My 4 Favorite Varieties of Garlic

I LOVE garlic. For me garlic is a food group in itself. Garlic is easy to grow, has a great yield, spruces up any dish and makes me feel so much better when I have a cold or sore throat.

This article will introduce you to my 4 favorite garlic varieties.

Get Ready To Plant

Its that time of year to start thinking about ordering garlic seed or going through your saved bulbs to see what you may need. In the hot days of summer I begin planning my garlic for next season.

Garlic is planted in the fall about the same time you plant daffodils. They will get established in the fall and start growing., take a break during winters cold and start up again promptly in early spring.

Read my article How To Grow The Best Garlic

Types of Garlic

There are several types of garlic.

Hardneck

These are usually grown in the north and many of the popular varieties come from Northern and Eastern Europe. They have a lot of character and flavor.

Hardneck garlic grows an upright stiff stalk. The stalk stems from the center of the ring of cloves. There are typically five to eight cloves per bulb.

Towards the summer they produce a scape or flower stalk. Scapes can be cut and made into a variety of dishes.

Hardnecks are divided into Porcelain, Rocambole, and Purple Stripe.

Softneck

This type grows best in warmer climates. I grow softnecks here in Kentucky but I give them a thick straw mulch to protect them during the winter.

The top is soft and traditionally was braided to hold them together during drying. The cloves are formed in multiple rings.

Softneck garlics are more mild in flavor and may be eaten raw. They are the type most found in grocery stores. They produce an abundance of cloves with eight to eighteen in each bulb.

Artichoke and Silverskin are the two main types of softnecks. They have white, papery skin and don’t produce a flower stalk.

Softneck garlic stores well.

Elephant Garlic

Elephant garlic is actually not a garlic at all. It is a member of the leek family. Elephant garlic has a very mild flavor.

My Top 4

Inchelium Red

This wonderful Artichoke Garlic has a mild yet full flavor. It is great eaten raw and is a good keeper. The large bulb has two rings of cloves. It contains between 8 - 20 good sized bulbs. Rodale named it named "Very Best of the Soft-Necks."

This variety on Amazon comes from the Inchelium, WA, on the Colville Indian Reservation. Vigorous strain that will grow well in your garden.

Russian Red

This beautiful heirloom garlic has purple stripes with a red clove that really make it stand out. More importantly it stands up to soggy soil well and is less prone to rot. Forms 5-8 plump, juicy cloves with a delicious garlic flavor.

Russian Red is a hardneck Rocambole garlic type. These varieties have a shorter shelf life about six months - but mine never last that long anyway. The scapes are particularly good!

Music Garlic

I love music - both the instrumental and the garlic kind. Music is a porcelain hardneck garlic type. They are excellent for long term storage. Produces 5 -7 cloves per bulb.

Music is very productive and tolerates heavier soils. I always have good luck with this variety. This traditional Northern Italian variety does well in cooler climates.

Music produces large, mouthwatering cloves with just a hint of heat. If eaten raw it has more kick to it. Cooked it has a sweeter taste. Great for baking.

This variety from Amazon is certified organic and comes from a seller I have used several times.

Chesnok Red

This variety is also called Shvelisi, after the village in the country of Georgia where it was first collected. Great for baking, stir fry or using to make a vinaigrette. This is a purple stripe garlic. The purple stripe types are closely related to wild garlic and originate from Central Asia.

This variety smells heavenly while cooking and has a bit of a heat. Holds up well during the cooking process. Large bulbs have 9-10 cloves each.


Garlic has many benefits. It has medicinal qualities and is a wonderful addition to any dish. Read my article Garlic Uses For Health and Cooking.