Italian Purple

Turban Group Hardneck – Weakly Bolting

There are several Turban cultivars with strong purple striped skins that are called Italian Purple. They may be the same as one of the garlics grown by the Italian communities of Leeton and Griffiths in NSW in the 1970s. Hardneck Turban garlics called Italian Red are probably the same as Italian Purple too, and may only have been called red because all these garlics are more red than purple when first harvested. This may also be the same as Early Purple. And to add further to the confusion there is also at least one softneck garlic called Italian Purple or Italian Purple Artichoke.

General Information

Other Names Early Purple, Italian Red
International Names None known
Flavour Hot and strong to start off with, rich and sweet and nutty when roasted.
Storage Short 3-5 months.
Growing location This cultivar will grow in most garlic regions from Southern Queensland to Tasmania, as well as South Australian and Western Australia.
Growing requirements Italian Purple likes cold to mild winters with warm springs leading into hot summers, although they are usually harvested well before summer. Very hot spring days can cause water stress and may accelerate their tendency to flop over. Once this happens they need to be harvested within a week or so.
Planting and harvest Plant and harvest early.


  • Italian Purple garlic
Large round flattened bulbs 6-7 cm with a flat to convex base.
Skin colour and texture
  • Italian purple freshly harvested.
Heavily purple striped or blotched skins, red when first harvested. Skins are fragile and split and flake easily and usually whiten during storage.


Number and layout
  • Italian Purple cloves and bulbils
8-12 cloves in one or two layers.
Size and shape Plump blunt tipped cloves that are angled but rounded towards the middle with two flat sides. Some are encased in a second skin.
Skin colour and texture
  • Italian Purple garlic
Skins are pink and cream with pale pink stripes. The skins are relatively fine but easy to peel.


Size and shape
Plants can be small and floppy in warmer regions, to strong and upright in colder regions. So size can depend on climate. Up to 1.1m without the scape.
Medium green to yellow green leaves are well spaced up the pseudostem. They fold in middle. Often 10-12.
Young plants
Young plants are fast growing and quickly substantial.
Matures Early. Goes from being almost ready to past ready in a couple of weeks.
  • Italian Purple garlic
Weakly bolting. Slender, hollow when cured. Upside down U, some curl more or are strong gooseneck. Appears late in growth cycle.
Umbel and beak
Flattened turban shape, variable but usually long beak.
Bulbils and flowers
  • Italian Purple cloves and bulbils
Small to medium bulbils, purple and pink, usually 50+.
No flowers.