How to Know When Onions Are Ready to Harvest?

Written by

William Golder


Dorian Goodwin

how to know when onions are ready to harvest

Harvesting at the wrong time can lead to problems. When bulbs are harvested too early, they may become soft, and onions harvested too late may develop post-harvest infections.

Whatever it is, I’m sure you don’t want it to happen, especially if you’re using healthy onions in your recipe or for your health.

That’s why knowing when to pick onions is necessary because it can save you from its worst effects.

So if you want to learn how to know when onions are ready to harvest to have healthy, high-quality onions, read this article!


When Are Onions Ready to Pick?


1. When the neck between the bulb and leaves has no green color left and when it feels soft when touched.

By mid-summer, onions are normally fully mature, which means you should begin closely monitoring your plant and preparing to harvest it shortly.

However, some may have already bloomed and need to get harvested due to variable weather conditions.

So one way to tell whether your onions are ready to be harvested is if the green color of the neck connecting the bulb and the leaves has faded and if it feels soft when touched.

It implies that the inside of the bulb has dried out, and you should harvest it as soon as possible.

Harvesting onions is done when the weather is dry to avoid post-harvest diseases and when the temperature is not too hot, preferably early in the morning, to avoid sunscalds.

2. When the onion tops have flopped into the ground at 90 degrees.


There are many various types of onions that we can grow, but most have the same harvesting signs.

Another sign of how to tell when onions are ready to harvest is when the tops or leaves of the onion have bent over for 90 degrees.

Its change of solidity indicates that the bulb has completed its growth cycle, making now the ideal time to pick it up.

It’s important to note that once this stage arrives, you should pick it up right away to avoid it rotting in the ground.

Here are two options on how to reap onions:

  • Pull the onions using your bare hands. Make sure to pull it gently on the neck instead of the leaves to avoid breaking it off.
  • Pull onions from the ground with a pitchfork or trowel. Place the tool beneath the onion and gently pull it up.

3. When the bulbs fatten up and when the leaves change their color to yellow.


Onions that grow big bulbs like red onions are ready to harvest when their bulb has fattened up. Onions are normally large and round and have the potential to grow up to 6 inches.

By seeing this sign with your bulb, you can harvest it right away.

However, not all onions have the ability to grow large. Shallots, for example, are onions with naturally small bulbs. Onions like this can be difficult to tell if their bulb has reached its maximum growth because they are generally small, so you have to look for other signs.

One way to know when to harvest small onion is when the color of its leaves has turned from green to yellow. It means that it has dried up on the inside.

With onions ready to harvest, you can immediately reap them and prepare them for curing and storage.

4. When the leaves of green onion reach a height of 6 to 8 inches and a diameter of ¼ to ½ inches.


Harvesting green onions is a little bit different from others. Its leaves are being consumed, unlike the others, and are commonly used in making salads, salsas, casseroles, and more.

That is why, when harvesting this variety of onions, we look for the leaves rather than the bulb.

One way to know if your green onion is ready to pick is when its leaves reach a height of 6 to 8 inches.

This height scale indicates that the leaves are not too firm, making them suitable for consumption. When it grows above this specific height range, the risk is that the leaves may become too strong.

Another way is when the diameter is going between ¼ to ½ inches. It indicates that the leaves have a good flavor and texture when eaten, making it the ideal time to harvest.

Also, typically, after nearly 70 days after being planted, gree onions can be harvested.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long do onions take to grow?

Onion takes 100-120 days to grow, while green onions only take 65-70 days to mature after planting their seed.

It’s important to search for signs that they’re ready to harvest throughout these range days to prevent untimely harvesting.

How to store onions from the garden?

  • Cut the neck of the bulb that attaches it to the leaves.
  • Put the onions in a basket, net bags, or any container with holes for proper airflow.

It’s also worth noting that while storing onions, make sure they’re kept dry and out of direct sunlight.

How to cure onions?

  •  In dry weather, leave the onions in the soil for 1 to 2 days.
  • If the weather is wet, you can also place the onions on the ground in a covered garage.
  • Arrange the onions in a single layer with enough space between them.
  • Allow 2 to 3 weeks for drying.
  • Trim the roots once the bulb’s neck and stem have dried up.
  • Once the curing is complete, prepare them for storage.


We all know that giving your onions the proper care they need will help them develop beautifully and healthily.

But having the proper knowledge on how to know when onions are ready to harvest will help you avoid wasting onions, time, and resources in the process of growing them.

Once again, a change in the firmness and color of the neck and leaves, a big shift in the onion bulb size, and an onion leaf development are signals that it’s time to pluck your onions.

Hopefully, you find this article helpful. Thank you!

Furthermore, each type of vegetable has a different harvest and storage time, explore the following articles to learn more:

5/5 - (3 votes)