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Onion - Varieties


Figure 7.1

Onion (Allium cepa) is a cool-season annual crop grown commercially on 1,600 to 1,800 acres in northern Utah. It is grown by direct seeding or by setting transplants out in the field in early spring. Onions grown from sets are expensive, produce smaller bulbs, and are not typically recommended for commercial plantings. Green bunching onions are grown from seed and are harvested while the leaves are still green but before the bulbs start to develop. Dry bulb onions are harvested after the leaves have senesced and fallen over and bulbs are mature.

Onions in Utah require timely applications of water, fertilizer, and other inputs throughout the growing season to meet market requirements. Utah State University (USU) research and extension personnel have worked in cooperation with the Utah Onion Growers Association to identify important production problems and reduce their negative impacts on this important food crop. In addition to USU resources, there is a wealth of information available from other sources such as onion processors, seed companies, crop consultants, and regional and national onion organizations.

Onion is a diverse agricultural crop that is classified into groups based on response to day-length. Onions form bulbs in response to a critical day-length and are classified as short-, intermediate-, and long-day types. Bulbs also vary in color (red, yellow, and white), shape (flat, globe, grano, torpedo), flavor (sweet or pungent), and market use (fresh, storage and processing). Most onion varieties grown in Utah are long-day, pungent, storage types that respond favorably to local growing conditions.

Selection of appropriate onion varieties for a location and market is an important decision. There are numerous onion varieties available and seed companies introduce new ones each year. Some varieties commonly grown in Utah include ‘Calibra’, ‘Candy’, ‘Charismatic’, ‘Crockett’, ‘Delgado’, ‘Desperado’, ‘Granero’, ‘Joaquin’, ‘Legend’, ‘Maverick’, ‘Mesquite’, ‘Ranchero’, ‘Redwing’, ‘Sedona’, ‘Swale’, ‘Tequila’, and ‘Vaquero’.

USU Extension conducts field trials to evaluate onion varieties under local conditions. Data is gathered on yield quantity and quality, timing of crop maturity, pest tolerance, and storage quality (extension.usu.edu/productionhort/htm/vegetables/
commercialvegetables/onions).

Variety Suggestions:

Onion Types Varieties (limited list)
Green  Evergreen White Bunching, Welsh Onion
Yellow  Borettana, Candy, Copra, Fiesta, Sweet Sandwich, Utah Sweet Spanish, Walla Walla,
White Super Star, Snow White
Red Candy Apple, Mamba, Vega