers the readers questions, this is a great site, and has already inspired me.

  • Beth

    Some gardening sites that sell shallots note that their varieties are ‘long day’, like onions. Some do not. Is this a fact about shallots? Any clues you have would be helpful. I live in a short day zone, IF they’re like onions they’d just make foliage but not many little shallot thingies, right? I have seeds that I will start this fall and overwinter. I’ll report back.

  • Ron in NE Ohio

    While searching for garlic and shallot seed online, it struck me how expensive it is, often $20 per pound.
    I paid about 79 cents at the local grocery for my beautiful shallots, (the cashier made an error and rang them as onions, saving me a couple of dollars) and they are growing just fine so far.
    Also, the garlic I had left over from Sams Club is growing fine, and it was very cheap when I bought it last year.
    Am I missing something here?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Ron, I think you are missing an important consideration with your garlic seed that could make the investment in more expensive seed stock worthwhile. Mainly, you would have access to many different types of incredible gourmet quality garlic vs. the rather generic strain of garlic that you can purchase at the grocer. There are many different varieties of garlic all with their own unique flavors, appearances, and culinary characteristics, but in order to explore them you must pay the piper and start with good quality seed stock; after that initial investment just save your own seed for future plantings. I’m not as particular with shallots but even there I would prefer to start with seed stock that I could be certain as to the variety and quality.

  • just me in SW oregon

    I agree. When I cook, I use the largest garlic cloves for my garden, and the smaller inside ones for cooking. I also harvest seeds from spaghetti, pumpkins and other squashes, and use beans from a bag of 15 bean soup mix. All grow great and produce well. I buy the squash from the farmers market, so I KNOW it’s adaptable to our local climate. Happy gardening 🙂

  • Maris

    Shallot bulbs that i planted in spring – the green leaves are about 8 inches high? when do i harvest them or when is it ready to be harvested? And could I use the greens for soups, salads etc as chives?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Maris, just let the shallots grow until the green tops die back is late summer or early fall, that is when the bulbs should be developed and ready to harvest. The greens aren’t usually eaten but I’m sure they are edible and could be used like green onions or chives.

  • Maris

    Kenny, tks a zillion.
    Now about red (small) raddish. I have them planted in a pot and the plants now stand about 8inches high and I could see small fruits jutting out.
    Could you pls advise me how best I should plant them and how far apart each seed should be planted, because I haven’t got a clue!

  • Kenny Point

    Maris, you can plant radishes pretty closely so try spacing the seeds two or three inches apart in each direction.

  • I obtained French Gray shallot seed from a WI seed company in 2006.
    I have been growing garlic since 1977 with great success. The shallots, however, have gotten smaller each year. I plant them in the Fall after hard frost at same time I plant garlic. I have been using the larger shallot as seed, which is usually the “mother plant”. Could this be the problem? Do you believe that shallots could be hybredized? I live in Centre County, PA.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Charles, I don’t think it’s an issue with your shallots being hybridized, it could be that they have picked up some type of virus. Are you rotating the area of the garden that you grow your shallots in? I usually plant a variety of different sized seed for multiplier onions but I’m not sure that would make a difference with shallots where I also use the largest seed for both shallots and garlic. It may be a good idea to purchase some new seed stock for your shallots and start fresh as they should not be decreasing in size like that. Good luck!

  • Tim

    I live in Virginia Beach, Va. I planted several dozen shallot bulbs this past weekend 11/8/09. This is the first year that I have planted Shallots in the Fall for next summer’s (2010) harvest. In past years my Spring planted shallots have generally been smaller than the bulbs I planted. Will the Fall planting improve the size of the harvested shallots? Also, I applied a balanced time-release fertilizer when I planted them. The soil is well worked and also contains plenty of compost and chopped leaves.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Tim, I have always planted my shallots in the fall and wind up with an assortment of sizes at harvest time, but there are always some bulbs that grow pretty large. I think that you will see better results from a fall planting. Let us know what type of results you get. Thanks and good luck!

  • Ron

    I’ve looked all over, I can’t find shallots for sale for planting. Where do I find the seed sets?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Ron , this isn’t the best time for sourcing shallot seed. They are easier to find during spring and summer when most of the suppliers take orders for shipping in time for fall planting. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is a supplier that I have used in the past but they only ship for fall planting. Wood Prairie Farm has French shallots listed as available from Sept through Feb so you may want to give them a try. You can also find shallot seed in some garden centers in the spring, or you can always try planting the shallots sold at market if you don’t have any other options.

  • Carla

    Thank you for the information shallots. I couldn’t believe how fast they grow and they are wonderful in many different dishes

  • OK… So question:
    If shallots are superior in flavor, grow faster AND more easily than common onions, why then are they so expensive and hard to find?
    They are delicious, no doubt.

  • Raynes

    I live in Tennessee and it’s May 4th, I have shallot bulbs, and would like to see how I should plant them. Would like to have some this year, if possible. Can anybody help me on how to plant these bulbs and should I separate them and then plant and would I plant them now for this years shallots?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Raynes, shallots are pretty easy to plant. Just separate the bulbs and plant the sections individually about six to eight inches apart. I like to plant shallots in the fall but you can raise a successful harvest that will mature during the summer from a spring planting.

  • Tim

    Hey, Don DiCiero…I’m in VaBch (Kempsville). The shallots I planted last Novmber have multiplied into huge bunches. Apparently, Fall planting is the answer. Can’t wait for June/July to harvest them. Also planted some in March. All seem to be doing fine.

  • Lynn

    I started seed indoors about 6 weeks ago and just seperated and planted the starts about 2 weeks ago. I see references to “seed” here, but I believe they are are referring to bulbs/sections. My question is, what can I expected in terms of behavior of growth and harvest when growing from (flower) seed purchased through a supplier. Thx!

  • Kenny Point

    Lynn, I’ve never tried to grow shallots from seed because they are just so easy to grow from the bulbs. Also, I don’t believe that you can even grow all shallot varieties from seed. I would guess that the difference in behavior or growth is that it will take longer to grow shallots from seed and I’m not sure if they will need more than one season to actually produce mature shallots. If you try it let us know how the process works for you and any advantages or disadvantages that you see. Thanks!

  • Brandie

    It’s now June 16 in Jackson Hole, WY – Zone 3. My raised garden beds are finally finished. Is it okay to plant shallots this late? The weather has been miserably cold with snow and rain but we are now seeing a glimpse of spring/summer. I have some locally organic grown shallots that I just bought at the market. I wonder if I should plant them now or just saute them for dinner?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Brandie, how about eating half of the shallots for dinner and planting the rest just to see how they will do. Then plant more in the fall to see if they will over winter in your climate. Whichever method gives you the best results is the one to stick with in the future.

  • Charlia Vance

    It’s June 16 in Berea, KY and the shallots that we planted 6 or 8 weeks ago are starting to rot. They made nice greens, but the greens are turning brown, and when I pulled one up to see what was going on, it’s rotting. The soil is not too wet, so any ideas? Thanks.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Charlia, it could be a soil-borne insect that is feeding on the plant’s roots and causing it to die. How many bulbs did you plant and were they all affected in the same manner?

  • Charlia Vance

    Thanks Kenny,
    We planted 10 or 12 bulbs and they are all starting to turn brown. I’ve pulled two up and the bulbs are semi-mushy and smell bad.

  • Clarence Buck

    I have some plants that I thought was shallots but they have a seed pod at the end of each stock the seed pod looks like little hershes kiss’s. I dug som of them up and they have 1 blub at side of the stock .

  • Sy

    Thanks for all your great info…
    I read somewhere that after planting in the fall that one should not water (or very little) until spring. Any truth in this? Thanks

  • Kenny Point

    You are very welcome Sy, thanks for stopping by. I seldom do any watering of the fall vegetable garden, mainly because the natural rainfall is usually sufficient with the cooler temps and slower plant growth of the fall and winter months.

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  • Hi! Thanks for the article and the great responses.

    I planted shallots for the first time around St. Patrick’s day this year here in Ohio, and for the past week or so, the greens have been lying on the ground. I pulled a couple of the plants, and the bulbs looked to be big enough, and a couple of them were starting to rot (we’ve had a TON of rain, so that might be why), so I decided to pull them all because all of the bulbs were pretty big and I didn’t want them all to rot But when I searched websites about harvesting shallots, they all said to wait until the greens turned yellow or brown. Have I harvested my shallots too soon? Can anything be done to save them?

  • rhee

    Hi I live in nelspruit south africa next to the kruger national park and certain products are difficult to come by please help. I would like to grow mushrooms out and indoors and shallots how and where can I purchase these products?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Denice, my shallots and potato onions look just like your plants with the leaves all sprawled over the ground, only difference is that it has been extremely dry here. If they have sized up I don’t think that it is a problem to harvest your shallots now, just be sure to dry and cure the bulbs a bit before they go into storage.

  • bazeel

    Hi to all. Do I cut of the shallot flower bulbs when they start to grow – before they flower or to I let them flower before harvesting? We always cut of the garlic flower bulb stems understanding that the bulbs get more nourishment rather than the flowers.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Bazeel, I’ve never had any shallots flower or send up seed stalks, but I would just remove them when they appear just like garlic scapes.

  • Shajan George

    We live in southern Africa in Lesotho and we have siviour winter. This country is 2500m above sea leval. The country has a funny weather. It will be cold for a day or two but becomes warmer within a day. Snow falls but melts next day.

    We are growing shallots for the last few years, but unsucessfull. The plan grow very fast and developes many stocks and bulbs are very small.

    What shall we do? Shall we remove the stocks or shall we keep them as it is? somebody suggested we shall tie the leaves when it grow. Is it true?



  • Ken Noble

    Dear Kenny;

    I live on Maui and would like to plant shallots in my back yard. Since we have no real winters here, can you please give me some tips about growing in this zone? I have just purchased supermarket shallots to use as my first try.

    Thanks and Aloha,


  • Kenny Point

    Hello Ken, unfortunately I’m not very familiar with your growing zone there in Maui but shallots can be planted as a spring crop and don’t have to be over wintered. You’ll just have to experiment and try planting at different times of the year to determine the best time to sow shallots in your climate. Good luck!

  • Debbi

    We let a couple of our shallots go to seed. We have been collecting the little black pieces that fall out when the seed head is shaken, the other day, there where little white and purple bulbs growing around the stem at the base of the flower head. Are these what are planted or the black ones? I have not found any specific info on collecting shallot seeds.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Debbi, I have never tried growing shallots from seed because the bulbs are so much easier. But if it is a shallot variety that produces from seed you can use the seeds from the seed head, the tiny bulbils, or the mature shallot bulbs to propagate new plants. The mature bulbs will produce a new crop the quickest and the seeds will take the longest time to reach harvestable sizes.

  • Lynn

    Hi Kenny,
    I commented here on May 21st about growing shallot from seed (not bulbs). Following up 3 months later and I have shallots! They are sitting on top of the ground, which I didn’t expect! The seeds were commercial “Ambition”. The largest are 1.5″ and they are very healthy. Growing conditions weren’t the best (soil wasn’t amended), they only got partial sun, I used drip irrigation and planted them in a raised bed, no fertilizer.

  • Carol Hannum

    I have a large container with long stiff straight stalks that produce clusters of tiny shallot-shaped pods at the top that in turn open to produce long twisted tendril with more pods at the end. I harvested a bowlfull and wonder if they are safe to eat. They look like and smell like very small shallots. Carol

  • Sy

    Hi kenny…I’m very impressed with your site and the dedication you show by promptly responding to questions. I live in South Africa and have many shallots growing. Many have developed a small black parasite (pin-prick sized) that accumulate on the upper stem. Any idea of what this may be and what I can do about it? Thanks, Sy.

  • Kenny Point

    Thanks Sy, I do get behind at times but try to answer every question that I receive. I’m afraid that I do not know what the insect or disease is which is creating a problem with your shallots. Is there any group or organization in your country that could help with providing a positive identification of the pest. If it looks like damage is being done to the shallots you might want to try wiping the leaves down with an insecticidal soap spray.

  • I have planted some bulbs and am attempting to grow them indoors.
    The shoots are about 6 inches high right now. My question; How much cold will the young plants tolorate? Our house is cool at night (between 55 and 60 degrees) but I have been keeping it under a light for warmth.
    What are my chances of success and can you provide any tips which might be helpful?
    Thank you!!

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Bobbi, the shallots can tolerate the cold a lot better than we can so I wouldn’t worry too much about keeping things warm for them… the critical issue will be providing sufficient light for them to grow indoors. It should be pretty easy to produce leafy greens from the shallot bulbs that you can use throughout the winter.

  • Dante

    Hi, all i need to know is how long it takes the shoots to break the surface of the dirt due to the fact that I’m using them for a science project to measure growth.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Dante, it can vary a bit depending on the growing conditions like moisture and temperature but shallots are pretty quick to sprout once they are planted and sometimes even before planting. In the ground they will develop a root system first and then send up top growth. I would guess that the shoots should break the surface in about a week, maybe a little longer. Let me know what results you see from your science project.

  • Pepe

    Is it possible to grow shallots and or garlic in the caribbean (Puerto Rico)? If so, what varieties and what tips could you give me for success?


  • Kenny Point

    Hi Pepe, I’m not positive if, or how well garlic will grow in your climate but I would suggest that you try the Creole types that grow best in southern climates.

  • LeeAnn

    Hi Kenny. I just wanted to thank you for your extensive information on growing, harvesting, and drying shallots. I live in Michigan and am just learning about herbs. I’ve grown onions before and am excited to start growing shallots and garlic (for all those favorite dishes, of course). What are the chances of starting shallots and garlic indoors for the spring planting/fall harvest to harvest to use as well as to also produce some for the fall planting? Seems our summer season is so short. Also, is there any natural pesticide for them for any pests they may encounter? We are trying to be as self-sufficient as possible..
    Thank You so very much for your time and expertise.

  • Kenny Point

    You are very welcome LeeAnn, thank you for visiting this site! You probably could start your shallots indoors and transplant them out into the garden later. But even with a short summer season you would probably get the best results from fall plantings of shallots and garlic. So far I haven’t encountered any pests that go after shallots or garlic, and garlic is often used as a pest repellent.

  • April Y.


    I live in Phoenix, AZ and found a large shallot sprouting in my fridge a few weeks back (I know, I know…clean the veggie drawer more often). My boyfriend stuck in a pot out back and it’s shot up with MANY stalks and a couple of white Hershey’s kiss-lookin’ things on top. When can I harvest and how? Just wait for the leaves to all die and then dig it up? Should I do anything with the flower bud things on top?

    Thank you! 🙂

  • Kenny Point

    Hello April, cut those flower/seed stalks off. You can harvest a leaf now and then to use like chives, but other than that I would just let the shallot plant grow until until it dies back and then take a look at the roots to see if it produced any shallots for you. Good luck!

  • April Y.

    Thank you! 🙂

  • Sandra

    I live in zone 7 in Texas. I have watched chefs use shallots on the cooking channels, but I have never in my life seen a shallot in a local grocery. As I was recently walking through an area Wal-Mart store, I stumbled onto some shallot and onion bulbs (sweet onions). We have never planted onions from bulbs let alone shallots. I bought sweet onions because I thought that they might be a little easier on my husband’s digestive system since cancer and was sad to read on this blog that they don’t keep as well as regular onions. Since I have never eaten a shallot, I am curious to see how they taste as I assume that they will taste a lot like an onion. The shallot bulbs appear to be Spanish red in color. At any rate, after reading this blog, I am all excited about planting them and seeing what happens even though my husband says the garden is full and he doesn’t know where we will put them. I bet we find room. Thanks for all of the good info.

  • Lori

    After spending $15 on shallot bulbs last Fall, and having them all rot, I’m going to try and grow them from seed this year. If I plant seed in April should I try, yet again, to winter them over or will they mature sometime this summer? And, what should I do to prevent rot? It’s wet here in NW USA but I have near-perfect soil and raised mounds. If I figure this out, it might be a good cash crop since they are sooooo expensive in the stores!

  • Sandra –
    You are correct about the Shallots. The shallots add a much milder flavor to dishes than an onion might, but you could substitute onions in a pinch.

    Since you said you were in Texas, have you checked out HEB for Shallots? That’s where I found mine before I started growing my own. I am South of you near San Antonio.

  • Sandra

    I do not know about HEB. Is this a commercial store or website? I live in a small, rural community; therefore, I usually have to travel to make purchases unless I avail myself of the internet. It is almost a 2 hour drive for me to get to the DFW metroplex area.

    I was also thinking that I may have lucked into a solution to a long-time problem. I have a child who absolutely, positively hates onions. If I cook something with onions, my child will not eat it. If the shallots are milder in flavor, I might possibly be able to not only help my husband’s digestive problems but also help my child experience a new world of eating.

  • Hi Sandra –
    HEB is a Supermarket Chain based all over Texas So I thought you might have one near you. But if you’re 2 hours from Dallas, I can understand.

    I love your solution to the kids and onions. Yes, Shallots should work if you can find them. They are much subtler and milder than even sweet onions, yet can impart a hint of the flavor of sauteed onions.

    Looks like another good reason to grow your own, like Kenny points out here.

  • Sandra

    We travel to Dallas several times a year to UTSW Medical Center; so, I will check the internet for an HEB in that area. Thanks so much for your help as it is greatly appreciated.

  • Kenny Point

    Sandra, shallots taste similar to onions but seem much milder and a little sweeter to my taste buds.

    Lori, I would try fall planting one more time but also plant some shallots as a spring crop to determine if that will work out better for your growing region.

    Potato Onions are another good option to try… they grow like shallots but are easier to cultivate than onions and will last for months in storage.

  • Robyn H

    I love this informative article! I am also impressed with the variety of comments from all parts of the world and your diligent responses.
    I am newbie to the world of gardening, having just bought my first little plot of land. My backyard is fairly dark and damp, shaded by mature pine trees. How much light do shallots need to grow?

  • Kenny Point

    Robyn, shallots grow well in full sun but I’m not sure about the amount of shade that they will tolerate. I wouldn’t expect them to perform at their best if the amount of sunlight is limited.

  • Bob Knopp

    I am considering planting both bulb and seed shallots. I was gonna plant them in plastic mulch in early spring. Do you think this would work for late summer harvest. Or would the soil temperatures be to warm? This would be in zone 7

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Bob, I wouldn’t use a plastic mulch for growing shallots… is your concern related to weed control or soil temps? You can get a late summer harvest from shallots planted in the spring. If I was going to mulch the crop I would use straw or shredded leaves over the plastic mulch.

  • Susan Rubendall

    Last spring, I planted shallots in Grow Boxes (containers that wick water into the soil from a reservoir, keeping the soil moist at all times but never soggy). The shallots grew well, but I made one serious error. In late summer, I failed to withhold water, instead keeping the reservoir full, just as I did for my tomato plants. This caused many of the shallots to rot. This year, I’ll start cutting back on water when the leaves begin to bend.

  • C McKinnon

    early last summer I planted some shallot cloves but circumstances arose that prevented me from harvesting them last fall before snow came. This spring I have massive clumps of closely resemble green onions. Can I divide these up and get a crop of shallots or would it be better to leave them as they are in the large clumps?

  • Kathy

    This is the first year for me growing shallots. I planted them among my flower beds. I wasn’t able to put them in until early Spring. Should I harvest this year or wait until next year?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Kathy, you should harvest your shallots this year after they size up or the tops die back.

  • Sue Sheppard

    Shallots have “heads” on them
    Looks like more onions growing on top of the green stem. Are these ‘seeds’?
    Can I plant those in the ground to produce more shallots?
    Sue in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

  • Karina

    Hi Kenny! Love this site. I was just told by a Canadian farmer yesterday that in the spring you should lightly circle your finger around the shallot plant to remove some dirt every week, until just the roots are still in tact and firmly rooted. This results in huge shallot bulbs. This farmers neighbor was harvesting very large bulbs in comparison to hers, so she finally asked her “why are your bulbs so large compared to mine, I’ve planted the same way as you”? I guess her response was what I mentioned above, so she tried it the following year and it was true. Have you ever heard of this? Any here in your forum try this? Result?

  • Kenny Point

    Thanks Karina… I have never heard of that technique for cultivating shallots but I will give it a try next season and see what kind of results I get. If it works I’ll follow up with a post and pictures. Thanks for sharing the tip!

  • Greg


    I pulled up my ambition shallot and it was mature, but in just one piece, not several. Since there is nothing to break apart for replanting does this type reproduce from seed only?


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  • Bob Paul

    Hey Kenny,
    First time with shallots in my garden. I noticed they produce a scape like the garlic I grow. Is is best to leave them or clip them off as I do with my garlic?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Bob, I never get scapes from my shallots, only the garlic plants but I would clip them and maybe leave just one to watch how it grows and what impact it has on the plant. Let us know what you discover, thanks!

  • Karina

    Hi Kenny! I planted the Madeley and Rampicante Squash. Thank you so much!
    Bob, I was going to ask the same thing. I’m noticing flower buds not yet opened on my Potatoe onion and shallots. First time growing both and wondering if I should clip them off like my garlic.
    Also, I have 5 varieties of garlic growing there are 2 varieties that gave me scales I’m still waiting on the others. Is that normal?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Karina, hope the kale and squash both do well for you. Some of the garlic varieties take longer to produce the scapes and the softneck garlics do not produce scapes at all, that is why they can be braided. Do you know if any of your garlic were the softneck types?

  • Susan Rubendall

    Some time ago I wrote with a question about shallots. For two years, I had planted them in Earth Boxes with little success. They did not grow well, and many rotted before they were harvested.

    With the help of some information from Kitchen Garden Seeds and some experimentation, I believe the problem has been solved.
    1. Kitchen Garden suggested planting the shallot bulbs much earlier than I had previously. They said they need cold weather for the bulbs to grow well. So this year, I planted them the first of April rather than the first of May. (I live in northern Illinois.)
    2. Somewhere I read that mulch should be pulled back as the shallots grow and water should be limited. So after two months of growth, I cut away the covering that is used on Earth Boxes and am reducing the amount of water in the container.
    The shallots are looking much, much better. I pulled one bunch yesterday and used them for dinner. They were very firm. I’ll wait for another month before harvesting the rest of them, but I think I now have a good plan.

  • Bob

    Hello Kenny,
    Scape would be the wrong term. More like a onion seed pod. Been clipping scapes off my garlic for the last week. Great in stir fries.
    Thanks, I’ll let you know how the shallots turn out. It’s been so wet and cold here in Spokane, I’m surprised anything is growing.

  • Jimmy

    Hi all, i m from Asean.

    Can shallot be planted in Malaysia? And how i know when the shallots are ready to harvest?

  • Jan Pearson

    I used shallots for the first time and feel in love with them, wow what amazing flavor. I put some of the cloves in pots and they are now about 5-6 inches tall. I picked one of the leaves and it tasted wonderful. My question is, if I cut the green tops to use will that affect the growth of the bulb, and if so what if I only pick a few leaves from each plant? And I planted about 3 weeks ago and am in San Jose CA. Did I plant to late ‘cuz if they aren’t going to produce new bulbs then I just eat the tops and plant more at the appropriate time. Thanks!

  • Cala

    Any ideas why my shallots didn’t split (I only got one shallot out for each clove I put in)? We had to pull them a little early due to an overwhelming weed problem that took over while we were away on vacation. (as we weeded, the shallots all came loose and the tops were very floppy) Could it be that the weeds prevented the shallots from fully establishing? We planted these in the spring, and plan to do another round of overwintering shallots this fall, along with some garlic! I was really hoping for a better yield! Incidentally, we’re zone 6a. Thanks.

  • Kenny Point

    Cala, it sounds like your shallots didn’t have a long enough growing season to fully mature and the weed compitition probably didn’t help either. You can replant the shallots that didn’t split. I think that you will get better results from a fall planting of shallots and garlic in your region. Good luck!

  • Cala

    Thanks Kenny! I’m already planning a fall planting!

  • Jac

    I am having a problem with voles in my garden. They have been eating the leeks, and the shallots are in the next row. My shallots are looking good – big multiple bulbs at the bottom, but the leaves are still green.
    Can I take them up before they turn brown? What is the downside of this ?
    I may have to act very soon…

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Jac, maybe the voles prefer the leeks and won’t bother the shallots but it might be best to go ahead and harvest the shallots now if you think that they are next in line to be eaten by the voles. You can harvest and use them before the tops die back. The only downside that I can think of is that they will not be as large and they may not store as well as if they were fully matured. You can also set mouse traps baited with peanut butter inside the vole runs and cover them if you would like to trap the critters before they do any more damage.

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