Where someone lives and the type of climate they have can affect what varieties of garlic they can grow. Many
types of garlic prefer regions with cold winters, which means that growing garlic in Canada allows for a
good range of choices.
Garlic varieties are generally categorized into two main groups called hardneck and softneck. There are a huge
number of varieties in both groups and they all have different characteristics.
Hardneck garlic lends its name to the flowering stock it shoots up (or bolts) during the growing season and
subsequently becomes hard. This hard stock starts at the base of the bulb and goes up through the neck, causing it
to be a "hardneck".
Softneck garlic on the other hand does not generally send up a flower stock, unless grown in very cold climates
or abnormal conditions where they can sometimes bolt sporadically. They can be braided and are
the most come garlic found in grocery stores.
In general, hardneck varieties tend to be more suited to cold climates, whereas softneck varieties tend to
thrive in warmer environments (although with a bit of care, both can be grown successfully in most of Canada).
Within the hardneck and softneck groups, there are several families or subgroups which in turn have their own
varieties within. Below are the main family groupings and good variety choices for growing in Canada
Garlics that have a tendency to bolt and form scapes.
Standard Purple Stripe garlic is a diverse group of hardnecks that is considered to be most genetically original
and has been grown for thousands of years. It is believed that all other garlic families have originated from this
group. They have beautiful colouring with bright purple streaks on both bulbs and cloves.
They are very cold hardy and require winter exposure to cold temperatures in order to develop large bulbs.
They are well suited for growing in Canada and tend to perform best in colder climates.
Bulbs are tall with crescent shaped cloves. Bulbs generally produce 8 to 12 cloves each. Umbel capsules
usually contain a large quantity of small to medium sized bulbils. Scape removal is important to ensure maximum
They generally store for 4 to 8 months and have very good flavour which increases in complexity as it
ages. Good for roasting and general cooking.
Popular varieties: Chesnok Red, Italian Purple, Persian Star
Marbled Purple Stripe:
Marbled Purple Stripes are a group of strongly bolting garlics that are cold hardy and require
exposure to cold winter temperatures in order to thrive and develop large bulbs. They are well suited for
growing in Canada and tend to perform best in colder climates.
They are generally harvested in mid-season and are somewhat more tolerant of difficult conditions such as
wet soils. Scape removal is important to ensure maximum bulb size.
Marble Purple Stripe Bulbs tend to have a symmetrical clove structure with beautiful purple
wrappers. They produce 4 to 7 plump cloves per bulb and are generally easy to peel.
They are hot to very hot when raw and add great overall flavour to recipes. Generally have
a storage life of 5 to 8 months.
A popular favorite with many growers.
Popular varieties: Duganskij, Khabar, Kostyn's Red Russian, Metechi, Red Russian.
Glazed Purple Stripe:
Glazed Purple Stripe garlic is a small family group of strongly bolting hardnecks that are
generally know for their beautiful colouring, most notably the glazed or matte metallic appearance
that their bulb wrappers have. The bulb and clove colourations are however, largely influenced by
the location and environmental conditions they are grown in.
These garlics are cold hardy and require exposure to cold temperatures in order to develop good
sized bulbs. They are well suited for growing in Canada. Scape removal is important if maximum bulb
size is desired.
The bulbs contain 8 to 10 plump cloves covered by delicate wrappers requiring care when handling.
From a culinary perspective, they are not overly hot and have good flavour. Generally have a storage life
of 5 to 8 months.
Popular varieties: Purple Glazer, Oregon, Red Rezan
Asiatic (weakly bolting)
Turban (weakly bolting)