Onion productivity is constrained by several factors among which soil salinity was claimed by producers in Ethiopia. Therefore, experimental research was conducted at Melkasa Agricultural Research Center in laboratory with objectives of evaluation of onion cultivars for germination ability with salinized water at room temperature. Five salt stress levels (distilled water (0), 1.2, 4, 8, and 12 dSm-1) and five onion cultivars (Adama Red, Bombey Red, Nasic Red, Nafis and Agrifound (pipeline cultivar)) were factorially (5x5) arranged in Complete Randomized Design with three replications in the laboratory. Collected germination data were subjected to analysis of variance using SAS version 9.3. The analysis revealed highly significant variations in seed germination percentage, seedling shoot length, seedling root length, shoot to root length ratio, fresh and dry weight for salt levels at (P<0.001) and significant differences among cultivars at (P<0.05) in germination rate and shoot to root length ratio. It also showed very highly significant differences in seedling vigor index for the main effects and their interaction at (P< 0.001). Generally, the study showed that up to 4 dSm-1) salt levels did not affects germination and germination parameters. However, further investigation is needed under naturally salt affected soils.
Keywords: Onion, salt stress, germination, NaCl, Bombey Red