Softneck Garlic: Complete Guide!

Explore the world of softneck garlic with our comprehensive guide, covering planting, harvesting, braiding, and curing tips.


5/1/20243 min read

white garlic
white garlic

Softneck garlic, a beloved culinary staple, holds a prominent place in kitchens worldwide. In this article, we delve into the world of softneck garlic, exploring its unique characteristics, culinary uses, and growing tips. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a novice cook, understanding the nuances of softneck garlic can elevate your culinary creations to new heights. Join us as we explore the versatility and flavor of this beloved member of the allium family.

What is Softneck Garlic?

Softneck garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum var. sativum, is a versatile variety prized for its mild flavor and extended shelf life. Unlike hardneck garlic, softneck garlic lacks the rigid central stalk, resulting in a more flexible stem suitable for braiding. This type of garlic typically produces multiple layers of cloves wrapped in a papery outer skin. Softneck garlic is well-suited to a variety of culinary applications, from roasting and sautéing to raw consumption in salads and dressings. Its adaptability, long storage potential, and milder taste make it a popular choice among home gardeners and professional chefs alike.

3 Reasons to Plant Softneck Garlic

Planting softneck garlic offers several gardening benefits beyond its culinary appeal.

  1. Adaptability: Softneck garlic thrives in diverse climates and soil types, making it a versatile option for various garden environments.

  2. Extended Storage: Enjoy a prolonged harvest with softneck garlic, as it typically boasts a longer shelf life compared to other varieties, providing gardeners with an extended period to enjoy their bounty.

  3. Braiding Potential: With its flexible stems, softneck garlic is perfect for braiding, adding both functionality and visual appeal to your garden space.

Softneck garlic offers adaptability to diverse climates, extended storage potential, and the aesthetic appeal of braiding. In comparison, while hardneck garlic excels in cold hardiness, produces flavorful scapes, and contributes to soil health with its deep roots. One more reason to consider softneck garlic is that it provides a broader range of culinary and storage benefits for gardeners.

Using Softneck Garlic in the Kitchen

Softneck garlic brings a burst of flavor and versatility to the kitchen. Its mild yet distinctive taste makes it perfect for a wide range of dishes, from savory sauces to hearty soups and stir-fries. Whether minced, sliced, or roasted whole, softneck garlic adds depth and aroma to your favorite recipes. For a delicious homemade treat, try whipping up a batch of creamy garlic aioli—it's the perfect accompaniment to sandwiches, fries, and more! Check out our garlic aioli recipe for a simple and scrumptious way to elevate your meals with the irresistible taste of softneck garlic.

Where to Buy Softneck Garlic for Planting

When shopping for softneck garlic bulbs for planting, consider reputable sources known for quality products. Local nurseries and garden centers often offer a selection of garlic varieties suitable for your region, such as California Early and Italian Late. Additionally, farmers' markets are excellent places to find freshly harvested garlic bulbs, ensuring viability and freshness. For a convenient option, explore online retailers like Amazon, which provide a wide range of garlic varieties and reputable sellers. When selecting bulbs, look for plump, firm cloves with intact skins, as these indicate high-quality and healthy specimens ready for planting!


When to harvest softneck garlic?

Harvest softneck garlic when the lower leaves begin to turn brown and dry, typically in late spring or early summer.

When to plant softneck garlic?

Plant softneck garlic in the fall, around 4-6 weeks before the first frost date in your area, to allow for root development before winter.

How to tell hardneck from softneck garlic?

Hardneck garlic has a stiff central stalk, while softneck garlic lacks this characteristic, often exhibiting a more flexible stem suitable for braiding.

How to braid softneck garlic?

To braid softneck garlic, start by gathering several bulbs with their stems intact, then intertwine the stems in a simple braid pattern (like a plait), securing the end with twine or ribbon.

How to cure softneck garlic?

After harvesting, cure softneck garlic by drying the bulbs in a warm, well-ventilated area (like a garage or shed) for 2-3 weeks, allowing the outer layers to dry and the flavors to concentrate.