Guide to Garlic Varieties

Guide to Garlic Varieties

Guide to Garlic Varieties

Garlic is a member of the allium family, originating in the Caucasus Mountains. They can be either Ophios (hard-necked garlics and Sativum (soft-necked garlics).


These varieties are more rounded, and their stalks are soft and flexible for braiding.



The “regular” garlic at Garden Retreat is the soft necked garlic that you have probably bought at the grocery store. The 1-2″ bulbs are small and white in colour.







Soft necked and similar to the grocery store variety, very large bulbs.




Hardneck varieties do not have a stalk flexible enough for braiding. They have an extremely firm neck protruding an inch or two from the top of the bulb. Hardnecks send out “scapes”, small green stalks that eventually produce more bulbs of garlic. They take energy away from the plant, so most gardeners will cut them off and use them in the kitchen.

Mexican Purple



“Mexican Purple”
Hardneck and extremely flavourful.




Hardneck red, strong flavour.






German Hardneck

“German Hardneck”
These bulbs are about 2″ in diameter, hardnecked.






How to Grow Garlic

  • * Break the bulb into cloves when planting, and leave at least some of the “basal plate” (where the roots develop from) for each clove. Space the plants 4-8 inches apart.
  • * Garlic likes evenly moist,well drained soil. Too much moisture leads to mold, and too little leads to small bulbs.
  • * A few weeks before harvesting, stop watering your garlic when the tops begin to turn brown and dry out. This is usually a sign that the bulbs are almost ready to harvest. Pull up a few bulbs and check that the wrappers are still papery and the bulb has not split open.
  • * After harvesting, hang your garlic in a protected area with good ventilation (add a small fan if the area lacks adequate air flow), so air can reach each surface of the bulb. Allow two weeks for drying.
  • * The bulbs can be stored indoors at cool room temperature (15 degrees) for several months.

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