Planting & Growing Shallots

By on June 02, 2009

Shallots are a tasty addition to any dish


Shallots are very tolerant and can be grown in acidic soil down to 5 pH, but prefer 6.0-6.8 pH. Plant in fertile, well-drained soil. The looser the composition of the soil, the larger your shallots will grow. Prepare your shallot bed by turning under or tilling in compost (be sure to use compost that is fully aerobically broken down and contains animal manures and plant residues, rather than cedar or redwood). Make sure your soil has ample phosphorus. Gophers love shallots as much as they like garlic; protect your beds with gopher wire or baskets.

Planting & Growing

Shallots are planted from bulbs, rather than cloves like garlic. Shallots should be spring planted in very cold areas. Separate multiple bulbs and plant each individual bulb, root end down. Space 6”-8” apart with 10”-12” between rows. Plant just deep enough so that the tip lies level with the soil surface. Unlike garlic, which forms a bulb from a clove, shallots will form a cluster of 5-12 bulbs around the original bulb. This cluster will spread out more than a garlic bulb and therefore requires more space between plants. Do not use mulch as it may rot bulbs, which are not strong enough to push through mulch. After planting shallots, water well or lightly in heavy soils, and only water again when the soil is dry.

Remember, shallots love water and food, but they must have good drainage or the bulbs will rot. In the spring, feed the shallots with either composted manure or a well-balanced fertilizer before the bulbs begin to enlarge. Keep the bulbs well watered and weeded; they grow best with at least 1” of water per week. Remove any seed stalks that form to focus the shallots’ energy into forming bulbs.

  Comments (3)


My French Red shallots are a good size, but most bolted. I cut off the flowers as soon as I saw them, and have been harvesting a few each week. The talk from the flowers does not seem to dying down. Should I keep waiting or try to remove the stall at the root?

Posted by Nan on Jul. 05, 2017 at 7:18:25 PM

Nan, you can leave the flower stalk, if the other stalks are dying, you can just fold over the flower stalk.

Posted by Suzanne at on Jul. 06, 2017 at 10:09:17 AM


Most of my red shallots bolted this year, but I still got a very good yield.  I cut the tips off the flower stalks as soon as I saw them and then just left them alone.  I have read that bolted shallots do not store as well, so we will see.  I cured them for 4 weeks on a wire mesh before putting them in mesh bags.

Posted by Jim on Aug. 12, 2017 at 9:28:39 AM

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