How to Grow King Onions in Zimbabwe

An onion, also known as the bulb onion or common onion, is a vegetable that is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The shallot is a botanical variety of the onion which was classified as a separate species until 2011. Its close relatives include garlic, scallion, leek, and chive.

Charter Seeds have been working towards all-year-round onion production in Zimbabwe for several years. 

Winter production of short-day onion varieties has served Zimbabwe well, but it is beset with problems. The supply of onions at the end of winter is so great that there are serious marketing problems. By the end of February, the supply of dry onions has dwindled so much because of storage problems that Zimbabwe has to import.

Storage in Zimbabwe during the rainy season can be very difficult. When the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is overhead causing long periods of overcast weather and rain, humidity can rise above 90% – well above the recommended relative humidity for efficient storage of onions and retention of top quality. In the 2020 to 2021 season, Charter Seeds recommends two varieties of onion for production: IRATI and NGWAZI.

In a small bed on heavy soil behind the Charter Seeds Avondale offices, 12 different onion varieties were sown on 26 January 2021 and treated with the biochemical sequence Charter Seeds has been studying.

In very wet, overcast conditions with periodically saturated soil, NGWAZI came out of the ground first like a proverbial comet. Other varieties that produced beautiful seedlings were trial varieties ON2386 and ON2612 and pink root rot-resistance (PRR) variety VERONICA – a variety of the future.

NGWAZI’s performance in the wet conditions could indicate that the variety could be sown in early January if the subsequent photoperiod is suitable for bulbing. All seedlings will now be thinned out to see what sort of bulb these early onion varieties will produce in April or May.

The sowing sequence with STARKE AYRES onions:

What is the best time to grow King onions?


In spring, plant onion sets outdoors as soon as the ground can be worked, usually in late March or April, when temperatures are no longer likely to dip below 28°F (-2°C). In spring, start onion seeds indoors about 6 weeks before transplanting to the ground (once the soil is at least 50°F).

How long does it take for King onions to grow?

How Long Until Harvest? Onions take about 3 to 4 months from planting to harvest. If you want spring onions, otherwise known as green onions, harvest them about 3 to 4 weeks after you’ve planted your sets. Otherwise, be patient, water, fertilize, and weed.

What is the best time to plant onions in Zimbabwe?

Best grown winter from February to August. However, in Zimbabwe, the crop can be grown all year round but is prone to bolting in summer. Overhead, Pivot, and Micro-jet systems are all suitable methods. Ensure the soil is moist at all times.

How profitable is onion farming in Zimbabwe?

The onion farming business is a very profitable venture to start in Zimbabwe. You can’t talk about cooking in Zimbabwe without the onion. The demand is incessantly high as onions are daily needed for incorporation into things like stews, soups, and salads, amongst many others.