Hardneck varieties send up a flower stalk, also called a scape, which can be cut and eaten before the garlic is ready to be harvested.
Compared to softneck garlic, hardnecks have fewer cloves that are easier to peel. However, hardnecks do not last as long in storage as softneck varieties.
As rule of thumb: In extremely cold winter areas, such as the northern tier of states in the U.S., hardnecks may perform better than softnecks. In the deep South and coastal California, softnecks may perform better. However, Seeds from Italy garlic was grown in Arizona and Idaho. In both those extremes, the experienced growers produce both hardneck and softneck varieties — proof that either type may succeed whatever your location.