Red, Yellow, Green or Leeks? Choosing Which Variety of Onions to Plant


An onion is an onion, right? Not quite. At Sow Right Seeds, we offer a variety of onion seeds because there is more than just one kind of onion. Each type of onion has its own flavor and is used for different purposes.

Some onions are sweet and can be eaten raw. Others are strong and are best when cooked. 

Which onions do you pickle? Which onions can you caramelize?  Are onions good for you?

We’ll cover the onion varieties that we’ve chosen at Sow Right Seeds, so you’ll know which onions to plant in your garden this year.

Onions in basket

Onions to Plant

Red Creole onions (Allium cepa) have a firm red bulb with a spicy flavor. These are the onions to grow if you want to make pickled onions. They are also delicious in salads, burgers, and sandwiches. 

Like yellow onions, they form big bulbs that can be stored longer term if they are kept dry and cool. 

Use Red Creole onions with fresh Roma Tomatoes and Genovese  Basil for bruschetta. 

Try these in fresh salsa, such as our recipe for Fresh Garden Salsa.

They are also a colorful and flavorful addition to grilled kabobs.

If you could only choose one onion for your garden, our Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion (Allium cepa) is the one. 

Yellow onions are the pillar of the all-important trio for so many cultures. This is the onion to put on the cutting board when the recipe calls for diced onion. 

The Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion grows large sweet yellow onions that can be 1 to 3 pounds each. 

This onion can be used in our Garden Fresh Salsa Recipe

Yellow Sweet Spanish onions are the perfect choice for carmelizing onions. Their flavor is transformed in the slow and long cooking process. Carmelized onions can be added to French onion soup, burgers, and dips.  

What is a bunching onion? 

Bunching onions are a variety of onion that is grown for green onions or scallions. We offer Heshiko Japanese Bunching Onion (Allium fistulosum). This variety doesn’t form a bulb and grows as a clump.

You can succession plant bunching onions to have a continuous crop of green onions all summer.
Bunching onions are also a great choice if you want to grow onions in pots or even indoors. 

Use bunching onions raw in dips, salads, and sandwiches. They are also delicious added on top of casseroles and stir-fries.

Like green onions, leeks don’t grow a bulb. And like other onions, they play an important part in flavoring. 

Leeks can be used in a bouquet garni - a bundle of herbs used to flavor soups and sauces. They have a delicate onion flavor and can be used fresh.

Like bulb onions, leeks have layers. The layers of green leaves turn to white at the roots. Usually, just the white and very lightest green parts are used in recipes calling for leeks. However, the tops can be used to season broths and stews and are removed before serving.

These giant leeks are delicious when gently steamed and sauteed. They can be part of a main dish or a side dish with chicken or fish.

FAQs About Onions

Are Onions Good For You?

Let’s cover this one right away. Besides adding a lot of flavor to your food, onions have some important health benefits. 

Onions are a good source of chromium and vitamin C. They also have fiber.  

Onion consumption has been shown to lower cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and high blood pressure. Onions are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Which makes them great to use in soups for a cold or flu.

Are Leeks Onions?

Leeks are a member of the onion family. Their flavor is milder, and they don't form bulbs. But they are considered an onion.

Leeks vs Green Onions

They look a lot like green onions, but leeks have a much milder flavor. Leeks are also much bigger with a different texture than green onions. Leeks are generally cooked in a recipe where green onions are added at the end of cooking or included as a garnish for color and flavor.

What are Spring Onions?

Spring onions are bulb onions that have been harvested before they develop a full-size bulb. They generally have a milder, sweeter flavor than their mature versions.

Scallions vs Green Onions

Green onions and scallions are the same things with different names. So if you want to have a fresh supply of scallions or green onions, our Japanese bunching onions will be the ones to add to your garden.

Can you grow onions from seed?

Yes! Onions can be grown from seed and the seeds can be saved. So growing your own onions can be a great option.

Are onions vegetables?

Onions are definitely vegetables. So go ahead and count it as part of your daily vegetable serving!

How are onions grown?

Onions are considered a root vegetable and they grow underground except for the green leaves. 

A well-balanced and truly flavorful garden should have a few onions. We hope this overview helps you decide which onions to plant in your garden this year.

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