Which are the best onion varieties in Kenya?

Are you looking for the best bulb onion seeds in Kenya? This post will give you a list of the 11 best onion varieties in Kenya for your selection. The summary has each seed’s maturity period, yield per acre and other features. In addition, there is a simplified guide on the factors to consider in choosing the best onion seed for your farm this season.

The best hybrid onion seeds in Kenya include the Jambar F1, Neptune F1, and Red Pinoy F1. Non-hybrid seeds include the Red Creole, Texas Grano and Red Bombay among others. You can buy the best quality seeds in Kenya are available from KARLO, Agroduka Limited, Tropika, Sakata Seeds, and agrovet shops near you.

VarietyMaturity daysYield (Kg/acre)
Bombay Red120-15020,000
Red Mara F180-9025,000
Jambar F180-9025,000
Neptune F1110-12015,000
Red Coach f180-9025,000
Red Creole 15020,000
Red Nice F115025,000
Red Passion F112023,000
Red Pinoy9025,000
Red Snack F111025,000
Red Star F1110-12025,000
Texas Early Grano12021,000
Tropicana F190-10025,000
A list of the best onion varieties in Kenya

How to choose the best onion seeds in Kenya

There are no good crop yields without quality seeds. But with so many alternatives available for sale you can be overwhelmed. In our guide to choosing the best planting seeds for your garden, we propose you consider the following factors;

  • Your farm location; Grow seeds most suitable for your agroecological location. A variety like Bombay red is suited to do well in diverse agro-climate zones
  • Yield potential; For commercial onion farming, grow a variety with the highest yield and profitability. As shown below the Neptune F1 variety will give you 16 tons per acre while Red Pinoy F1 can get you 30 tons in the same location.
  • Days to Maturity; Are you looking for an early or late-maturing variety? The table below shows onions are ready to harvest from transplanting in 80-120 days. In areas with rain stress, grow an early maturing seed variety.
  • Shelf life: Some onions have a long shelf life of up to 6 months. Traders, transporters, and retailers love these for it reduces their business losses to bruising, rotting, or germinating.
  • Resistance and tolerance to diseases and pests. Grow an onion variety that can withstand pink rot disease, thrips, or purple blotch infections. It will cut the use of pesticides saving you on the cost of production.

Why should you grow hybrid onions?

The hybrid onion seeds are more profitable to grow in Kenya. Unlike the open-pollinated varieties (OPV), those seeds have the following benefits;

  • Cheaper to grow; The seeds are resistant to common pests and diseases hence cheaper cost of production given the low use of pesticides and herbicides.
  • Profitability; Hybrid seeds are fast-growing or early maturing and you can harvest and sell them earlier or do 2-3 seasons per year. Besides, they have high yields and have a longer shelf life.
  • Sustainable; Many hybrid seeds are tolerant to high temperatures and moisture stress. This allows you to grow and harvest in climate change risks like erratic rainfall patterns and droughts.

Why you should grow OPV onions?

Non-hybrid or OPV onion seeds can be a great option for farmers in Kenya for several reasons:

  1. Cost-effective: Non-hybrid seeds are generally less expensive than hybrid seeds, making them a more affordable option for farmers.
  2. Adaptability: Non-hybrid seeds are often better adapted to local growing conditions, which can result in better yields and quality.
  3. Seed saving: Non-hybrid seeds can be saved from year to year, allowing farmers to maintain a supply of seeds without having to purchase new ones each season.
  4. Organic farming: Non-hybrid seeds are often preferred by organic farmers, as they are not genetically modified and can be grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

What are the Best Hybrid Onion seeds in Kenya?

Neptune F1 hybrid onion seed

The table above is a summary of 11 onion varieties in Uganda and Kenya. It compares their maturity period in days after transplanting, Yield potential per acre, and their seed supplier. The best onion varieties are Bombay Red, Jambar F1, and the Red Creole.

Red Mara F1

Red Mara F1 is a hybrid onion variety that is suitable for growing in Kenya. It produces uniformly mature deep red bulbs that are flattened globe-shaped and medium to large in size. Red Mara F1 produces 25-30 tons of uniformly mature deep red bulbs per acre.

Red Mara F1 has firm bulbs with good storage ability of up to 6 months and is a pink rot-resistant variety that makes it ideal for most Kenyan soils. It is a vigorous plant with a strong root system that makes it ideal for hot growing conditions. It is an excellent choice for fresh market and salads and has good transporting and storage capacity

Red Mara F1 is spaced at 30 cm by 7-10 cm

Jambar F1

Jambar F1 is a popular hybrid onion variety that is easy to grow and matures in 90 days from transplanting. The bulbs are deep red and uniform in size, ranging from large to extra-large. It has a long shelf life of up to 6 months after harvest. Jambar F1 has a high yield potential and is resistant to bolting. It is well-suited for short-day areas and can be easily grown in Kenya and other regions. Farmers can purchase Jambar F1 onion seeds from various sources, including Agroduka Limited and Monsanto Seed Co.

Jambar F1 produces large, luscious bulbs. For this reason, they have a high demand in the hotel industry. The bulbs have a great flavor, which makes them the best option for making a salad or “kachumbari” in barbecue or Nyama Choma joints.

Neptune F1

Are you looking for the best hybrid onion seeds to grow in dry areas? Neptune F1 is the best drought-tolerant variety in Kenya for farmers in dry areas. It is an early-maturity variety that is ready to harvest in 110-120 days. It produces round-shaped bulbs which have a nice red color. The firm shining red bulbs have good pungency, and an extended shelf life, making it great for preparing salads. The Neptune F1 bulbs have a long storage life of 5-6 months.

Neptune F1 is a high-yielding variety that can give up to 16 tons per acre. The variety has good resistance to Pink root disease. Finally, Neptune F1 is a trusted onion variety that is easily grown in Kenya and has a high demand in the market.

Red Coach F1

Are you looking for a high-yielding hybrid onion variety? The Red Coach F1 is a hybrid variety that is highly popular among farmers in Kenya and Uganda. It is an early maturing variety with flattened globe-shaped bulbs. They are deep purple-red in color, have uniform bulb size, and extended storage.

Red Coach F1 has a very good yield and firmness, making it a preferred onion variety among farmers. With a high potential yield, the variety can give you 25 to 30 tons per acre. It has a short maturity of only 90 days after transplantation. Red Coach F1 is also extremely resistant to downy mildew and purple blotch. The variety is versatile and can be grown in open fields and greenhouses. farmers

Red Nice F1

Red Nice F1 is a mid-late maturing onion variety with nice globe-shaped bulbs and a dark red color. The variety has intermediate resistance to Foc and performs differently under various conditions. Red Nice F1 bulbs have moderate uniformity, a globe shape, and an attractive red color. The weight of Red Nice F1 bulbs ranges from 100-200 grams.

Red Nice F1 is a great option for farmers looking for a high-quality onion yield in varied agro-climates. The variety is resistant to purple blotch disease and is well adapted to different agroecological zones. Red Nice F1 bulbs are small-sized with a deep red color, excellent curing, and storage.

Red Passion F1

Red Passion F1 is a hybrid onion variety that is popular among farmers in Kenya. It has a deep red color, good drying and keeping quality, and is tolerant to pink rot disease. Red Passion F1 produces good-grade bulbs with uniform maturity. It has a high yield potential of up to 25 tons per acre. The variety matures in 120 days and requires a spacing of 30x10cm.

Red Passion F1 is a great option for farmers looking for high-quality yields. The variety is well adapted to different agroecological zones and is resistant to purple blotch disease. Red Passion F1 is a trusted variety that can be easily grown in Kenya and other regions.

Red Star F1

The Redstar F1 is a hybrid onion variety with small-sized deep red bulbs, suited to a wide range of altitude areas, with excellent curing and storage. The maturity period is 90 days after transplanting, the bulb size is 3-6 cm in diameter, and a yield of 25 tons per acre.

The onion variety Redstar F1 is early maturing, high yielding, and suited to diverse climate conditions. The small bulb size makes it suitable for retailers who may want to sell per piece hence its preference in the market.

Tropicana F1

Tropicana F1 onion is a highly productive hybrid seed that produces large, red, thick flat bulbs with a firm pungent taste. The variety is well-adapted to tropical areas. It has a short maturity period and is ready to harvest in 60-65 days under hot conditions. on highlands like Nyandarua, it has a medium maturity period of 75-80 days under cooler conditions.

Tropicana F1 onion is a market leader in short day type, suitable to grow in different conditions, and is available from various sources, including Agroduka Limited, Tropika, Sakata Seed, and other seed suppliers. The variety is a short-day, open-pollinated variety that features a deep red color and a sweet flavor.

Which are the best OPV onion seeds in Kenya

While non-hybrid onion seeds may require more time and effort to grow than hybrid seeds, they can be a great option for farmers who are looking for a cost-effective, adaptable, and sustainable way to grow them in Kenya. The list of best Non-hybrid or OPV seeds in Kenya are the red creole, Bombay red, and the Texas Grano.

Red Creole

The Red Creole onion variety is a popular heirloom, open-pollinated variety in Kenya. It is well-suited for low-altitude areas with full sun and minimal rainfall. the seed can do well in hot weather and months like January.

It produces small to medium-sized bulbs that are thick, flat and light-red in color. The bulbs have a spicy, Cajun-type flavor and can be added to any dish for a bolder experience. Red Creole onions are resistant to pink root rot, tolerant to other diseases, and have very little bolt resistance. They are excellent for storing, with a shelf life of up to 6-7 months. Red Creole seeds can be direct-seeded or transplanted, although transplanting is recommended. They are heavy feeders and require significant nutrient inputs throughout their lifespan. The Red Creole variety is a great option for farmers looking for high-quality yields in Kenya.

  • It high yielding with a potential of 15-28 tons per acre.
  • The slightly pungent taste increases its preference by consumers
  • Its long shelf life increases its preference by traders, transporters, and retailers
  • small to medium bulb size means there will be more bulbs in a net preferred by consumers which can cook a piece per meal

Bombay Red

Bombay Red is an open-pollinated onion seed variety that is highly adaptable and thrives in varied agro-climates. The variety can yield up to 20 tons per acre in a period of 120 to 150 days. Bombay Red bulbs have a long shelf life and can be transported or exported. It is because you can easily dry its neck for proper curing.

In addition, Bombay red has a deep purple-red color that makes it easy to market. The variety has a resistance to the Iris Yellow Spot Virus disease and the thrips. Consequently, it is cheaper to harvest healthy bulbs for the minimal use of pesticides and to increase your profits.

Red Pinoy

Red Pinoy is a popular onion variety that is well-adapted to both rain-fed and irrigation environments. It is a very early maturing variety that matures 90 days after transplanting and has a potential yield of 25-30 tons per acre under good farming practices.

Red Pinoy onion has a long shelf life of up to 6 months at room temperature and has deep red attractive bulbs that are in high demand. The variety has shown resistance to Downy Mildew and Purple Blotch Tolerance. Red Pinoy is a great option for farmers looking for high-quality yields. The variety is available in different pack sizes, ranging from 10 grams to 1000 grams, with varying prices.

Texas Grano

Texas Grano onion variety

Texas Grano onion is a high-yielding variety that is well adapted to the Kenya tropics. The variety seed matures in 120 days from transplanting. It has a sweet flavor and is mild-flavored, making it suitable for farmers who want to target the local market, where the demand for large, sweet onions is high.

Texas Grano seeds are available from various sources, including Agroduka Limited, Tropika, Sakata Seed, and other seed suppliers. The variety is a short-day, open-pollinated variety that features white flesh and straw-colored skin.

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  1. Good morning ma’am /sir
    How much does the the Red creole, red Pinoy and Bombay red seeds cost?
    I want to buy them for my thesis project.
    Thank you and God Bless

    • Hello Jinkgky and Amen, The price of onion seeds in Kenya range from ksh 5/g to ksh 200/g depending on various factors. Its best to do your online research and comparison from various seed companies and sellers for the best prices.

      Kind regards on your thesis project

    • Hi Chege, you can get most vegetable seeds such as tomato and onion from most agro-vet shops. A few ecommore sites operating locally such as Jumia, Copia and Jiji also stock onion seeds.

  2. I really learned alot,it is an informative piece. I would also like to ask; how many grams of onion seeds are needed in 1acre

    • Hi Sir,

      Kindly consult with local suppliers if they are stocking the variety. If not, consider ordering some online from a reputable seller.

  3. Hello, very informative post. Am very impressed.

    Which is the best variety to plant in Lamu, a place with red soil?

    Its hot and normally very dry most of the year

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