‘Warrior’ onion is not just for the dinner table

Published 3:01 pm Friday, May 15, 2020

By JASON REEVES
UT Gardens, Jackson
The ‘Warrior’ onion is not just a plant for the dinner table.
A 2016 All American Selection winner, “Warrior” onion has become one of my favorite plants for its beautiful blue spiky foliage that stands out all season long.
Commonly referred to as a green, spring, or bunching onion, “Warrior” is good for eating but great when used an ornamental. This selection is easy to grow from seed or plants. Sow seed indoors in March or outdoors in mid to late April. Seed can be direct sown in the garden, but for best results, start them in good quality potting soil in trays or pots. Transplant them into the garden 3 to 6 inches apart once they are 3 to 6 inches tall. For eating purposes, they will mature as early as 60 days and are good raw as scallions or cooked and perfect for grilling whole. They also stay tender longer than most other spring onions.
Leave them alone and they become onions of great beauty. The spiky blue leaves will grow to the size of your thumb, reaching 16 to 22 inches tall, and remain attractive into the winter. Unlike most blue foliaged plants, Warrioronions remain glaucous blue all year. They look great poking thorough lower growing flowers like vinca, angelonia, and compact forms of cosmos in garden beds. They also make excellent “thriller” elements in a pot.
As with other onions, Warrior onions perform best in full sun in average to dry soil. In a normal to mild winter, they will overwinter and produce 2- to 3-inch heads of small white flowers, attracting pollinators in the spring.
In addition to the specimens in the UT Gardens, Jackson, you can find Warrior onions near the Friendship Plaza at the UT Gardens, Knoxville, and in their kitchen garden.