Buy shallot sets certified as virus-free for a fantastic addition to your kitchen garden. Grow these super-tasty varieties to add flavour to salads and stir-fries. With a similar makeup to onions, shallots are often referred to as the 'rich man's onion'.

Shallots FAQs

Offering a sweet, tangy taste sensation, shallots are easy to grow when you know how. To help you get off to a great start with your purchases, our horticultural team has provided answers to your shallot-related FAQs.

When should you plant shallots?

If you’re growing from seed, you really need your young shallots to be growing strongly by early spring to give them time to develop and grow to maturity in time to harvest. Start your seeds off indoors in February or March, or direct sow outdoors in April or May.

Shallot sets – small bulbs – are a convenient and hassle-free way to grow shallots. Some sets are suitable for autumn-planting while spring-planting varieties are best planted in March or April.

How to plant shallot sets

Before you plant your sets, prepare the soil by adding plenty of organic matter during the winter, plus a potassium-rich fertiliser if necessary. Shallots don’t tolerate acid soils too well; if your soil has a pH of less than 6.5, consider adding some lime during the winter. Shallots are prone to rotting in waterlogged soils, so make sure you plant them somewhere free-draining or, failing that, into raised beds. When it’s time to plant, simply dig a small hole and pop your sets into the ground so that just the tip shows, leaving about 6-8” between sets and 1-1.5’ between rows. For more information, see the shallots section in our vegetable planting guide.

How many shallots do you get from one bulb?

When you plant shallot sets, these multiply, giving you a harvest of between four and a dozen shallots per set, depending on the variety and growing conditions. When you grow shallots from seed, one seed yields one bulb.

How long does it take to grow shallots from sets?

Sets planted in the spring will be ready in mid to late-summer, weather depending. For autumn-planted shallots, the typical maturation time is 36 weeks.