All You Need To Know About Growing Leeks
You want to grow leeks in your garden or on your balcony and want to get some additional information in this regard?
Great! Stick with me since I will answer various questions about growing leeks at home in the following FAQ section.
Table of Contents
Time & Duration
When to grow leeks from seed?
Since leeks grow well with cool weather, the best time to grow leeks from seed is spring or fall.
However, if you plant leeks in spring, make sure that you wait until the last spring frost is over and if you plant leeks in fall, make sure to do it early enough so that you can harvest leeks before strong winter frost arrives.
Does leek grow year-round?
While you can grow leeks year-round, you will still not get the same results when growing it during warm summer months compared to spring or fall since you will not be able to provide the right climatic conditions in most moderate climatic zones of our planet.
Thus, I suggest you just grow leeks during the main season in spring and fall and grow other plants during the off-season of leeks in summer instead.
Does leek grow fast?
Leek takes quite long to grow from seed to harvest. In fact, it will take you between 4 and 6 months to grow leeks from sowing to harvest and this is more than for most other garden vegetables.
Hence, if you are a rather impatient person, you might want to grow carrots or other vegetables with much shorter growing durations instead of leeks.
How long does it take to grow leeks?
While gardening experts are often able to grow leeks within 130 days, it can take unexperienced gardeners up to 200 days to grow leeks from seed since people who are new to gardening make more mistakes and those mistakes will often significantly impact the growth of your plants.
Does leek grow back every year?
Once leek is harvested, it will not grow back.
Thus, if you want to get leek yields for many years to come, you will have to plant new seeds every year and you should not expect your leek plants to grow back at all.
How long do leek plants live?
If you grow leeks in spring, they will usually be ready to harvest in fall.
Therefore, your plants will live around 6 months if you harvest leeks in time.
However, if you don’t harvest leeks and just wait until they decay naturally, leek plants can live up to 10 months until really strong winter frost hits.
How long does it take until leeks flowers?
It will often take quite long until leeks flowers. In fact, most leek varieties only flower in the second year and until then, you will often have already harvested your leek plants.
Thus, you will often not see any flowers on your leek plants and this is not a problem at all if you don’t want to save seeds and just want to enjoy the plant material.
Can you grow leeks in fall?
Growing leeks in fall is perfectly fine if you live in a climatic zone where winters are relatively mild and temperatures usually don’t fall below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Leeks can tolerate some frost and if it doesn’t get too cold, you will still be able to start growing leek in fall and harvest it in winter.
Can you grow leeks in winter?
While growing leeks in winter is possible in theory, it is still problematic in practice since small leek plants are rather sensitive to the cold and also germination rates may be quite poor.
Hence, I suggest you start growing leeks in spring or fall instead of winter.
Location & Climate
Will leeks grow in shade?
While leek grows well with cool climatic conditions, it will not grow that well in complete shade.
Consequently, make sure that you choose a spot around your home where leek plants get at least a few hours of sunlight every day so that they can grow in a decent manner.
Will leeks grow in partial shade?
Leeks grow well in partial shade. In fact, half-shady environments are perfect for growing leeks since your plants will get a good mix of sun and shade and you will not have to worry about excessive sunlight or radiation that may hurt leek plants in the long run.
Does leek grow best in full sun?
Full sun is not a good environment to grow leeks since your plants will be exposed to the heat for too long and your leek plants may not grow well.
Hence, instead of growing leeks in full sun, choose a partially shady site in your garden so that your plants are protected from excessive sun exposure.
Will leeks tolerate frost?
While leek is quite resistant to frost, you should still not grow leeks outdoors in extremely cold climates.
Leeks will usually tolerate frost if temperatures don’t drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
If it gets colder in your region, you should take some protective measures or grow leeks in a greenhouse.
Do you have to protect leeks from the sun?
There is no need to actively protect leeks from the sun.
However, you should still choose a spot in your garden or on your balcony where leek plants are not exposed to full sun but rather get a healthy mix of sun and shade so that your plants can grow well and don’t suffer from too much heat.
How much space do you need to grow leeks?
Since leeks will not grow big in the horizontal, it will be enough to provide each leek plant with around one square foot of space.
Consequently, if you have a big garden, you can grow many leek plants and can supply not only yourself, but also your family and friends with delicious leeks.
Will leeks grow indoors?
Leek likes cool climatic conditions and it is therefore not recommendable to grow it indoors since it will just be too warm inside your four walls.
Thus, instead of growing leeks indoors, make sure to choose a nice spot in your garden where your leek plants will usually grow much better.
Can you grow leeks without a garden or balcony?
If you don’t have a balcony or a garden to grow leeks, your only option to grow it would be indoors.
However, growing leeks indoors is problematic since you will just not be able to provide natural growing conditions and your plants would also take away quite a lot of space from you.
Hence, I recommend you wait with growing leeks until you move to a place where you have access to an outdoor space to grow leeks in.
Can you grow leeks in small flats?
Growing leeks and other plants in small flats is not a good idea at all since your plants would just take away lots of precious space from you which you will no longer be able to use for storing your stuff and to enjoy your life inside your flat.
Can you grow leeks in an aquarium?
Some people also try to grow leeks in an aquarium instead of using conventional pots.
However, in my opinion, this is just not a good idea since water will often not be able to run off properly and you would also have to put your aquarium outdoors to assure good climatic conditions for leek plants.
However, once an aquarium is exposed to frost, it will often break and you should therefore never try growing leeks in an aquarium but rather use flower pots instead.
Can you grow leeks in a terrarium?
Leek also doesn’t grow well in terrariums since waterlogging will often become an issue and you should therefore make sure to grow leeks in flower pots or in your garden instead of growing it in terrariums.
Can you grow leeks in buckets?
Buckets can be great alternatives to conventional flower pots for growing leeks.
Just make sure that water will be able to run off properly so that waterlogging will not become an issue and that you also use big buckets so that leek plants will have enough space to grow well.
Can you grow leeks in bags?
While growing leeks in bags is possible if you use fabric bags instead of plastic bags, you should make sure to use really big bags and that those bags are also stable enough so that they don’t tip over in case of strong winds.
Can you grow leeks in hanging baskets?
Since leek plants will not get too heavy and will also not produce crops, you will be perfectly fine growing leeks in hanging baskets instead of conventional flower pots.
Just make sure that you provide your plants with enough space and soil so that they get sufficient nutrients and sunlight.
Can you grow leeks in rainy climatic zones?
Since leek is a cool-weather plant, you will be good with growing leeks in rainy climatic zones.
However, if there is barely any sun at all in your region, you should make sure to choose the sunniest spot in your garden or on your balcony for your plants to utilize every precious hour of sunlight.
Can you grow leeks in tropical climatic zones?
Leek doesn’t like hot and humid climatic conditions and it is therefore not a good idea to grow leeks in the tropics.
Hence, if you live in one of those tropical climatic zones, you should rather grow bananas, coconuts or other plants that grow well in those extremely hot climatic conditions.
Can you grow leeks in regions with permafrost?
Even though leeks are resistant to the cold, it will not grow well or even decay if frost is too strong.
Also the roots of your plants will not be able to grow well with strong frost.
Thus, if you live in regions with permafrost, don’t try growing leeks at home but rather get them from the store instead.
Does leek grow on vines?
Leek doesn’t grow on vines. Instead, it grows as a compact plant, partially below and partially above the soil surface.
If you haven’t seen leek plants before, you should watch one of the videos in this article to learn about what leek plants look like.
Does leek grow underground?
While a certain fraction of leek plants grow above the soil surface, around half of a leek plant will grow underground.
Hence, before you harvest leek plants, make sure that the fraction that grows above the soil surface looks mature.
What is the best orientation for growing leeks?
You should grow leeks in east or west orientation to provide your plants with a healthy mix of sun and shade.
South orientation is also fine in rainy regions when you want to utilize every hour of sunlight as best as possible.
Avoid growing leek in north orientation since your plants would just not get sufficient sunlight.
Can you grow leeks with indirect sunlight?
Instead of growing leeks outdoors with direct sunlight, you could also grow leeks with indirect sunlight in a greenhouse.
However, make sure that temperatures inside this greenhouse stay cool enough so that leeks can grow well and deliver decent yields.
Where does leek grow best?
Leeks grow best in partially shady environments with rather cool temperatures outdoors.
Hence, choose a spot in your garden where your plants get a healthy mix of sun and shade and also have sufficient space to get enough nutrients and sunlight to grow well.
Where to grow leeks in pots?
If you want to grow leeks in pots, you should place those pots outdoors so that leek plants can benefit from cool weather.
Moreover, also make sure to place those pots in rather protected areas like on your porch so that leek plants are protected from storms and other adverse conditions.
Where to grow leeks indoors?
If you really want to grow leeks indoors due to a lack of other options, you should make sure that you choose a cool room for your plants and also that you place your plants in a bright room so that they can grow in a decent manner.
Can you grow leeks in water?
You should never try growing leeks in pure water since your plants would just not get sufficient nutrients and would decay pretty soon.
Instead of growing leeks in water, make sure to grow them in a high-quality soil mix where leek plants get sufficient nutrients.
Can you grow leeks with LED lights?
You could also try to support the growth of leek plants by using LEDs or other forms of artificial lighting.
However, in my opinion, this is just a huge waste of energy and money and you should therefore rather rely on natural sunlight instead.
Can you grow leeks in dark rooms?
You should not grow leeks in dark rooms since your plants would just grow pretty slow and you would not get decent results in a reasonable amount of time.
Thus, rather grow leeks in bright rooms inside your home or even better, grow it in your garden or on your balcony instead.
Can you reuse soil for growing leeks the next year?
You can reuse the soil for growing leeks and other garden plants many times if you add some fertilizer after each growing season and also make sure to loosen the soil a little bit since it will often get quite compact due to the spread of the roots of your plants.
Do leeks grow well in waterlogged soil?
Like most other garden vegetables, leek doesn’t grow well in waterlogged soil.
Consequently, make sure that water will be able to run off properly so that the roots of your plants will not start to rot and your leek plants can stay healthy in the long run.
Does leek grow best in acidic, neutral or alkaline soil?
Leek grows best in acidic or neutral soil with an optimal soil pH between 6.2 and 7.
However, leek is also quite tolerant to the acidity level of the soil and as long as you get a decent soil mix from the garden center, you will be perfectly fine in this regard.
Will leeks grow in sandy soil?
While it is possible to grow leeks in sandy soil, leek plants will often not grow as well compared to growing them in high-quality soil from the garden center.
Hence, if you want to get the best results, you should invest some money in good soil instead of relying on sandy low-quality soil.
Will leeks grow well in clay soil?
Since clay soil is quite solid, it is not a good medium to grow leeks if you want to maximize your yields.
Thus, instead of growing leeks in clay soil, you should rather go for a looser soil mix where leek plants can grow better underground.
Will leeks grow in compost?
While you could also grow leeks in compost, you should add some potting soil from the store to assure moderate acidity levels of the soil so that your plants can both profit from the loose soil environment but still get a good foundation to grow well.
Do leek plants need a lot of water?
While leek plants will not need lots of water while they are still young, their water demand will skyrocket once your plants get bigger.
Hence, only water leek plants once a week while they are small and start watering them more often once they get bigger and need more water.
Do you have to water leek on a regular basis?
How often you have to water leek plants greatly depends on the climatic conditions you live in and whether your plants have access to rainwater in the soil.
For instance, while you will not have to water leek during rainy periods of the year in your garden, you might still have to water leeks that you grow in pots.
Hence, make sure to adjust your watering behavior to the climatic conditions outdoor instead of relying on a fixed watering schedule.
Should you use filtered or unfiltered water to water leeks?
There is no reason to filter water for leek plants. Just use unfiltered tap water and you will be perfectly fine in most regions.
Filtering efforts are only worth it if you live in a region where you have lots of lime in the tap water.
Otherwise, just go with unfiltered water and you will be good to go.
Should you use rainwater to water leeks?
Rainwater is great to water leek plants since it is water in its most natural form that leek plants used for many thousands of years in the wild.
Hence, if you want to rely on rainwater to water leeks and other garden plants, just install a rainwater barrel and you can collect lots of rainwater during rainy periods of the year to use it during dry periods.
When to stake leek plants?
While there is no need to stake leek plants since they will become quite resistant on their own, you could still do so when your plants reach a height of at least 3 inches and have still spent 4 to 6 weeks in the ground outdoors.
What to stake leeks with?
The easiest way to stake and stabilize leek plants is to just tie them with cord to sticks you place next to each plant.
Through this simple method, your plants will become more resistant to wind and may also be protected from pests like slugs to a certain extent.
What to do when leek turns yellow?
If leeks turn yellow, you should have a look at your watering schedule and if you water leek plants quite a lot, try to slow down your watering behavior.
Also make sure to add some fertilizer since a lack of nutrients can often also cause leek plants to turn yellow.
How to protect leeks against wind?
Leek plants are quite resistant to winds and there is no urgent need to take any measures in this regard.
However, if you want to be completely safe in this regard, you can just tie your plants with cord to sticks that you place next to each leek plant.
How to protect leeks against heavy rain?
There is no need to protect leek from heavy rain. Just let your plants grow in a natural manner and you will be surprised how well your leeks will grow if you don’t take any action in this regard and just let nature do its work.
How to protect leeks against hail?
If you grow leeks in pots, you should just move those pots to a safe location on your porch once you expect hail.
If you grow leeks in your garden and are not able to move your plants, you should use some foil cover from the garden center and try to protect your plants with it as best as possible.
Should you pinch out leeks?
Pinching leeks is not a good idea at all since you would just remove precious plant material and would take away energy from your plants.
Moreover, you would also lower your yields since you will harvest the plant material later in the year.
Where to pinch leeks?
If you really want to pinch out leek plants for your own reasons, you should do so outdoors instead of indoors to avoid the spread of garden pests inside your four walls and also since pinching plants can lead to a mess that you certainly don’t want to have inside your home.
Can you grow leeks without fertilizer?
If you provide high-quality soil and also make sure that your plants have enough space and don’t have to compete for nutrients, you will often not have to use any additional fertilizer since your plants will get all they need from the soil.
Should you cover leek plants to protect them against frost?
Since leek is quite tolerant to the cold, you will not have to protect it against frost as long as temperatures don’t drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Consequently, there will also not be the need to cover leek plants to protect them from frost most of the time.
How to get rid of moss when growing leeks?
Moss is a clear indicator that you water your plants too often.
Hence, make sure to adjust your watering schedule if you see moss near leek plants so that the soil can dry up a little bit and the roots of your plants stay healthy in the long run.
Pests & Diseases
Can you grow leeks without using pesticides?
If you choose a good site for your plants and also provide enough nutrients so that leeks can grow strong, there is a good chance that you will not have to use any pesticides since your plants will become resistant enough to deal with pests on their own.
Should you use natural or chemical pesticides for leek plants?
If you want to use pesticides to get relief for leek plants, make sure to rely on natural pesticides instead of chemical alternatives to protect our environment and also the soil in your garden.
Using natural pesticides will also make your gardening project more organic and will be better for your health.
What are the most common leeks pests?
Moths, bugs and slugs are just some of the annoying companions you might have to deal with when growing leeks.
There are many other pests waiting for your leeks plants outdoors and you should make sure to get some knowledge on how to treat those pests.
How to protect leeks against pests?
Fortunately, it is pretty easy to get rid of leek pests if you know what you are doing.
Also feel free to find all the information you need to know about how to get rid of leek pests and diseases and also on how to get rid of garden pests in my pest removal guides.
Should you grow leeks with children?
Since it will take quite a long time to grow leeks from seed to harvest and leeks will also not produce crops, it will just not be a good plant to grow with children.
Instead, you should rather grow carrots or other plants that don’t take that long to grow and also produce crops to make it more interesting.
Is leeks a good plant for a school project?
Leek is a great plant for a school garden since it is quite resistant to the cold and will also forgive you some mistakes.
You can also teach school kids quite a lot about how our food is produced and chances are that those kids will also become more eager to protect our environment.
Is growing leeks difficult?
Leek is not very difficult to grow. As long as you follow all the advice in my grower’s guides, you will be able to grow leeks in a decent manner, even if you are still new to gardening and just start out with growing plants at home.
What color does ripe leek have?
While the tops of ripe leeks will often have a green color, the stem of leek plants will be white.
Hence, harvest leeks when it has the right size and color and if you are not sure whether the right time has come or not, just harvest one leek plant and see if it is mature before you harvest other leek plants.
Can you save seeds from leek plants?
Saving seeds from leek plants is often only possible if you let your leeks grow for more than one year since leek plants take quite long to flower.
Thus, if you want to harvest the plant material in high quality within the first year, you will just not be able to harvest leek seeds most of the time.
Can leeks get overripe?
While leek will not get overripe anytime soon, it will still lose some vitamins and flavor if you leave it in the ground for too long.
Also the texture will be altered in a rather unpleasant manner and you should therefore harvest leeks in time to avoid any issues in this regard.
What parts of a leek plant can you eat?
You can eat the whole leek plant. While some people just eat the stems, you can also eat the tops of leek plants and make nice salads out of it.
I recommend you use the whole plant to make your growing project as eco-friendly and economical as possible.
Is growing leeks expensive?
If you have a garden, you can grow leeks at almost no cost since all you need to get are some seeds.
If you don’t have a garden, you also have to get some flower pots and some soil.
However, this will often also not be that expensive and therefore, almost everyone will be able to afford to grow leeks at home.
Is growing leeks fun?
I personally really love growing leeks and other plants at home since I really enjoy seeing the progress my plants make every day.
Growing leeks is not only quite a lot of fun, but it also gives me the opportunity to relax next to my plants after a stressful workday.
Does leek grow on trees?
Leek doesn’t grow on trees but rather grows on compact plants that grow partially below and above the soil surface.
Hence, before you harvest leeks, make sure to also have a look at the lower end of the leek plant to see if it is really mature yet.
Does leek grow from flowers?
Leek doesn’t grow from flowers. In fact, you will often not see leek plants flower at all and this is also not necessary since you will harvest the plant material instead of crops and this plant material will be best when leeks haven’t flowered yet.
How many leek plants should you grow per pot?
You should not grow more than one leek plant per pot, at least if you use rather small pots.
The bigger the pots you use, the more leek plants you can grow in one pot.
However, make sure that every leek plant has at least one square foot of space so that your plants don’t have to compete for nutrients with each other.
Which animals feed on leeks?
Moth, caterpillars, slugs and mice are just some of the animals that will try to feed on leek plants outdoors.
Consequently, it is crucial that you take some protective measures to keep away those hungry intruders as best as possible.
Will your pets eat leek plants?
If you keep rodents as pets, there is a realistic chance that those pets will try to feed on leek plants, even though leek will usually not be their first choice.
Hence, make sure to keep away your pets from your plants to avoid any issues in this regard.
Is leek toxic for pets?
Leek is not toxic for most pets and most pets will not even try to feed on leek plants.
However, you should still make sure to keep away pets from your plants, not only to reduce the risk for your pets, but also the risk for your plants to get eaten.
Why leek grows small?
If leek plants grow small, this is a good indicator that you haven’t provided decent growth conditions to your plants.
To get better results in future years, make sure to choose a better spot in your garden where your plants get a good mix of sun and shade and also fertilize the soil to get better results.
What to grow with leeks?
There are many plants you can grow with leeks. Make sure to have a look at my leek companion plant article to learn what to grow with leeks and what plants to avoid.
Can you grow leeks from leeks?
You might also want to try to grow leeks from leeks.
However, while this could work, it would still be a great waste of food and you should therefore rather grow leeks from seed to use your food as efficiently and economically as possible.
Can you grow leeks from rotten fruits?
If you don’t want to eat leeks from the store anymore since it has already started to rot, you may want to use it for growing purposes.
Just place the rotten leek into the soil and with a little bit of luck, you may be able to harvest fresh leek after around half a year.
Can you grow leeks without seeds?
In case you don’t want to grow leeks from seed, you could also grow leeks from seedlings which you could get from the garden center.
However, you would still skip one important growing step and I therefore suggest you rather grow leeks from seed instead of relying on seedlings instead.
Do you have to pollinate leeks by hand?
There is no need to pollinate leek plants by hand since leeks will not produce any crops and you will rather harvest the plant material.
Consequently, if you don’t want to save leek seeds, there is no need to worry about pollination issues at all.
How to grow big leeks?
While it is possible to grow leeks without fertilizer, one secret to growing really big leeks is to add some additional nutrients to the soil since only if your plants get sufficient nutrients, they will grow as best as possible.
Apart from that, also make sure to optimize your watering schedule and that you also keep away pests and animals that want to feed on your plants to get big leek yields.
Can you grow leeks commercially?
While some people try growing leeks commercially, it is a quite risky project and also comes along with high upfront costs for machinery and land.
Hence, if you are not 100% serious about it, you should rather grow leeks in a recreational manner.
Can you grow leeks from fresh seeds?
Growing leeks from fresh seeds will often not be doable since you will just not have access to fresh leek seeds most of the time, at least if you don’t grow leeks to save seeds from it.
Consequently, you will often have to rely on seeds from the garden center instead.
Can you grow leeks from dried seeds?
Using dried seeds for growing leeks is perfectly fine and if you choose a good seed company, chances are that germination rates will be quite good and that you will get decent yields as long as you follow all the advice in this article.
Can you grow leeks from cuttings?
Growing leeks from cuttings will be working if you know what you are doing.
The problem is that you need to be an experienced gardener for growing leeks from cuttings and if you are relatively new to gardening, you should rather rely on seeds instead.
Should you use a leek growing kit for growing leeks?
I don’t recommend you spend money on a leek growing kit.
Instead, I suggest you invest your money in more durable and versatile gardening equipment which you can not only use for growing leeks, but also for growing many other garden plants for many years to come.
Does leek grow in the wild?
Some leek varieties also grow in the wild. However, they often look quite different from what you know from the grocery store and you might not even be able to identify wild leek in case you see it on one of your walks.
Should you talk to leek plants?
Talking to leek plants is not only not necessary, but it is also a huge waste of time.
Hence, instead of talking to leek plants, you should rather use your time more wisely on things that really matter for the success of your gardening projects.
Should you plant leeks at half moon or full moon?
There is no reason to worry about moon phases at all when it comes to growing leeks.
Just plant leek according to the climatic conditions outdoors instead of relying on obsolete dodgy knowledge some people claim to have in this regard.
Now that you got many answers about growing leeks in general, you might also want to check out my leek grower’s guide where I show you how to grow leek from seed to harvest step-by-step.
Own research and experience.
About the Author
My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my plants grow and also always try new things to improve my overall conditions at home.
In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants and improving your home as well, even though you might still be a beginner right now.