6 Onion Growing Stages

6 Onion Growing Stages
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The vegetable, onion, can be cultivated in pots or in the garden.

Onions are food crops with shallow roots; therefore, they require sufficient drainage.

Onion bulbs are planted and harvested in late spring or early summer. Organically rich, well-drained soil is ideal.

6 Onion Growing Stages

The six onion-growing stages are:

  • Germination
  • Seedling
  • Vegetative
  • Bulb Formation
  • Maturation
  • Harvesting.

 Stage 1: Germination 

The stage where an onion seed develops into a new onion plant is referred to as the germination stage of the onion.

This occurs as the embryo consumes the seed’s outer layer as it begins its development. As soon as it begins to grow, the embryo will initiate the production of both a root system and a shoot system.

The root system will grow down into the soil, while the shoot system will develop upward toward the surface.

As soon as it reaches the plant’s surface, the shoot system will initiate the photosynthesizing process to produce food for the plant.

There is a wide range of possible germination times for onions, ranging from a few days to a few weeks.

The amount of time it takes can be affected by several factors, including temperature, humidity, and soil type.

Stage 2: Seedling

planting young green onion seedlings in a trench

The onion’s life cycle can be broken down into several phases, beginning at the seedlings stage.

During this stage, the onion plant will develop from a tiny seed into a small plant that is green in colour. It now needs adequate drainage.

The onion plant will continue to grow steadily, and you must water and fertilize it frequently to ensure it will thrive.

As a result, it is essential to provide enough water and nutrients to plants at every stage of the seedling stage.

If an onion plant does not receive sufficient water or nutrients, it will not grow to its full height, and it may not even be able to produce a large bulb at all.

When an onion seedling has several sets of true leaves or leaves that resemble the shape of a mature plant, we can say that it is well-established in the soil. After that, the growth process advances to the next stage, which is the bulbing stage.

Stage 3: Vegetative Stage

The vegetative stage begins when the seedlings poke their heads out of the soil and continue until the plants form bulbs. It ends when the plants have matured to the point where they can be harvested.

During this period, the plants develop rapidly and establish their fundamental framework.

Onion plants require a substantial amount of water and nutrients to achieve a large and robust size during the vegetative stage.

A lack of nutrients or water may impede their growth, resulting in lower yields.

It is essential to leave enough space between onion plants while in the vegetative stage because onion plants require much room to expand.

If you plant them too closely together, their growth will be stunted, and the onions they produce will be on the smaller side.

The length of time an onion spends in its vegetative stage can vary greatly depending on the type of onion plant that it came from. Some plants might not reach full maturity for several months, while others might be ready to bulb in just a few short weeks.

Once onion plants have entered the vegetative stage, the right conditions need to be provided for them to continue their growth. It also requires abundant sunlight, fertilizer, and water to succeed.

If these essentials are not provided, the onion crop may not mature properly, resulting in smaller bulbs and lower yields.

Stage 4: Bulb Formation Stage

As soon as the onion reaches the bulb formation stage, the very tip of the stem will start to develop into a miniature bulb. The growth of this bulb will continue up until the point where it is ready to be harvested.

The onion will start to produce new onions just below the surface of the soil at this time. The fresh onions that are currently growing will continue to mature until they, too, are ready to be harvested.

It is essential to remember that not all onions will develop into bulbous plants as they mature. Some onions grow into a single large bulb, in contrast to others that produce a greater number of smaller bulbs.

The two most important factors are the type of onion used and the conditions in which it is grown.

If you are growing your onions, you should monitor their progress as they form their bulbs. When the onions are ready to be harvested, you should do so as soon as possible; if not, there is a chance that they will begin to rot.

Even though onion bulbs can be kept in storage for several months, it is best to use them as soon as possible after they have been harvested.

Stage 5: Maturation Stage

It is considered mature when the onion has reached the end of its life cycle, and all of its leaves have withered and turned brown. When the onion starts to enter its reproductive phase, as indicated by the development of a flower stalk, you will first notice it turning green.

During the dry, hot, and dry period before onion maturation, the onion plant will shed its outermost leaves to prevent excessive water loss.

As summer draws to a close, the lengthening days cause onions to mature, which in turn causes the bulb to “store carbohydrates for the plant” rather than producing leaves for growth. This occurs because the onion develops in response to the lengthening days.

After some time, the onion tops will droop and begin to appear like straws. Occasionally, they will take on a purplish cast.

It is at its peak quality when the neck of the onion has wholly formed but is still flexible enough to bend without cracking.

Green Onions Growing in Field
Green Onions Growing in Field

Stage 6: Harvesting Stage

As soon as the onions mature enough to be gathered, it is time to start harvesting.

There are a few different approaches to this task, but the most used one is, with a digging fork, to loosen the soil around the onions and then manually pull the onions out of the ground using your hands.

To prevent the onions from being harmed in any way, you must proceed with extreme caution while harvesting.

The harvesting of onions can also be done with a shovel or a spade. You can cut them off at the ground with a shovel or a spade or dig down and lift them with a shovel.

Leave an adequate amount of the stalk attached to the onion after peeling it in any method you choose; this will ensure that the onion retains its shape.

Man holding harvested onion

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Final Thoughts on 6 Onion Growing Stages  

If you follow the above six stages carefully, you can not go wrong! 

Remember, once the onions have been harvested, they need to be cured for a few weeks before being used.

By doing this, the onion will keep its rigidity even after being stored, making it much easier to handle.

Happy Gardening!  

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Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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