I've been collecting different types of garlic for around 8 years now and have a number of other garlic varieties, many of which have been grown in New Zealand for at least 20 years.


We now have well over 15 varieties and counting including most of Koanga's seed line/ Henry Harrington's collection, and a range of named and un-named varieties aquired from farmer's markets, organic food shops, swap meets, garlic growers, and trade me.


It seems there are a lot of very interesting varieties around, but many seem to be grown by one or two individuals and only readily available at farmer's markets.


I would like to find a few equally fanatical growers to trade/gift garlic and information with and spread and preserve our heritage garlic for others to grow. We have passed on some seed to a few interested growers already and will have a very small amount to pass on after the growing season. Let me know if interested.


Some of our line don't appear to be grown by the original sellers, and are in danger of being lost by us. We do ok but the room we have available and the climate here is less than ideal for garlic.


I'll post some pics of our garlic shortly. Where the garlic is unnamed (as is frequently the case) I've named it after the area it was grown or the seller.


At present we have (H= hardneck, S= softneck):

Californian Early (S). From local grower, tree crops member. Strain is an old commercial variety which was common in New Zealand at one time. Robust and reliable. Has a striping on it at the top common to some older types.

Printator (S). Standard commercial variety. I obtained mine from the same seller as I got the Californian Early. 

Coromandel Giant (S). Ex commercial variety grown for some years.  Aside from our local grower the biggest bulbs I have ever seen anywhere.

Matakana (S). Commercial variety purchased in Northland. Could be Printator but doesn't look like my strain.

Hawera Pink (S). Beautiful old strain found growing "wild" in a garden in Otago before being grown in Hawera.

Heirloom Red (S). Old ex commercial variety purchased from Auckland with reddish coloured cloves. Has been grown around 30 years.

Blue Garlic (S). Obtained from a Malborough grower who sells at farmer's markets. Very pretty.

Softneck Purple Stripe (S). Very pretty striped variety obtained from a Malborough grower. 

European Purple Stripe (S). Obtained from a Otago grower. Said to be a very old European variety.

Sarah's Softneck (S). Named after a Marlborough grower who has cultivated it for some years. Large, robust variety. 

Kakanui (S). Southern variety popularised by Henry Harrington. It never grows as well for me as people further South.

Takahue (S). Ex Koanga.

Cristo (S) Endangered. Popular European variety. Ex Canterberries.

Messidrome (S) Endangered. Popular European variety. Ex Canterberries.

Spanish Red (S). Ex Country Trading. Very reliable, robust, old fashioned garlic. Has apparently been grown in Marlborough for over 30 years.

Waimate (S). Vaguely similar to Spanish Red Softneck but grown commercially. A very reliable, robust, old fashioned garlic from Waimate.

Karioi White (S). Ex commercial variety grown for around 35 years by a local Waikato grower.

Ian's Silverskin (S) endangered. Ex commercial variety grown for around 30 years by a local Waikato grower, grown for some years and passed on to me by Ian. Looks similar to Printator

Henry's Soft Top (S) Ex Koanga.

Soft Top Pearl (S). Ex Koanga. Mine has started throwing bulbs with a bluish tinge on the skin somewhat like my Takahue, even though grown from pure white seed stock.

Early Pearl (S). Ex commercial organic grower.

NZ Purple (H) Ex Koanga

NZ Purple (H) Commercial

Aja Roja aka Spanish Red (H)

German Giant (H) Endangered.

Early Red Rombacole (H). Ex Koanga.

Early White Rombacole (H). Ex Koanga.

Italian Purple Stripe (H). From Northland commercial grower based near Whangarei.

Asian Purple Stripe (H). From Marlborough Trade Me seller.

Southern Purple Maincrop Rombacole (H). Very popular maincrop variety in the lower north island and south island. I have purchased variants of this variety from at least 5 different sources under different names/descriptions. Might be the same as the Koanga maincrop rombacole.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hello Todd, be good to see photos of the various varieties you're growing. I've found that the bulb wrappers and clove skins can vary from year to year with the various types I've grown. Last winter was so mild a couple of my hardnecks did't even send up scapes. Thanks for setting up this group:)
I have posted some pics and will post more. I've found the same. It pays to carefully label them for that reason as some types can appear similar sometimes.
I will go through all my garlic photos and post them too. I am still trying to figure out which groups my hardnecks are - it is unlikely that any are named varieties. I am certain that I have at least two types of artichoke based on clove and bulb skin colour; number of cloves; clove & leaf formation, one possibly two silverskins and maybe five hardnecks. Of the latter, I definitely have one each porcelain and rocambole variety and the other three could be a turban; an Asiatic or a Creole and possibly a purple stripe. Have you identified the groups that your hardnecks fall into?
I have also been following the attempts of garlic growers to produce true garlic seed and know of two others (both ooooby members) who have obtained true seed of rocambole varieties and are growing them out.


Hi Megan,

Thanks so much for your information and neat pics! I wish I had taken more pics of the topset and pics while they were growing now! I certainly haven't been as diligent as you in carefully visually documenting them (something to do this season!), and have only really made rough notes about their growth habits for future reference and taken a few pics.


I haven't identified all our varieties yet. Of the ones I've identified, we have at least one named Creole, a number of Artichokes including at least one named variety, a number of Silverskins including several named varieties, several un-named purple stripes, at least one un-named Asiatic, and possibly a Turban.


I have heard of, and read a little about true garlic seed but haven't attempted growing it myself. I recently messaged an ooooby member who said they were growing true garlic seed.


I did look at growing one or more of the species of wild garlic from seed. It seemed from all the postings it's difficult to grow most of them from seed itself, so I haven't tried importing any. I also looked at some of the edible garlic/onion varieties grown as ornamentals and I did see (but regretfully missed) and auction on Trade Me for Allium Scorodoprasum. Do you know of anyone who has successfully grown Ursulum or similar from seed?




I was interested at one point in trying to grow






My written records are not great, it's only since I bought Ted Meredith's book that I've started photographing the various garlics I'm growing and taking more notice of the leaf structure; spathe shape and bulbil size & numbers as these are less variable than clove count & wrapper & clove skin colour.

I know for certain that Richard Watson is growing TGS, he obtained his from Dr Buddenhagen too and he'll be pleased to learn that you have some purple stripes as they're supposed to be the most likely to produce true seed. I shared all my hardnecks with Richard and he's growing them out to try to produce true seeds himself.

I got hit by rust for the first time this year and combined with the relatively mild winter, many of my hardnecks didn't scape and I ended up harvesting my crop earlier than normal to try to minimise the spread of the rust. 

Not conducive to TGS production which requires leaving the bulbs in the ground for as long as possible and removing bulbils to encourage flowering. Still, there's always next year:)

I've not grown neither allium ursinum nor scorodoprasum but friends have something that they call wild garlic in their garden which I've not studied closely, will check the leaves the next time that I visit them and if they're broad like the ursinum, will dig a clump for you.

Surely we can't be the only two garlic fanatics here on ooooby - there must be others lurking out their who can contribute to this discussion??  Come on folks, where are you - would love to hear what varieties you're growing.

Hi there. We are in the process of buying a lifestyle block in central or ago an I would love to grow an help bulk up your variety of garlic. I have been growing my own garlic for years an make a great garlic sauce but have no idea what it's is as picked it up years ago. I find it grows pretty good here in central an we will have the space. I always plant my garlic end of summer so it gets it's roots well down before winter , this way it seams to stop them popping out of the ground. So if I can get as many diff bulbs off you ( will pay post an give you my grandmas garlic sauce resipie ) I would love to be part of the garlic group . Thanx tracy
hello Tracy, Todd sent me some of his garlic and without wishing to tempt fate, if they all grow well for me, happy to share some with you at harvest time. They have had a relatively mild winter to acclimate to the central weather conditions and ought to do well for you next season:). I've labeled them all so between us, we should manage to keep all his varieties going. I understand that Todd also sent some to Southland seed savers in Riverton and I hope to have enough to do the same. Megan
Fantastic. Look forward to harvest. Thankyou
not really but still growing garlic - are you Dan_NZ on gardenweb??

I have spare space in my garden in the Manawatu if you still need any, or happy to purchase some from you (I'm building up a collection!).  I love the sound of the blue garlic, I've never heard of it before.

Hi Todd, I am a new member. I have grown garlic in our olive grove in north canterbury for 5-6 years. The most difficulty I ve had is finding right species for us and came across your blog while looking for garlic growers site.

We have three varieties growing in our plot and I believe you have all of ours. It is garlic harvest time and I am wondering if I could get some info for some species you have and buy some off you.


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