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Shallots (Allium cepa var. Ascalonicum) are the fine relatives of the onions. Like the onions, shallots belong to the Amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae). Unlike onions, shallots are less spicy in flavor and easier to cultivate. That they are more elaborate to peel than their big relatives, gardeners like the sweet-spicy shallots, which are commonly considered the finest onions, gladly accepted.
Their alternative name "family onion" indicates the characteristic that the individual onions quickly grow together into a group and form an "onion family".

Appearance and growth

Shallots are thanks to their storage organ, the onion, perennial vegetables. Around the main onions of shallots, horsts of small, red or yellow-brown onions develop rapidly, which grow together at the bottom. In summer, five to seven new shallot bulbs can be formed. The Onion is up to 20 inches high and unlike kitchen onions does not tend to shoot.


Shallots quickly form small groups of onions and are therefore also called "family onions"

Location and ground

In cultivation, shallots require a sunny and warm location as well as a loose, well-drained and humus-rich soil. The warmer and sunnier the planting ground, the more daughter onions are formed.

Crop rotation and mixed culture

As with other onions, carrots and lettuce are good neighbors, but bad ones are all types of cabbage and beans.


As shallots in the local climate almost never form inflorescences and the seeds therefore do not ripen, they are usually propagated vegetatively over daughter onions. The seeds with shallot seeds, which are commercially available, are not pure shellfish seeds, but are seeds derived from crosses between onions and shallots.
In winegrowing regions and mild areas, you can put shallots already in early October. Elsewhere, planting is recommended from March or April, as soon as the temperature no longer drops below -5 degrees Celsius. Generally, the planting time for shallots is earlier than for onions, as the fine onion does not tend to shoot. Prepare the soil for planting by loosening it with a sow tooth and possibly enriching it with compost. When planting the shallots, grasp on as large onions as possible. Stick the bulbs on a row distance of 25 centimeters and a distance in the row of 15 to 20 centimeters. Otherwise, the plants hinder each other from growing. Make sure that when cutting onions, the tips just barely look out of the ground, the planting depth is usually about five centimeters.

Plant shallots

Stick the shallots so deep that the tips just barely peek out


So that the roots of the bulbs can grow well, the soil should always be well loosened. After putting the onions into the soil, you should once provide the plants with compost, which you can then rake into the bed. In the course of growth, it is important to continue loosening the soil and keeping it free of weeds, so that the near-surface root system gets a lot of air. Regular watering especially until the end of onion formation in late June / early July will further the growth.

Harvest and recovery

Once the foliage has withered, you can harvest shallots. This is usually the case in early July. Leave the bulbs on the bed for a day or two after removing them from the soil so that the foliage can dry well. Then you should let the shallots dry in an airy place until the leaves rustle. The larger onions can be used in the kitchen as a salad, steamed or raw. The small onions can be kept for the coming year. Shallots are generally very storable, even better than onions. Store the onions in a light and dry place, such as the loft or boiler room, at temperatures around 12 degrees Celsius.

By the way: You can use not only the onions themselves, but also the leaves of shallots such as chives. The fine and aromatic taste refines salads, quark dishes, vegetables or meat dishes.


Shallots are dried before they are used in the kitchen

variety Tips

The varieties of shallots differ in the color, shape and shelf life of the onions. There are yellow, gray and pink to copper colored varieties. A proven Austrian variety is for example 'Laaer Rosa Lotte', 'Red Sun' is a red -shelled shallot variety. The shallot variety 'Tosca' has a golden shell and a mild taste.


Shallots can vegetate vegetatively over the insertion of daughter onions.

Diseases and pests

Shallots are more robust than kitchen onions.Sometimes the onion fly and the onion chicken emerge as pests. Furthermore, the diseases downy mildew and gray mold can infest the plant. As a precautionary measure, you should follow a four-year cultivation pause between all bulbous plants and stick only healthy onions in the spring. Covering the beds with vegetable nets can also protect against infestation.

Video Board: Onions Vs. Shallots: What's the Difference?.

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