Hardneck vs. softneck garlic are different types that, at times, can be hard to know the qualities among farmers. The two garlic types offer different flavors, are grown in different areas, and have various culinary uses.Hardneck Vs Softneck Garlic

Softneck garlic is consistent with a mild flavor and is mostly commercially grown because of its long shelf life, while the hardneck types have a complex flavor. See more differences in this article, as we will lead you through them in details.

Features  Hardneck garlic Softneck garlic
Skin type Hard, more brittle skin that’s easy to peel Papery skin that is challenging to peel
Size  Hardneck garlic bulbs are big, with a few cloves Have small-sized bulbs with many tiny cloves
Flower             They have a long flowering stem called stapes They don’t flower
Longevity  Have a short storage life of four to six months Have a longer storage life lasting nine to twelve months.

What Are the Main Differences Between Hardneck and Softneck Garlic?

The main difference between hardneck vs. softneck garlic is in the arrangement of the cloves. Hardneck garlic has a single row of large cloves in the bulb. Whereas softneck has many rows of cloves packed with many tiny cloves in one head.

If you are keen on garlic taste, you can use this to differentiate the two types for instance, the hardneck one has a superior garlic flavor, although it is less common because of its short storage life. And if you like your garlic roasted or raw, this is the preferred choice. If you cannot withstand the harsh garlic taste, the softneck type will be ideal. They are more common, so the taste is familiar.

When growing softneck and hardneck type of garlic in the garden, you can tell their difference by checking the growth habit. The hardneck type produces garlic scapes, the flowering stalks that form the bulbils.

You must also know the difference in the growing conditions of the garlic types to make an informed decision. The hardneck garlic varieties grow best in cold climates and tolerate hard winter conditions.

The last key difference between the garlic types is their longevity. Hardneck varieties are less common because of their short storage life. They can go up to six months after harvest. Most farmers grow softneck types for commercial purposes because of their long storage potential.

Exploring Hardneck Garlic Features, Varieties, and Uses

Hardneck garlic features include growing from the grounds as they get pulled from the bulbs as they have long flowering stems, and they are ones that have fewer cloves when they grow. In addition, they can last up to six months after they are harvested.Uses of Hardneck Garlic

What is more magical and satisfying to farmers than pulling plump garlic bulbs from the ground? That’s how it feels when growing hardneck type. Also called llium sativum var. ophioscorodon, this garlic type has a hard stalk at the center, hence the name.

Planting garlic is easy and this is because this type grows in cold zones and are more familiar to Northern gardeners, and this is because they can survive freezing winters, though some varieties do better in warmer temperatures. A thick, more brittle skin characterizes this garlic type. You will enjoy peeling the allium sativum when cooking because the hard skin easily comes off.

However, you might need more cloves depending on your meal size. The garlic type has fewer large cloves per bulb, which might need to be more for an enormous pot. But this shouldn’t worry you because the varieties have a more pronounced garlic taste. This will compensate for the small number of cloves per bulb.

– Garlic Types

The main types of hardneck garlic are porcelain, Rocambole, and purple stripe garlic. Porcelain garlic grows in warm climates and is common in southern climate zones. It is an easy-to-grow garlic that prefers slightly acidic soil. Its cloves are large and easy to peel and produce a strong flavor. The bulb has a shimmery appearance, a reason for its popularity.

The rocambole garlic is also called the sand leek garlic, the most common hardneck type. Chefs prefer it because of its distinctive flavor. However, it is a complex growing type and must undergo a cold season to mature properly. The rocambole type has the poorest storage life of about four months but is easy to peel and is one of the famous ones.

Another beautifully variegated garlic type is the purple-striped garlic. It has a clove of mild garlic, and the purple-skinned cloves have a papery skin. Growing the glazed purple garlic is easy, and it prefers planting at least two weeks before frost. It has five to seven months of longevity, and chefs like it for its raw flavor. Other types are German Red and Elephant garlic.

– Planting Style

Whether you are planting hardneck garlic for sale or consumption, the growing guide is easy. First, there are no special seeds to plant. Simply separate the cloves and plant them in the soil. The best time for growing garlic is in the fall. This ensures the plant roots before winter arrives and the ground freezes; this is a special request for this type of garlic.

You can grow garlic alongside vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, and peppers because it keeps pests away. But don’t plant it next to peas or beans, and together with this, you must also ensure there is enough ground space to form full-grown garlic bulbs.

– Growth Requirements

Growing hardneck type of garlic is easy because it has fewer growth requirements. The crop requires exposure to full sun in the developing stages. However, the cloves form better in cooler temperatures.Full Grown Garlic Bulbs

You don’t need to be very keen on watering this type of garlic; you must ensure you water deeply every ten days. You don’t require watering after harvesting them. Too much water causes rotting of the cloves, so ensure you grow them in well-draining soils.

– Harvesting

Hardneck type of garlic appears at different times, depending on your zone; however, you should prepare to harvest a month after harvesting the scapes. You can tell it is time to harvest once you notice two dead or dry leaves at the base of the plant. If they are unavailable, look for the third drying leaf.

When it comes to harvesting, you must also know that the bulbs require the task to be done at the right time because they are still wrapped in leaves. After a while, the leaf dies, and bacteria feed on it. Depending on the variety you planted, you can use a pitchfork or spade to remove the bulb. You can also pull the hardneck types but first coax the soil.

– How To Store

Once you have pulled the garlic from the ground, air dry it on a drying rack. You can clean the bulbs by removing dirt, debris, and the topmost dried layer of the skin. Then, trim the stalk to remain with the clove and store them in a dry place.

Exploring Softneck Garlic Features, Varieties, and Uses

Softneck garlic growing is easier to grow and harvest. It is more common because of its long shelf life and is commonly grown commercially. The garlic type has a long life so that it can be harvested, stored, and exported to different countries for sale.

– Characteristics

The softneck type of garlic has many tiny cloves in every bulb, and the cloves vary in size depending on the garlic variety. These have a less pronounced garlic taste, and since they are most commercially grown, their flavor is familiar to many, and they would give flavor, but not as pungently.Softneck Garlic Features

The tiny cloves are wrapped in a papery skin that can be stubborn to peel. When growing, this garlic variety does not produce a hard stalk. Instead, it has leaves that remain soft and flexible at maturity. They also lack the flowering structure or shape, which results in more cloves arranged in layers.

– Growing Conditions

The scapes are thick and fibrous. Softneck varieties of garlic don’t flower, so they lack scapes. Softneck types prefer warmer climates, although some can handle cold temperatures. However, most softneck varieties cannot grow in freezing temperatures. In short, this type of garlic grows better in warm climates, and although some varieties can withstand cold, they die at freezing temperatures.

– Varieties

You choose the best softneck garlic varieties depending on the flavor, growing nature, and longevity. Softneck types of garlic are grouped into two varieties; artichoke and Silverskin garlic.Best Softneck Garlic

The artichoke garlic is an easy-to-grow softneck type that does well in slightly acidic soil. It is a common choice for home gardeners because of its easy growing and produces large bulbs with six to 25 cloves. It can also last up to 10 months after harvest and is easier to peel softneck garlic.

If you don’t like a concentrated taste of garlic, try the Silverskin type. It grows in cold zones but can tolerate heat. This type stays for up to 12 months after harvest and produces 8-40 cloves.

Besides softneck garlic and allium sativum, there are other varieties. For example, black garlic is a fresh garlic bulb. Whole cloves have been aged by warming or through yeast fermentation. The process changes the amino acids and sugars in the garlic, leaving it black and with a rich, tangy molasses flavor. This garlic type is used in beer production.

You can also grow spring garlic if you want a mixed taste of the two types. This garlic type is immature and has not been divided yet. You can enjoy it fresh or as a green onion. The leaves are chopped into a salad, used as a vegetable, or eaten raw.

– Harvesting

There is no difference in harvesting softneck and allium sativum. Wait until the first lower leaves turn brown to harvest. You must do the main harvest timely because waiting until the leaves turn brown overripens the bulbs, and the cloves start separating. Harvesting the bulbs too early leaves you with small bulbs with short storage life.

– Storing

Hardneck vs. softneck garlic storage is also similar. You should first cure them by allowing the bulbs to dry slowly by exposing them to open air, but away from sunlight. You can use the leaves to cure the garlic, protecting your harvest from pests.

Then, clean the bulb by trimming the roots and leaves. Ensure it is completely dry, and remove the topmost wrappers before storage. Keep your produce in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. Also, avoid storing the bulbs in the refrigerator because cold temperatures trigger their sprouting.


This discussion shows the differences between hardneck and softneck garlic, so gardeners understand them. Hardneck garlic grows a hard stalk between the bulbs. Hence, the name also has more giant bulbs with fewer cloves and more concentrated garlic. On the other hand, softneck type doesn’t grow the hard flower stalk and has a mild garlic taste.

Whether to grow hardneck or softneck types of garlic depends on your climatic conditions and your needs. hardneck types do well in cold climates and have a more pronounced flavor. The softneck type is common in warmer temperatures, is grown commercially, and has a mild garlic taste.

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