The Best Garlic Varieties to Plant In Your Garden

Many gardeners are surprised by the sheer number of garlic varieties available for planting, and choosing the right one for your growing conditions and personal taste can be tricky.

You may have even heard a couple of terms thrown around, like hardneck and softneck, but what do they really mean? And can you plant just about any garlic in your climate?

I’ll help you unmuddy the waters to find the best kind of garlic to grow in your area.

Softneck garlic varieties


Softneck garlic is named for its soft, braidable stems (famously hung from many an Italian restaurant) and is sometimes called braiding garlic because of that characteristic. You’ll find two groups in this subspecies:


Artichoke softneck varieties are the most domesticated of all garlics, and for good reason: They produce reliably large bulbs and have a simple savory flavor that no one can complain about. 


Though Silverskins are among the latest maturing of all the garlic varieties, they’re also tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions and are quite productive. They’re a great choice for spring-planted garlic if you want a variety that’s more apt to produce decent-sized bulbs by summer.

Hardneck garlic varieties


In general, hardneck garlic varieties have better flavor than softnecks and also outperform them in colder climates, making them the preferred type for northern gardeners.

Purple Stripe

As the most ancient group of garlic, Purple Stripes are beautiful bulbs with vividly colored wrappers dappled in purple. They typically have 8 to 12 cloves per bulb and are easy to grow, though they tend to mature later in the season than other types of garlic.

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