Your Guide to Garlic Varieties for the UK Climate

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Your Guide to Garlic Varieties for the UK Climate

Fresh garlic grown from your own plants and harvested at the peak of flavour is a great way to add pizzaz to home cooked meals. Chosen and planted correctly for the UK climate, garlic bulbs can be a part of your secret to great food. Understanding how garlic can thrive in the sometimes-challenging UK climate conditions helps ensure a superb yield.


Selecting Garlic Varieties

Planting varieties that do well in UK soil and climate ensures better yield and flavour. Garlic bulbs from the market are not suitable for planting as they may have been sterilised or contain pesticides.


Garlic Variety


Solent Wight

A popular variety

Autumn and spring planting

Early Wight

Early maturing

Harvested at end of May from autumn planting


Late maturing

Features vibrant purple skinned cloves

Purple Heritage Moldovan

Purple Moldovan

Late maturing

An heirloom plant

Chesnok Wight

Early summer maturing

Features deep purple veins and strong flavour

Lautrec Wight

Matures in early summer

Suitable for both autumn and spring planting

Red Sicilian

Matures in early summer

Good for roasting and long simmering


Harvested wild garlic does well in UK soil as well.


Soil Preparation

Garlic is one of the easier plants to grow; however, you need to keep two key factors in mind. Firstly, the bulbs tend to rot if the soil is not freely draining. They do not care for wet roots and soil. If the soil is moisture retaining, dig in compost and sand. An alternative is to grow the bulbs in terracotta containers or ceramic pots. Secondly, garlic plants need full sun, although a bit of morning or late afternoon shade is not a problem. Garlic and onions are from the same family and it is best not to plant garlic where you have planted onions, leeks, or tomatoes in the two previous years or in previously used garlic planters.



Garlic thrives well in dry weather, but the plants benefit from an occasional good watering to keep the bulbs growth even, especially in particularly dry periods. From mid-July, it is best not to give any water to prevent rot setting in the nearly grown bulbs. Garlic benefits from regular weeding.



Planting garlic is easy and you can do it from a garlic bulb sold for that purpose. A garlic clove is the individual piece of garlic removed from the garlic bulb. To harvest a clove, first split the skin gently and peel most of the white paper covering to expose the cloves and separate them. Use the small ones for cooking and plant the larger ones. Make a small hole in the soil and place the clove into the soil with the smaller end facing down. The top of the clove should be just below the surface of the soil, leaving a tiny part protruding. Store harvested garlic in a dark area or in a garlic pot.

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