Top 7 Onion Growing Problems – What Is The Solution?

Onions have become an indispensable ingredient in many dishes of every family. Onions are also becoming more and more popular to grow in every garden or front yard styrofoam.

Onions are relatively easy to grow, easy to care for, cost-effective, and do not have to take too much effort to care for. However, onions are like any other crop, they also have common problems that need to be addressed in each stage.

Therefore, you also need to have basic knowledge about the process of growing and caring for onions. Learn about onion growing problems and how to fix them when growing onions for the best yield and quality.

Onion Growing Problems And How To Fix Them

During the process of growing and caring for onions, you will likely encounter many problems. In particular, some common problems that you may face such as slow-growing onion plants, stunting, leaf discoloration, pests and diseases, yellow leaves, wilted onion plants, deformed onions, and rotting.

1. Onions Do Not Grow Or Grow Slowly And Stunted

One of the reasons why onion plants do not grow, develop poorly, and are stunted is due to the selection of onion varieties.

When choosing any type of plant, you also need to consider factors that are suitable for the soil and climate where you live. The same goes for onions, you also need to choose the right onion variety that is suitable for the pH of the soil and the climate.

Soil and climate conditions will create favorable conditions for onions to grow and resist pests according to the crop of each area. So, if your onions are not growing, you should check the seed information to make the most accurate selection.

Also, another factor related to onion seeds is whether you grow onions from seeds, sets, or transplants?

  • Onions are grown from seed often have the most problems from seed incubation, planting in the ground, soil drainage, watering, light, temperature, etc.
  • Onions grown from the set usually have fewer problems because of their vitality and ability to adapt to the outside environment.
  • Onions grown by transplant will also have fewer problems and be more tolerant.

2. Onions Do Not Sprout

Maggots are one of the most common causes of onions not sprouting. The fly maggots will infest the onion plant in the following way they lay eggs on the base of the onion plant, the eggs hatch into maggots, which then attach themselves to the stem of the onion, and carry out the infestation.

This process happens quite quickly so you need to observe and remove the onion plants that are at risk from sprouting, wilting, drooping leaves, and dead plants.

Currently, scientists have not found any chemical treatment to destroy the growth of this fly maggot. Therefore, it is best to remove infected plants to avoid spreading to other plants.

3. Onions Turn Yellow

Onions turn yellow can stem from many causes such as too little water, too much water, poor soil nutrients, pH imbalance, distance, etc. You need to observe and find the causes early to fix them before the onion dies.

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Too little or too much water: Overwatering or too little water will also cause onion leaves to turn yellow. To determine if an onion plant is under or overwatered, simply determine the moisture in the soil and water them as needed.

Lack of nutrients: Onion leaves will also turn yellow at the same time if the onion plants are not getting the nutrients they need. If the nutritional deficiency is related to manganese, the onion leaves will rot, turn yellow and curl.

The tips of the leaves can be burned and the onion plant is very slow-growing and stunted. The solution to this situation is to mix high-quality fertilizers and organic fertilizers into the soil early in the season.

You should use a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content to promote the growth of young onion plants. An important note is that you should not apply too much fertilizer at one time because the onion plant will not be able to absorb nutrients and will die.

pH imbalance: A pH imbalance in acidity and alkalinity will also cause onions to change the color of leaves and be stunted. If the pH level in the soil is too high, it will prevent the onion plants from absorbing nutrients even though they are available in the soil.

The solution to overcome this situation is to balance the pH in the soil. If the pH is too high, you can improve the soil using sulfur or organic matter such as leaf compost, straw, or sawdust to lower the pH and increase the acidity. You can also increase the acidity by using ammonium sulfate.

If the pH is too low, you can mix wood ash or add lime (calcium carbonate) to make the soil more alkaline. Adjusting your soil’s pH takes time, so you’ll need to make several adjustments to get the right results.

Too thick spacing: Too much spacing between onion plants will also prevent them from absorbing enough nutrients resulting in stunting and underdevelopment. To overcome this situation, you should place the onions at least 4-5 inches apart, about 10-12cm. Row spacing is 12-18 inches about 30-45cm.

In addition, you need to control the porosity of the soil to create a favorable environment for onions to grow because the soil is too sticky and tight will prevent the onion from increasing in size, leading to stunting and deformity.

Read more: Cut Onion Tops While Growing – The Truth Will Surprise You

4. Fungal Diseases Of Onions

White fungal disease is one of the most common diseases that you can encounter in the process of growing onions. This is a disease caused by fungal spores that can live in the soil for up to 15 years.

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This disease causes white fungus to cover the roots of onion plants and cause the onion plants to gradually wilt, turn yellow and die. If your onion is attacked by this fungus, it is very difficult to save the onion plant.

You need to remove infected onion plants immediately by destroying or drying them for burning. If you accidentally throw them in another area of ​​soil, the white fungus will spread into the soil and continue to cause disease in other crops.

In addition to white fungal disease, onion plants also face many other fungi such as rust, powdery mildew, pus disease, white leaves, and downy mildew. Fungal diseases will cause onions to turn bright brown or yellow.

The cause of this situation is because the weather is too warm or too wet, the onion leaves are always in a state of water, which leads to favorable conditions for fungi to grow and harm onion plants.

In addition, onions are susceptible to fungal diseases if the nitrogen concentration is too high in the soil. To fix this situation, you can apply some methods as follows:

  • Do not water regularly on onion leaves, avoid dampness, creating favorable conditions for fungi to grow on leaves
  • Fertilizers with the high potassium content
  • Use a fungicide spray to kill a large area
  • Regularly clean and improve the soil after each crop

5. Withered Onions And Silver Leaves

One of the causes of onion leaves wilting and blight is thrips. Thrips are small in size and large in number, making them difficult to detect and remove. They often eat the undersides of onion leaves and cause them to wilt and blight.

If you do not detect and treat thrips early, they will spread throughout the stem of the onion and cause the plant to slowly die. To get rid of this type of thrips, you need to use an insecticide according to the instructions.

In addition, earthworms are also a cause of onion wilting, breaking the onion stem, and eating all the leaves. They often hide in the soil and often eat the stems at night, causing the onions to quickly die.

To kill this type of earthworm, you should put a piece of cardboard or straw to create a gap between the onion plant and the soil making it difficult for the earthworm to crawl up and eat the stem. Alternatively, you can catch the worms or use a chemical insecticide or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), natural bacteria to kill various pests.

6. Extreme Weather Conditions Cause Mass Onion Deaths

Temperatures that are too high or too low are also one of the leading causes of onion death. Onions are very sensitive to extreme temperatures such as extreme heat or cold.

When the temperature drops to -5 degrees C about 23 degrees F, the young onions will become soggy and die. To control the temperature problem, you need to use a canopy to reduce direct sunlight and cover with hummus or wet straw to keep the onions moist.

If the temperature is cold, cover to prevent frost, cover with dry straw to keep onions warm. Awnings are also effective to block wind and heavy rain from affecting onions.

7. Onions Do Not Produce Tubers And Rot

Onion does not produce bulbs is the phenomenon of onion plants flower and sprout. This phenomenon is less common with onions grown from seed but more often with onions grown in sets (40%) because young shoots from onions will easily grow when conditions are favorable.

In addition, onions often suffer from a rotting disease due to soil-related problems. If the soil does not drain well, it will lead to rotting onions due to the soil being too wet and sticky.

Poorly drained soil also leads to stunted growth and the gradual death of plants. To overcome this situation, you should water in the morning, check the moisture in the soil before watering, and do not water at night to limit moisture in the soil.


As with any plant, you can experience many common problems throughout the growing and caring process. Onions are the same, they often suffer from many common problems such as failure to sprout, yellow leaves, dying plants, wilting leaves, discoloration, rotting bulbs, lack of nutrients, fungi, pests, or poorly drained soil.

To overcome these conditions, you need to consult the basic knowledge about each cause as well as use seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides to correct this problem.

Don’t forget to join us to come up with useful solutions in the process of growing onions to enjoy big and delicious onions together.

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