Best Garlic To Grow In Zone 6 (9 Great Varieties)


Choosing the best garlic to grow in your area can be challenging. With hundreds of cultivars of seed garlic available, it is difficult to narrow it down to just a few.

So, if you live in zone 6, we have exactly what you need! In this article, I’ll share 9 garlic varieties that are perfect for growing in your zone 6 garden.

Note: If you live in zones 4-7, all of these garlics would make a good choice for your cold-weather climate.

Garlic ready for harvest (50% die back)
Garlic plants growing in zone 6 garden bed.

READ NEXT: How to grow garlic from cloves

Choose Hardneck Varieties

First and foremost, zone 6 gardeners should grow hardneck garlic. If you’re unfamiliar with the difference, let me explain.

  • Hardneck garlic is known to grow best in cold climates (locations with a winter season). It requires cold stratification (a 4-8 week freeze/thaw period) before growing, which the winter provides. Hardneck garlic also tends to have larger cloves than softneck varieties.
  • Softneck garlic does not require a cold period to grow, making it ideal for warmer regions. They have smaller cloves, but tend to have longer storage potential than hardneck garlics.

So, when you’re looking for seed garlic to buy, make sure to filter to only hardneck varieties. You’ll have great results that warm-region gardeners will envy!

I also just prefer hardneck garlic for the bigger cloves and easier peeling. Who likes peeling dozens of tiny garlic cloves?

One thing to keep in mind about hardneck garlic are the plant stages. Hardneck plants produce a scape that should be removed to encourage larger bulbs.

Where we buy our seed garlic:

9 Best Garlic Varieties For Zone 6

All of my top choices are hardneck varieties. These garlic varieties will all thrive when planted in the fall in zone 6, zone 5, zone 4, and even zone 3. Give them a try and see which variety you like best!

  • Music. Perhaps my all-time favorite garlic is the “music” variety. This hardneck garlic produces large, sturdy plants and big bulbs. The cloves are also huge (usually only about 3-5 cloves per bulb), and the spicy flavor is great.
  • Chesnok red. Another standout garlic choice for zone 6 is the “Chesnok red” variety. This garlic has always grown healthy and strong, producing large bulbs and good sized cloves. The flavor is the real reason to grow this one though, as it is super flavorful, even after cooking.
  • Majestic. This “porcelain” variety has a gorgeous shape. The bulbs are medium in size, producing plump and meaty cloves. This one is said to have good disease resistance, and can be grown in very cold climates.
Garlic bulbs freshly harvested and curing
Freshly harvested ‘Majestic’ garlic.
  • Elephant garlic. While this is not a true garlic (it is actually part of the leek family), it has a similar growth pattern and appearance. However, the flavor of elephant garlic is much milder than other garlic varieties. Still, it is worth growing in zone 6 for it’s impressive clove size.
  • German extra hardy. If you’re looking for reliability, this is a great choice. The German extra hardy is, as you may have guessed, very cold tolerant. This hardneck garlic also produces large red cloves with great flavor.
  • Russian red. Another purple stripe garlic variety, “Russian red” always seems to sell out fast. This cold hardy variety is suitable for slightly warmer climates, anywhere from zones 4-8. The gorgeous purple-streaked bulbs are full of hefty cloves that store well. Great choice if you’re selling garlic at the local farmer’s market!
  • Asian tempest. If you’re looking for a unique choice, try this Asiatic garlic variety. The garlic bulbils on Asian tempest are said to reach up to 18″ in length! While the bulbs are on the smaller side, this garlic is delicious raw, and great for roasting.
  • German white. For a slightly milder garlic flavor that still has decent punch, try “German white.” This porcelain hardneck variety has medium-sized cloves with excellent storage potential. These picturesque white bulbs are a well-rounded choice for zone 6 gardens.
  • Rosewood. For potentially the largest cloves, try the “rosewood” variety. These medium sized bulbs produce huge cloves that have gorgeous purpling. They also have a long storage time.
Seed garlic for planting
A few seed garlic bulbs for planting.

Varieties We Don’t Recommend

While the above choices are great, there are a couple of types of garlic we did not enjoy growing. Not every variety will give you big, healthy plants and bulbs.

  • Cuban purple. These bulbs simply weren’t as large as we would have liked. The cloves were big, and flavor is great, but they underperformed compared to others.
  • Thai fire. While the name sounds attractive, the bulbs we grew were small in size. Flavor was good, but again, we wouldn’t choose to grow this garlic again over our favorites.
Garlic shoots in spring in raised bed
Various garlic plants growing in a raised bed.

While these are some of the best garlic varieties to grow in zone 6, you still have more options. Stick to hardneck garlic and you can’t really go wrong.

Calvin holding garlic bulbs
Big harvest of our favorite garlic varieties (zone 6 gardening).

I hope this article helps you find the best garlic to grow in zone 6! We love garlic for its amazing flavor and just how easy it is to grow. Happy growing!

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