Vegetables that regrow… from waste

Posted on 03/02/2014, in: Learn
Vegetables that regrow… from waste

You wouldn’t think so, but sometimes our kitchen waste can become a resource, you just have to give it a second chance. Here are the 5 plants that can regenerate themselves.


Use the bottom, the part with the roots (which must remain intact), together with about 2 cm of “flesh” and leave it to dry, in a place that’s shady and well aired, for roughly 2 hours.
Take a container, a normal pot will do fine, fill 2/3 of it with some potting soil and press it down slightly. Create a shallow hole in the centre, the same size as the bottom you’ve cut off, and place the onion in it with the roots pointing downwards. Then cover the surface with another 2 – 3 cm of potting soil. Obviously, if you have a piece of ground available, you can do without the pot. Keep the soil damp, but not too wet, and it won’t take long before your onion will begin to sprout. When 2 – 3 leaves have developed well on each shoot, dig up the whole thing, remove the old onion tissues, separate the new shoots with their roots (each one will become a new onion) and transplant them taking care to cut back the leaves by 2/3, in this way you’ll encourage the bulb to grow.



Leeks are close relations to onions and offer the same possibility, even though you’ll need to be more generous with the waste, that’s to say you must leave at least 8 – 10 cm of the white part above the stem (which in a leek is the thin brownish disk found at the bottom). If the leek you want to use hasn’t had its roots cut off, you can transplant it directly in the ground or in the pot in which you want it to grow, otherwise you can leave it in water for a while and the roots will regrow. After no time at all the central leaves will begin to develop and, a few week later, you’ll have new leeks to harvest.

Romaine lettuce

Take a head of Romaine lettuce (also known as cos lettuce) and cut the leaves off, leaving about 3 cm above the top of the stem. Place the remaining part, with the leave stumps pointing upwards, in a small container with 1 – 2 cm of water (make sure the level remains the same in the days that follow). Put it on a windowsill, or somewhere else that gets plenty of light, and in a couple of weeks new roots and leaves will sprout. At this point you can remove the old, outer leaves and transplant the lettuce in the ground.

Romaine lattuce
Bok choy

This vegetable isn’t that well known, but those of you who like it can try out its capacity to regenerate and have a go at growing it. The process is very similar to lettuce. Cut off the bottom, with at least 2 cm of leaves, and place it in a small container with 1 – 2 cm of water. Your bok choy will grow rapidly, after about a week it’ll already have developed new leaves and roots and will be ready to be planted.


Also for celery the first phase of regrowth is carried out in contact with water, necessary to stimulate the issue of new roots. Cut the stems of your celery, taking care to leave at least 4 cm, and put the bottom in a container with 2 cm of water; the reaction will be rapid and you’ll soon see new leaves and roots. Regardless of how the celery recovers, wait roughly one month before transplanting it in the ground, always keeping the level of water in the container constant.


When you carry out these operations always use clean knives and remember, if a first phase in water is foreseen, to write the starting date on the container, it'll be useful to help you get the timing right and make everything much more fun.

Romaine lettuce photo: Muffet 

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