Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension

Growing leeks in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Most leeks require a long growing season of about 120 to 150 days.
  • Start seeds indoors and transplant in early spring.
  • Hill the plants to produce a longer white shaft, or plant in a furrow and fill it in.
  • Leeks have shallow root systems and need plentiful watering.
  • Leeks are tolerant of cold, so you can delay harvest until after the first frosts.

Easy-to-grow gourmet vegetable 

Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum) are a gourmet vegetable that you can grow easily in Minnesota. They have a mild onion flavor. You may eat them in soups, as well as raw, braised or in casseroles or quiche. You can eat both the green leaves and the white shaft.

Leeks look like overgrown green onions, with a long, cylindrical white shaft. The leaves are thick, flat and folded. Plants grow two to three feet tall, and can have a width of two inches.



How to keep your leek plants healthy and productive


Jill MacKenzie

Managing pests and diseases

Many things can affect leek roots, shafts, and leaves. Changes in physical appearance and plant health can be caused by the environment, plant diseases, insects and wildlife. In order to address what you’re seeing, it is important to make a correct diagnosis. 

You can find additional help identifying common pest problems by using the online diagnostic tools What insect is this? and What's wrong with my plant? or by sending a sample to the UMN Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. You can use Ask a Master Gardener to share pictures and get input.


Onion maggot bores into plant stems, causing the plants to turn yellow and wilt.


Many of the same cultural practices help prevent a wide variety of leek diseases.

Authors: Marissa Schuh, Extension educator, and Jill MacKenzie

Reviewed in 2022

Page survey

© 2024 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.