Yugoslavian garlic

Yugoslavian garlic is a hardneck porcelain variety known for its large cloves and spicy flavor that mellows to a sweet aftertaste. This hardy and disease-resistant garlic variety is easy to cultivate, offers a mid-season harvest, and boasts an impressive storage life of 8-9 months when properly cured.

Introduction to Yugoslavian garlic

Yugoslavian garlic is a hardneck porcelain variety known for its spicy raw flavor and robust growth. Characterized by large bulbs that sometimes with brown stripes or purple marbling, this garlic variety usually produces 2-10 quite large cloves per bulb, each with solid brown skin.

The flavor profile starts with an intense spiciness that gradually mellows out to a lingering sweetness, making it a favorite among garlic enthusiasts. Yugoslavian garlic is well-suited to the climates of the Okanagan Shuswap region of British Columbia and Washington state, but it is also versatile enough to grow in most U.S. states, except for the most southern ones where it might struggle in early hot summers.

Sprouted garlic in the sprig

In terms of cultivation, Yugoslavian garlic is relatively low-maintenance but requires attention to watering during dry seasons. Removing the garlic scapes is recommended to facilitate better bulbing. It is harvested in mid-season and can wait a bit longer before harvesting thanks to its sturdy wrappers; however, growers should always inspect the bulbs to make sure they are in good condition.

Its strong resilience makes it less susceptible to common garlic diseases, adding to its reputation as a reliable and hardy plant. Storage is another area where this garlic excels; when properly cured, it can last for 8-9 months.

It’s worth noting that there are two different cultivars commonly referred to as “Yugoslavian”: one is this common porcelain type, sometimes called “Yugoslavian Hot,” and the other is a rocambole type, known as “Yugoslavian Rocambole.” The latter is distinct for its milder, nutty flavor, in contrast to the initial spiciness of the porcelain cultivar.

Big cloves inside yugoslavian garlic

Flavor profile of Yugoslavian porcelain garlic

Yugoslavian garlic offers an intriguing taste journey, beginning with a burst of hot spiciness that eventually mellows out to a long-lasting sweet flavor. It doesn’t have the overwhelming heat some garlic varieties are known for; instead, its initial spiciness transitions into a more nuanced, sweet aftertaste. It is a versatile choice for both raw and cooked culinary applications.

Cloves of yugoslavian

How to grow Yugoslavian garlic

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to grow hardneck garlic varieties, including Yugoslavian:

Preparing the soil

  1. Choose a Location: Pick a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil.
  2. Soil Testing: Conduct a soil test to check pH levels and nutrient availability. Aim for a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 (although garlic is not too picky).
  3. Amend Soil: Add compost or well-rotted manure to enrich the soil. Consider adding sand if drainage is poor.
How to plant and grow garlic


  1. When to Plant: The best time to plant hardneck garlic is in the fall, about 4-6 weeks before the first hard frost.
  2. Separate Cloves: Break apart garlic bulbs into individual cloves right before planting. Don’t remove the papery husk.
  3. Planting Depth and Spacing: Plant the cloves 2 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart, in rows that are 10-14 inches apart. Make sure to plant the flat end down and the pointed end facing up.
Growing hardneck garlic

Growing season

  1. Mulch: After planting, cover the soil with 2-4 inches of organic mulch like straw or leaves to protect the cloves during winter.
  2. Watering: Keep soil consistently moist, especially during dry spells. However, do not waterlog the soil.
  3. Fertilization: In the spring, apply a nitrogen-based fertilizer to encourage good growth.
  4. Scape Removal: Hardneck garlic produces a flowering stem called a “scape.” Cut these off to direct the plant’s energy into bulb development.

Harvesting bulbs

  1. When to Harvest: Hardneck garlic is generally ready to harvest in mid to late summer when the lower third of the leaves start to brown.
  2. How to Harvest: Loosen the soil around the bulb with a spade or fork and gently pull the plant out.
  3. Curing: Allow the bulbs to dry in a well-ventilated, shady spot for 2-3 weeks.
Bulb of garlic

Storing bulbs

  1. Trim Roots and Stems: Once the garlic is cured, trim the roots and leave about an inch of the stem.
  2. Store: Keep the bulbs in a cool, dry, and dark place. Most hardneck varieties will store for about 3-6 months.

And there you have it—a comprehensive guide to growing hardneck Yugoslavian garlic.

Yugoslavian garlic - prize winning
Prize-winning yugoslavian garlic at the fall fair
Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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