All About Growing Shallots

Fine-flavored shallots can keep in storage for months, and growing shallots is easy. Whether you plant shallot cloves in fall or shallot seedlings in spring, by late summer you will be harvesting shallots. This guide includes descriptions of several types of shallots you can grow in your garden.


| December 6, 2013



All About Growing Shallots

Like dishes packed with oniony-garlicky flavors? Grow shallots! This crop keeps for months, too, so you can continue enjoying its flavors in your winter soups and casseroles.


Illustration By Keith Ward

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

Famous for their delicate onion flavor with a hint of garlic, shallots earn their place in homestead gardens because they are such a great storage crop, with their ability to keep for six months or more. Growing shallots can begin with small bulbs or cloves, planted like garlic, or you can try growing shallots as annuals by starting seeds indoors in late winter. Productive and carefree after they’re established, shallots require moist, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

Types of Shallots

Red shallots produce clusters of plump, teardrop-shaped onions with red skins and faint red rings inside. Popular red shallot varieties such as ‘French Red’ and ‘Holland Red’ are sold as cloves, or you can start ‘Camelot,’ or ‘Conservor’ (both hybrid varieties) from seed.

Gold shallots are similar to red shallots, but with tan or copper-colored skins covering yellow-tinted bulbs. Seed-sown varieties such as ‘Ambition’ and ‘Saffron’ (both hybrids) are the longest-storing onion-type crop you can grow. 

Gray shallots are upright plants that produce elongated shallot bulbs at the base of each stem. Gray shallots have a shorter dormancy period compared with other shallots, so they are the preferred type for planting in fall.

How to Plant Shallots

Fall planting works well when growing shallots from cloves that are showing signs of breaking dormancy, or you can wait until first thing in spring. Fall planting is recommended with gray shallots, which often break dormancy in fall.





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