Leeks Planting & Growing Guide

Want an easy-to-grow alternative to Onions to spice up your savory dishes? Leeks to the rescue! Their tall green or blue-green leaves fade to a milky white at the base but they’re packed with a mild, delicious flavor from top to bottom. You’ll find lots of uses for them, from soups to casseroles to stir-fries, but before you can cook with them, you need to grow them! Keep reading to find out just how easily you can soon be harvesting your first crop of Leeks.

  • Planting Depth
    Plant level with soil line. Can use blanching method for higher stalks.
  • Planting Proximity
    6 in.; rows 24 in.
  • Planting Season
  • Plant Benefits
    Grow your own food!
  • Water Quantity
  • Bloom Season
    Harvest when desired height is reached. Loosen with spade to lift.
  • Sunlight Quantity
    Full Sun
  • Hardiness Zones
    Zones 8-10, in greenhouse or as annual

Where to Plant Leeks

Plant in an area with full sun and well-draining soil. If you live in a hot climate, you can plant in partial shade. Leeks love rich soil, so for best results amend the soil heavily with compost before planting.

When to Plant Leeks

Plant Leeks in early spring after the last frost for harvest in the summer or fall. In mild-winter climates, you can plant Leeks in the fall for harvest in the late winter or spring.

How to Plant Leeks

  • Find a location with full sun and well-draining soil. If you notice that water still puddles 5 to 6 hours after a hard rain, it's best to find a different spot or plant in a container or raised bed.
  • Plant your Leeks as soon as possible after they arrive. If you can’t plant immediately, make sure to give them a drink of water and set them somewhere out of direct sun and wind until you can get them planted.
  • Dig a hole the same depth as the nursery container. Remove the plant from the container and set in the hole. Fill the hole with soil and tamp down firmly.
  • Space your Leeks about 4” apart.
  • Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots.

How to Grow Leeks

  • Water at least once a week, more often in warm weather; 1” of water at a time is a good estimate. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses help get the water right at the roots with minimal evaporation and reduce the spread of diseases like powdery mildew.
  • Add a light mulch of compost to the surrounding soil to improve drainage, reduce evaporation, and keep competing weeds at bay.
  • Mound the soil around the base of the plants as they grow to keep the stems white and the flavor mild.
  • Apply a light dose of fish emulsion or a balanced fertilizer monthly until harvest.

Leek Tips & Tricks

  • Harvest 4-7 months after planting when stems are between ½ and 2 inches thick. Use a garden fork to lift the Leeks from the soil.
  • Remove and replant small offset bulbs that may appear attached to the main plant to extend the harvest.
  • Harvest the entire crop before the ground freezes, but in milder climates where the ground doesn’t freeze, you can leave Leeks in the ground and continue to harvest them as needed.
  • Be sure to rinse Leeks completely before using - they collect a lot of soil down in between the leaves!