Planting Onions – How to keep your transplants fresh until you plant

I’ve had several readers write to me lately asking me if transplants would be alright shipped across country. They also wanted to know how long the onions would keep.

Another reader did not understand exactly how I succession plant my onions.

I hope to clarify those points in this post.

They Know How to Ship

Companies that specialize in shipping onions — know how to ship in a manner that your onions will get you in perfect condition.  Unless something goes very wrong and unexpected — your transplants will be in great condition when they arrive at your door.

To keep them as good as new until you can plant them here’s what you do:

The minute they arrive at your door

  • remove them from the box;
  • take the rubber bands off the bunches;
  • spread them out so the air can get to them. (I like to spread them out in shallow boxes.)

Keep them out of direct sunlight. I have in the past put mine in the garage, but I prefer to keep them in my mud room/enclosed porch where I can have a fan running 24/7 if the weather is warm enough to make it “stuffy” in my porch.

They Must Have Air

It’s very important that you not leave them packaged or bundled. They’ll rot if you do.

As long as you spread them out so the air can get to them, they’ll be fine until you can plant.

How long will they last in ideal conditions?

As with most things, the sooner you plant — the better.

I usually plant mine within 3 to 8 days after arrival, BUT I’ve had times that a bundle or two didn’t get planted for  a month after arrival. They still looked good and did fine.

How I succession plant onions

I order two shipments two weeks apart — one containing about 800 onions and the other containing about 750 onions.

When my shipment comes I unpackage as explained above.  Then I plant at least 100 onions each day. If all goes well the onions are planted within a week of arrival.

When my second shipment comes I repeat the process.

This year I planted about 250 onions each day.  I still have the last 250 to plant. They arrived Thursday of last week and still look fabulous.

Air circulation

As with so many things in and out of the garden, air circulation is the key to keeping things in good health — including your onion transplants.


Other Posts on Onions:

How to Grow Onions – Especially Bigger Ones

Growing Onions – Determining When you Should Plant

Onions – Those to Enjoy as First Fruits and Those to Store

Onions – Tip – What to Do with the Small Ones

Onions Plants – A Bonus Can be Green onions in Winter

Onions – Why Grow A Lot?

Onions – Starting from Seed is Easy and Economical

Onion Sets – What You Need to Know to Get Better Results

Growing Onions

Bunching Onions – A Perennial Scallion Patch

Onions – More Reasons to Plant

How to Have Garden Onions April thru January

Onion Trivia

Onions – More Reasons To Eat them Fresh

Growing Onions – Problem with Rot


Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.


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