Explore a Variety of Garlic Types for Your Garden and Discover Their Unique Flavors and Characteristics

Explore a Variety of Garlic Types for Your Garden and Discover Their Unique Flavors and Characteristics

When it comes to garlic, there are a multitude of varieties to choose from. From the vibrant and flavorful hardneck varieties to the convenient and long-storing softneck types, each variation offers a unique taste and culinary experience. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, growing garlic in your own garden is a great way to add flavor to your meals and experiment with different types.

One of the most well-known and widely-grown garlic varieties is the softneck garlic. This type, also known as “common garlic”, is much more adaptable to different climates and soil conditions than its hardneck counterparts. It produces multiple cloves in a single bulb, with a milder, but still delicious, flavor. Softneck garlic varieties can typically be stored for up to 8 months, making them a staple in many kitchens.

If you’re looking for a garlic variety that packs a punch, then hardneck garlic might be the choice for you. Hardneck garlic produces fewer but larger cloves, with a more intense and complex flavor profile. They are also known for having a vibrant and spicy taste, making them a favorite among garlic lovers. Hardneck garlic varieties are best harvested in early summer, and their bulbs can typically be stored for up to 6 months.

Another interesting type of garlic is the elephant garlic. Despite its name, elephant garlic is not actually a true garlic variation, but rather a type of leek. It produces large, mild-flavored cloves with a texture similar to garlic. Elephant garlic is known for its adaptability and can be grown in a variety of climates. While it may not have the strong flavor of other garlic varieties, it is still a great addition to any dish.

In Canada, where the cold winters can be harsh, many gardeners opt to grow hardy garlic varieties such as the Rocambole and Porcelain. These hardneck garlic varieties are known for their ability to withstand cold temperatures and produce flavorful bulbs. With their rich and complex flavor, they are a must-have for any Canadian gardener looking to grow garlic.

Whether you’re a seasoned garlic grower or just starting out, there are countless garlic varieties to choose from. From the classic softneck and hardneck types to the unique elephant garlic, each variety offers its own unique flavor and culinary experience. So why not plant some garlic in your garden this year and enjoy the delicious flavors it brings to your meals?

The Best Garlic Varieties For Canada 18 Comments

Canada is an ideal place for growing garlic due to its cold climate and long winters. There are several garlic varieties that have proven to be well-suited to Canadian conditions. Here are some of the best garlic varieties for Canada:

  • Solo (1450): This variety is suitable for colder climates and produces large bulbs with a smooth and tight wrapper.
  • Music (1112): Known for its mild flavor and large cloves, Music garlic is a popular choice among Canadian garlic growers.
  • German White (2023): This variety originates from Eastern Europe and is highly adaptable to different growing conditions. It has a strong flavor and is well-suited for cooking.
  • Vancouver (1858): This garlic variety is named after the city it was first cultivated in. It has a full and rich flavor, making it a favorite among garlic lovers.
  • Italian Red (1424): Characterized by its marbled appearance, Italian Red garlic has a complex flavor profile with both sweet and spicy notes. It is perfect for using in sauces and pickled recipes.
  • Porcelain (2020): Porcelain garlic is known for its large cloves and strong flavor. It has a white outer wrapper and is easy to peel.
  • Silverskins (15-4): Silverskin garlic is a variety that can be stored for a long time due to its tight protective wrapper. It has a strong and pungent flavor.

These garlic varieties were selected based on their ability to thrive in Canadian growing conditions and their flavor profiles. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced gardener, these garlic varieties are sure to give you a successful harvest. So, why not try growing some of these amazing garlic varieties in your Canadian garden?

What are your favorite garlic varieties for growing in Canada? Leave your comments below!

Canada’s Climate

Canada’s climate is highly variable, with diverse weather patterns across the country. The climate ranges from subarctic in the north to temperate in the south. These varying conditions impact the ability to grow different types of garlic.

Garlic varieties can be categorized into two main types: hardneck and softneck garlic. Hardneck garlic, known for its hard stalk and small cloves, thrives in colder climates. It is more adaptable to winters and is often preferred by gardeners in Canada.

Softneck garlic, on the other hand, has a soft stem and larger cloves. It is more commonly found in warmer regions, as it has less hardiness to withstand freezing temperatures. However, certain softneck varieties, such as the Silverskins, can still be grown in Canada with some extra care and protection.

In Canada, some of the popular garlic varieties include the Porcelain type. This variety has large, white cloves and offers a strong flavor. It is suitable for roasting and adding to various recipes. Another type is the Rocambole variety, which has a more intense flavor and typically produces fewer but larger cloves.

Intermediate garlic varieties, such as the Purple Stripe and Marbled Purple Stripe, are also grown in Canada. These varieties have distinctive purple-striped wrappers and offer a medium flavor that falls between the Porcelain and Rocambole types.

Garlic has a long history in Canada, with some reports indicating its cultivation as early as 1851. Today, local farmers and garlic enthusiasts continue to explore different garlic forms and variations that can adapt to Canada’s climate.

Overall, Canada’s climate provides a suitable environment for growing a wide range of garlic varieties, from hardneck to softneck types. Whether you are a seasoned garlic gardener or a beginner, there are garlic varieties that can thrive in Canada and enhance your cooking experiences.

Best Varieties For Canada

When it comes to growing garlic in Canada, there are several varieties that are well-suited to the colder climate. These varieties have been specially developed to thrive in Canadian winters and produce flavorful bulbs. Here are some of the best garlic varieties to consider for your Canadian garden:

  1. Porcelain Garlic: This type of garlic is known for its large cloves and mild flavor. It has a thick, white skin and a creamy texture when cooked. Popular varieties of porcelain garlic include Music, German White, and Romanian Red.
  2. Rocambole Garlic: Rocambole garlic is known for its complex and rich flavor. It has a purple skin and easily peels off to reveal cloves that are often arranged in a circular pattern. Popular varieties of rocambole garlic include Spanish Roja, German Extra Hardy, and Purple Stripe.
  3. Hardneck Garlic: Hardneck garlic varieties are characterized by their woody stem, which produces a flower stalk known as a scape. These garlics have a bold and spicy flavor, making them a favorite among gourmet chefs. Popular varieties of hardneck garlic include Purple Glazer, Romanian Red, and German Red.
  4. Porcelain Garlic: This type of garlic is known for its large cloves and mild flavor. It has a thick, white skin and a creamy texture when cooked. Popular varieties of porcelain garlic include Music, German White, and Romanian Red.
  5. Standard Garlic: Standard garlic varieties are known for their versatility and adaptability to various climates. They have a solid, reliable flavor and are often used in everyday cooking. Popular varieties of standard garlic include Early Italian, Italian Late, and California Late.
  6. Softneck Garlic: Softneck garlic varieties are known for their long shelf life and easy braiding. They have a milder flavor compared to hardneck garlic and are often used for making garlic powder and granulated garlic. Popular varieties of softneck garlic include Silverskin, California Early, and Italian Late.

No matter which variety of garlic you choose to grow in your Canadian garden, it is important to plant the garlic bulbs in the fall, around September or October. This will allow the garlic to establish roots before the cold winter sets in. Come springtime, you’ll see the garlic plants emerge from the ground and begin to grow. Harvesting usually takes place in July or August, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

Remember to store your harvested garlic bulbs in a cool and dry place to prevent them from sprouting or rotting. Proper curing and storing techniques will ensure that your garlic lasts well into the winter months, supplying you with delicious and flavorful cloves all year round.


The Porcelain garlic, also referred to as Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon, is a hardneck garlic variety with a fascinating history. It is thought to have originated in Europe and has been cultivated since the 15th century. The name “porcelain” is derived from the garlic’s smooth, white wrapper, which resembles fine porcelain.

Porcelain garlic is known for its large cloves, typically four to six per bulb. The cloves are easy to peel and have a high allicin content, giving them a strong and intense flavor. Many people describe the taste as spicy and hot, making it a great addition to a wide range of recipes. They can be used raw or cooked and add a distinct flavor to dishes.

This garlic variety is known for its long storage life, often lasting until late spring or even early summer. Some examples can be kept well beyond that, making it a popular choice for those who want to have fresh garlic throughout the year. It is often said that porcelain garlic tastes better after a few months of storage, as the flavors tend to mellow and blend together.

Porcelain garlic is typically planted in the fall, usually between October and November. It needs a longer growing season and requires a cold winter period to develop properly. The harvest usually takes place in late spring or early summer, after the garlic has finished flowering. The bulbs are then left to cure for a few weeks, which improves their flavor and allows them to store longer.

There are several variations of porcelain garlic, including the Music, German White, and Romanian Red. Each of these types has its own unique characteristics, but they all share the smooth, white wrapper that is typical of porcelain garlic. Some of them have a purple tinge on the wrapper or cloves, while others may have a black wrapper, adding to the visual appeal of this variety.

Porcelain garlic is suitable for growing in a wide range of climates, including Canada’s colder regions. It is especially well-adapted to areas with long, cold winters and mild summers. If you live in a warmer climate, it may be best to grow this garlic variety as a spring planting, as it might not survive the hot summers.

In summary, porcelain garlic is a hardneck variety with large cloves and an intense flavor. It is known for its smooth, white wrapper and long storage life. Whether you choose to eat it raw or cooked, porcelain garlic is a versatile ingredient that can enhance the taste of many dishes. Its distinct flavor and lasting quality make it a favorite among gardeners and chefs alike.

Variety Origin Clove Count Taste
Music Canada 4-6 Spicy, hot
German White Germany 4-6 Spicy, intense
Romanian Red Romania 4-6 Robust, hot

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.