Italian Red

Subtropical Group Softneck – Non-bolting

This garlic is in the Subtropical Group along with Southern Glen, Glen Large and Italian Pink. There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that Italian Red is the same cultivar as the original “Formosan”/ “Taiwanese Purple” cultivar.

General Information

Other Names None known
International Names None, this is an Australian cultivar
Flavour Good. Raw it has moderate heat initially, with a nice garlicky sweet flavour. Sautéed it is nice with a pleasant garlicky aroma. Flavour improves if the bulbs are aged a little before use.
Storage Good
Growing location Grows well in most garlic growing regions of Australia except those with really cold and wet winters. A day length neutral garlic, it is quite happy with warmer climates, one of the few that produces well in Queensland & Northern NSW.
Growing requirements Quite an easy garlic to grow. Some care needs to be taken to harvest on time in order to avoid split bulb wrappers.
Planting and harvest Very early to harvest. Typically about two weeks after Southern Glen.
In Sydney it can be ready in the first week of October.


A little lumpy and a little elongated, medium size typically 5 x 4cm. Tear drop shape with a slightly concave base.
Skin colour and texture When first dug purple on white. Mid layers are mottled light purple over most the wrapper on white background. Inner layers white. When dry they are paler more white but still with a purple hue.
Skins are thin to medium, somewhat fragile, flaking or peeling off easily as they dry.


Number and layout
About 15 to 18 cloves per bulb. Outer layer at opposite ends of bulb with 2 or 3 cloves each end, middle layer with about 9 cloves in circle around the center climbing up the center and about 6 cloves in the centre.
Size and shape
Typically smallish cloves with average weight of about 1.2 gm. The cloves come in various shapes, the outer cloves are fat and rounded with no sides and a concave inner surface. Central cloves are taller and thinner.
Skin colour and texture
Varies depending on the season and location. Often maroon on tan, some have lots of strong maroon others are paler and some almost no maroon. The skin is quite thick and hard adhering tightly to the cloves. Once the skin is split the cloves peel easily.


Size and shape
Not very substantial but they are strong plants. They are skinny, upright and smallish to about 60cm.
Thin straight & fairly upright. Evenly spaced up the stem with a large gap between each leaf. The leaves are yellow-green tending to mid-green early and dark green almost grey-green for the latter developing leaves. The pseudostem is yellow-green.
Young plants Strong, slender and upright. They are often the quickest to get growing and initially grow much faster than most other cultivars.
Matures Very early. Some seasons the plants may lean over nearing bulb maturity.
Scape None
Umbel and beak None
Bulbils and flowers Although the plants do not produce a scape, typically 30-40% or more produce 1 to 3 bulbils per plant in the pseudostem. They about 60-100mm, pink/purple. Bulbils planted grow to fully formed medium size bulbs or if stopped early to medium size rounds. No flowers.