Growing your own garlic opens up a whole new world of flavors, from subtle and sweet to strong and spicy. Better yet, the bulbs are simple to grow and require little space in the garden. Plant cloves in the fall, and you’ll be rewarded with a rich garlic harvest come spring or early summer!
Before you start picking out varieties to try, it’s important to know the main differences between hardneck and softneck garlic – and which type will thrive in your garden.
Hardneck vs. Softneck Garlic
Hardnecks are the best choice for Northern gardeners. These varieties:
- Grow best in cold climates with longer winters.
- Have fewer but larger cloves per bulb.
- Are known for their complex flavors.
- Produce a flower scape that should be cut and enjoyed in cooking!
Softnecks are a better choice for Southern gardeners. These varieties:
- Grow best in warm climates with mild winters.
- Have more but smaller cloves per bulb.
- Are better for storage.
- Do not produce a flower scape and instead have soft, braidable stems.
(Learn more about the two garlic types here.)
Pick Your Perfect Garlic Variety
Explore different flavors of hardneck and softneck garlics using our starter charts below, including a handful of popular varieties. Try growing different ones to taste what you like!