How to Grow Shallots from Seeds


  • Sowing Instructions (Indoors)
  • How to Transplant
  • Sowing Instructions (Outside)
  • Crop Maintenance
  • How to Harvest
  • Storage
  • Pests & Diseases

Sowing Instructions (Indoors)

  • Shallots can be started from seeds or bulb sets
  • Sowing Time: Seeds can be sown under glass in late winter & early spring
  • Sowing Location: In 3 inch pots or in seed trays, two seeds per tray cell, thin to one later
  • Sow using a general potting compost and perlite mix at 3:1
  • Water soil well before sowing, and keep pots or trays moist at all times

How to Transplant

  • Transplant outdoors from mid March onwards once the seedlings are large enough to handle
  • Space seedlings 10 to 15cm apart in rows 20cm apart

Sowing Instructions (Outdoors)

  • Shallots are hardy
  • Sowing Time: Mostly sown outdoors from February to March for a late summer harvest
  • The variety Matador can be sown in autumn & over wintered
  • Over wintered & early sown shallots should be protected using a garden cloche and should be planted in a sheltered location
  • Sowing Location: A sunny site
  • Soil: A free draining and light soil is most suitable
  • Dig & manure your soil the previous autumn if possible
  • Make sure to remove any stones, weeds & weed roots while preparing soil
  • Lightly rake growing area and then prepare drills
  • Prepaing the drill: Create a drill 1cm deep, sow seeds thinly or 3 or 4 every 15 cm
  • Lightly press seeds into the base of this drill, close drill with soil & water well

Crop Maintenance

  • Before sowing it is recommended that you add a general fertiliser such as growmore or poultry manure
  • Thin seedlings once they have developed 2 leaves
  • Dispose of all thinnings to avoid attracting the onion fly
  • Spacing is important. Close spacing for smaller onions and wider spacing for larger shallots
  • Keep shallots watered
  • Weed regularly


  • Shallots are different from onions in that one shallot blub will split into many similar sized bulbs while an onion bulb will just grow larger without splitting
  • Wait for foliage to turn yellow and begin to die back
  • Water well one week before harvesting
  • Use a garden fork to lift the bulbs from the soil to break the roots
  • The following week, harvest crops by pulling from soil
  • Like onions: On a dry day place your shallots out in the sun
  • Depending on the size of your shallots and weather conditions it can take up to 4 weeks for them to dry


  • For short term storage place in your fridge
  • Can be stored for up to 7 months in a cool dry place, where humidity is low

Pests and Disease

  • Susceptible to bolting, where the shallot rushes to produce a flower in dry weather
  • Onion Fly: Not common, but can cause severe damage to crops
  • Notice by crops turning yellow and witling early
  • Cause: The onion fly lays eggs and the larve from these eggs burrow into bulbs

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