We love growing garlic and we hope sharing our knowledge from years of growing (and eating!) helps you enjoy the garlic growing experience too! There are two main classes of garlic (Softneck & Hardneck). Within these two main classes there are 9 types. One of the 9 types is Elephant Garlic which is botanically considered a Leek! We'll look at the 8 types planted in the USA. Find out which ones are right for you!

Don Tipping of Siskiyou Seeds explains key attributes of the main garlic types & varieties


Softneck types include: Artichoke & Silverskin varieties.

Softneck Garlics are best for braiding, generally store longer and have a milder flavor. Once dried down, their stalks are pliable and can be braided which enhances storage as there is not cut open entry for fungus and garlic mites. Softnecks do NOT produce scapes. Most people consider softneck garlic easier to grow and more forgiving. 

Artichoke types: These are the classic softneck varieties planted and sold most commonly. Artichoke strains are generally the most productive and easy to grow of all garlic varieties, they have multiple layers of cloves with as many as twenty large plump cloves in a single bulb. Artichoke strains can be grown successfully in almost any climate. Approximately 65 cloves per pound and will store about 10 months. We offer the both Inchelium and Siskiyou Purple as an excellent examples of this type.  

Silverskin types: These are the most common varieties sold in super markets mostly on account of the clean white bulb wrappers and exceptional storage capabilities. They are a softneck type and produce numerous rows of small cloves (12-20/bulb.) They are also our latest garlic to harvest every season. Approximately 70 cloves per pound and store about 10-12 months. We currently offer Silver Rose.

Braided Softneck Garlic, Siskiyou Seeds


Hardneck types include: Asiatic, Creole, Glazed, Porcelain, Purple Stripe, Rocambole and Turban.

These are more "primitive" types that produce a false flower stalk (aka scape). Growing Hardneck garlic requires a bit more focus upon proper fertility, weed control and watering to achieve large bulbs. However, you are rewarded with easy to peel, beautiful and more richly flavored garlic than softneck types.

For scapes, we typically will break the scape off when it begins to form a solid corkscrew which is typically sometime in May. If left on the plant to grow, they will eventually straighten out and “flower,” but this takes energy from the developing bulb and the thought is that breaking them off makes for larger bulbs.

In rare instances, hardneck garlic can produce true flowers and seeds, but it is difficult to grow garlic this way and would take 2 years to grow it into a normal sized bulb. Plus…they are delicious to use as “green” garlic. Our favorite recipe is to coat garlic scapes with olive oil and salt and grill them as you would asparagus. 

Asiatic types: Raw flavor is spicy and builds to a fiery intensity. As they are more adapted to more northern climates than ours here in SW Oregon we do not grow, nor offer any of these hardneck varieties. Also their short storage life 4-8 months means that they have more limited appeal and use. We offer one asiatic type: Pyong Yang.

Creole types: Creoles are hardnecks that dont always scape.  Creole type garlics are known to be adaptable and tolerant to adverse conditions. In cold winter climates areas they tend to produce weak scapes and none at all in the south. They also have magnificent bright pink red clove wrappers and store exceptionally well. Approximately 80 cloves per pound and store about 10-12 months. We usually grow the creole variety Donostia.

German White, Porcelain Type

Porcelain types: These are our favorites to grow and use here on our family farm.  They are a hard neck type with large 4-6 large, easy to peel cloves.  They only have about 40 cloves per pound so you need much more seed than other types to plant the same area.  Well adapted to northern, colder climates but also perform well with our periodically warm late springs here in Oregon.  Porcelain types produce scapes in late spring. Approximately 40 cloves per pound and store about 6 months.  We offer both German White and Music as fine specimens of this type.

Purple Stripe types: These are the most beautiful and full flavored garlics thst you can grow because of their colorful striping on the bulbs and brilliant red to mahogany clove wrappers.  This hard neck type usually wins the best baked garlic in taste offs. Contain 8-12 cloves per bulbs and produce scapes in late spring. Approximately 60 cloves per pound and store about 4-6 months. We offer 3 varieties of this type: Chesnok RedSiberian, Zemo Mtsara

Chesnok Garlic (Photo Wild Plum Farm)

Rocambole types: This hard neck type is renowned for their complex and full flavor, often referred to as "true garlic flavor."  We have found that they do not size up well with our warm springs here in Oregon and are better adapted to more northern climates so we do not offer any varieties at this time. Approximately 60 cloves per pound and store about 4-6 months.

Turban types: These are originally from SE Asia and are weak bolting harnecks meaning that they will make scapes in northern climates but not in warmer, southern latitudes. They are attractive with flattened purple blotched bulbs that mature up to a month before any other garlics. Approximately 60 cloves per pound and store about 4 months. We offer two varieties of this type: Basque and Chinese Pink. 

Basque Turban Type Garlic, Siskiyou Seeds