Growing Onions Vertically On The Windowsill

Growing Onions Vertically On The Windowsill

How nice would it be to just be able to pluck fresh green onions from the soil whenever you need them? Nothing beats fresh onions for your salads, dips or soup. But how can you ensure a supply of fresh onions at hand all the time?

Sure, onions are available all year round from the supermarket, but they are hardly fresh and there’s almost always no way to know for sure where they came from.

Gardeners of course will simply grow them but some simply have problems with available space.

I came across an image of onions grown vertically on the windowsill, using a common 5 Liter PET bottle, which I thought was a practical, space-saving and green way to grow onions. I posted the image on our Facebook Page and a few people asked how it was done…

…and since I was curious myself, I did a bit of research and this is what I found:

STEP 1: You need a planting vessel:

plastic bottles

Step 2: you need to remove the neck of the bottle then cut holes around it. You can use a scissor or a heated metal tool to make the holes. Make sure the holes are just the right for the onion bulbs.


Step 3: fill the bottle with layers of onion sprouts and soil.



Keep adding layers until you reach the top of the container.

Step 4: water it…


Step 5: set it on your windowsill…

onions on windowsill - Copy

And watch daily as your onions grow…


In no time, you’ll have something like this:


So the next time you want to add some garnish to your food, sweet spice to your soup, to whip up a savory dish or to make a nice, crunchy salad, all you’ll need to do is pluck some from your vertical onion garden.

And you don’t even have to worry about storing them.

Wouldn’t this make a great project?



  1. Yes, just wondering how to harvest the onions and also would this work with garlic? I LOVE garlic and use it on everything. (I go through tons of mouthwash and breath mints) Hahahaha!

    • Yes, this method can be used all year round since you’ll be growing the onions indoors (ideally on the windowsill). To harvest the green tops, cut when the leaves reach 6 inches in length. If you want a stronger, more oniony flavor, wait till the leaves mature more and get longer before you cut them. Be sure to cut above the white or lighter colored base of the onion top.

  2. It is real impressive,and I like to try for my self, as I am trying to learn about Hydroponics Gardening.

  3. Silly question I am sure, but are we growing to harvest the green tops or round bulbs which I am guessing are larger or divide? These don’t look like the green onions that are bought at grocery.

    • All onions grow green onions tops. The green onions you buy in the store come from dwarf onions so the bottom doesn’t look like an onion.

      A real onion will give you very large green onion leaves. You’ll find that this type of onion is way better for cooking and salads, not to mention that the yield is higher because you’re not dealing with a dwarf.

  4. If you cut the top off the bottle, then how come the final picture has the top on the bottle? Did you glue it back on?

  5. you are harvesting the green shoots…not the will keep growing more shoot’s..use the green shoots with just about anything that you want onion with..

    That’s MY understanding..that’s what I’ll be doing…lol

  6. 1. No, onion seeds won’t work. The chives are taking up all the energy of the onion, so in a month or so the onion will be all soft and exhausted. So:
    2. You won’t harvest the onions, just the chives.
    3. It’s so much easier to grow onions just in pots or even in small glasses of water. You can try with one or two onions in tiny glasses on the windowsill. Don’t immerse the whole onion in the water, choose a glass that’s small enough so that the onion sits on top of it with just the root end in the water. In a couple of days the roots will grow much longer. Trying it out this way will help you understand how it works and whether or not it’s worth the trouble with the huge bottle for which you also need quite a lot of soil and it’s hard to water without spilling.
    4. Remember that it’s not organic just because it grew on your windowsill. If you use store-bought, chemically processed onions, you can’t get organic chives.
    5. Yes, you can grow them all year round, but be sure to choose a place with lots of sunlight and turn the bottle around several times a day, if you choose to grow them in a bottle, since the ones in the shadow will most definitely get less light.
    6. They are ready to harvest as soon as they grow long enough. Don’t break off all the chives at once, pick just the longest, and you will have many harvests of each onion.
    7. This is NOT a substitute for gardening, since the onions will go rotten after a while, and rotten onions smell putrid.

    • Diana, thank you for the clear information. So many people go off topic and never answer the questions being asked. Thank you for answering!

  7. These actually look more like regular onions, but as I think about it, you could experiment with chives, bunching onions (perrennial variety), or other variety. You might try growing short-day varieties in the winter, and medium to long-day varieties in the summer. Experiment with it and let everyone know what seems to work for you.
    Also, I haven’t see 5liter bottles in ND. I would thing that a gallon-size juice jug should work, too.

  8. I take scallions from the store, cut them back to about 6″ and plant outdoors (I live in a climate that rarely gets below 20 degrees). Then instead of harvesting the whole onion plant or cutting it back, I harvest individual onion ‘leaves’ back to the stalk. I have some that are 3 yrs. old and have gone to seed and then re-sprouted. Many are 2 ft. tall. I look forward to experimenting with other veggies with this concept.

  9. Diane November 17, 2013 at 1:14 am wrote …
    1. onion seeds won’t work. Bulbs will work (hyacinth, muscari, tulips – but bulbs are exhausted, they have to throw out). Colors need more sun to bloom. If it is a lot of upper-parts plant a few early flowers would be nice. If you have not bloom when you throw it, they can be transplanted into a pot or the same cropped bottle.

    With plenty of sunlight early dill, fast-growing shade-tolerant herbs can be used. Cut when the growth will stop. Seed and cut the gap a little bend (crush) the upper part of the incision hole, that little seed was pushed out of the bottle, and the land is not strewed. Sow in facing the sun of the bulb separately from the bow.

    5. A place with plenty of sunlight needed. The rotation of the bottle is not necessary if the shady side mirror fix or foil. With a shortage of dosvechivat, preferably LEDs or “fluorescent light.” Generally bow unpretentious, received less light just grow weaker and lighter.
    5.2. Growing seedlings tomato, pepper when little sun bear in her lunch box to the west after sunset on the east. (South-facing windows I do not). Weekdays stand on the west window returning from work for 2-3 hours.
    Boxes are not rotating, plants do not like it. The southern part of the box is always facing south.

    7. Yes. But it will be ground more slowly than the water in the pot. A rotten onion before others can be thrown out. incise the hole, remove the bulb, fill the hole with earth or crumpled plastic bags. And seal the hole with adhesive tape, so as not sifted earth.

    Forgive syllable and error, this translation Google.

  10. PETERD, Thanks for the article! I read about this method in bags. The plastics in more convenient and aesthetically.

    Falling asleep underground, in the center you can put a bottle of 0.33 liters with bottom and cut slits in the walls of water. Locate the sides cropped just below the neck of the outer bottle to the water when irrigating fell into a small bottle and flowed just above the roots of the bulbs. For the distribution of water to fill it in the same land. (You can probably fine sand. Keramzit too quickly give up the water, the lower the bulbs will always be watered more.)

  11. Summer, with an excess of sun, it is necessary to obscure the contrary. Or use a light (pale), but opaque container.
    Roots should not overheat.
    You can also try white opaque bag or foil between the plastic and the ground. But it would be uncomfortable to sleep. Or light cloth bag with slots on top of the bottle at the neck cloth to collect cord or rubber band. Fabric protects roots from overheating, but if water spills will be ugly.
    Forgive syllable and error, this translation Google.

  12. How do you reconnect with the cap of the bottle to hang it by the window sill. I am not clear about it. Can you please explain. But the idea of growing onions is just fantastic!!!!

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