The good thing about growing your own plants and writing a blog is that it helps learning about a plant by having to research what your doing to make the best choice in seeds and how to grow correctly. I was looking at purchasing garlic to grow and came across so many variations the process became bewildering. So I put together the following information in case anyone else had the same problem in choosing a variety to grow. Full articles in links below. Ive chosen two types to grow a Printanor (softneck) and a French Creole (hardneck) variety based on the climate, length of storage and flavour.
Soft Neck vs Hard Neck what to look for in choosing
Softnecks varieties are more suited to warmer climates with low humidity and dry summers.
Hardnecks are more suited to cooler climates.
There are two very common types of softneck garlic that you’re likely to come across:
Artichoke: These varieties can be grown in a variety of climates and usually mature early in the season. The cloves tend to be relatively large and flat with a mild flavour, and will store well for six to nine months.
Silverskin: More suited to warm climates with mild winters, these varieties mature later in the season. They’re some of the easier varieties to grow, reliably producing high yields of cloves with a hot flavour. Bulbs storing well for up to 12 months. Silverskin garlic is the variety most often sold already made into braids.
Common Types of Weakly Bolting Hardnecks
There are four main types of weakly bolting hardneck garlic, although each group can have several variations within it.
Asiatic: An early maturing type suitable for warm climates, producing large cloves with a good flavour. Storage time is typically five to seven months, though cloves can sometimes start to sprout earlier than that.
Creole: A type that prefers warm climates with mild winters. Matures late, has a hot, rich flavour, and can be stored from eight to 12 months. Perhaps most appreciated for its cloves’ vibrant, rose-coloured skin.
Middle Eastern: Not a popular type of garlic in Australia, as it is suited to cold winters and warm springs. The resulting bulbs have a mild flavour and a medium-to-long storage period.
Turban: A fast-growing, early-maturing type with a hot flavour when raw, turning mild when cooked. Can be stored for three to five months.
Common Types of Strongly Bolting Hardnecks
Garlic varieties in the strongly bolting hardneck group are mainly found under the following categories:
Purple Stripe: Slow maturing type with a rich, strong flavour and medium storage qualities. Purple stripe garlic is thought to be one of the earliest ancestors from which other common varieties have descended.
Glazed Purple Stripe: A late maturing type with a good flavour. Not grown widely in Australia, it is mainly found as a heritage or heirloom bulb.
Marbled Purple Stripe: A type suited to cold climates. Again, this variety is not widely grown in Australia due to its poor storage qualities, but will reward gardeners with large, well-flavoured cloves.
Rocambole: A type suited to cold climates; matures in the middle of the season. The bulbs have a rich, sweet flavour that many feel is the finest of all garlic types, but its sensitivity to overwatering makes it a little temperamental to grow. Each bulb contains eight to 12 cloves in a single layer. Can be stored for four to five months when properly dried.
Porcelain: A type that’s well suited to cold temperate climates. Closely related to Rocambole but easier to grow. Produces four to six large, strongly flavoured cloves in each bulb, and has a storage time of five to seven months.
Variety Type Comments
Australian White mid season Californian type, large white bulb and cloves, selected in South Australia.
California Early mid Popular for temperate climates until recently. White bulbs, flat base allows easy cleaning. A number of selections available.
California Late variety for southern areas, very good storage ability, large bulbs, many small cloves with dark pink skin, less popular than previously.
Creole early Rarely grown after the 1980s comercially.
Cristo late A later variety, white and large bulbs.
Glenlarge early Queensland selection of local garlic with large well-formed white bulbs, 6-12 cloves. Similar to Southern Glen.
Italian White mid Older popular variety for temperate climates. Many selections. Good storage ability.
Moulinor mid Likely to be second to Printanor in Australia. Large white bulbs of a fairly symmetrical nature
New Zealand Purple mid Small bulbs with few cloves, cloves are high quality larger- sized and with purple tips. Rarely grown today.
Printanor mid French origin and proving to be most popular in Australia and New Zealand. 95% of all New Zealand now grows this variety and the percentage is increasing in
Australia.Southern Glen early Queensland selection with large white bulbs, 12-15 cloves, some purpling of clove tips.
Taiwanese strains early Suitable for warmer climates (Queensland), has been replaced by Glenlarge and
Southern Glen, little-grown nowadays
[Garlic Australian White] ‘Australian White’ is a soft-neck, non-bolting type with a white skin and occasional purple marks. It is a medium to large bulb. It requires a cold temperate climate with cold winters, a warm spring and a hot dry summer. Suitable for Victoria and southern NSW and cooler, inland areas further north.
[Garlic Glenlarge] ‘Glenlarge’ is a soft-neck type with a purple skin, selected by Gatton Research Station as being suitable for Australian conditions, from the Atherton Tableland to SA. It is a top-setting, early, day-length neutral garlic, which makes it far more suitable for warmer areas, than other garlic cultivars.
[Garlic Italian White] ‘Italian White’ has a creamy white skin, and forms a medium to large bulb with up to 17 cloves per bulb. It is a softneck garlic which does not produce a flower stem. Do not plant the small, inner bulbs of softneck garlic as they are unlikely to do well. When the garlic bulb is mature the leaves begin to die back.
[Garlic Monaro Purple] ‘Monaro Purple’ is a hardneck or top-setting variety which usually produces a flower stem in early summer. It is mainly suitable for cooler areas. It is also called a ‘rocambole’ variety from the habit the flower stem has of looping over on itself to produce a distinctive twist. Rocambole types have a sweet, nutty flavour with 6-8 cloves per bulb. They are ready to harvest when the coil twist in the flower stem begins to straighten and the flower stem begins to soften. [Garlic Red Rocambole]
‘Red Rocambole’ syn. Creole ‘Rojo de Castro’ is a hardneck or top-setting garlic variety which usually produces a flower stem in early summer. Worth buying just for cooking, this organic garlic is a powerhouse of flavour, definitely one for the gourmet. The silvery white bulbs are smaller than some types but the cloves are a good size with a beautiful and distinctive crimson skin. This garlic has recently been relabelled as a Creole type which makes it suitable for a range of growing areas.