Whether as a seasoning herb, vegetable or occasionally even as a salad – leek is one of the most established and popular crops in the home garden. There is not just one leek. Numerous different varieties, many of which have been tried and tested for centuries, allow the harvest to be adapted to the specific needs of the hobby gardener.

This is how the different types of leek are convincing

Most people without a horticultural background know leeks simply as leeks – without onions, with long, mostly straight growth and aromatic carpels up to 5 centimeters thick that enrich the kitchen. However, it is mostly unknown that individual leek varieties score points with their very own characteristics and advantages. Here we briefly present 12 old and proven breeds in a portrait.

Visually, all types of leek initially have quite comparable appearances. Leek thrives in its cultivated form without a pronounced onion in a straight, evenly thick form over the height of its growth. The carpels, which are up to 5 centimeters wide, lie close together from the roots and only incline outwards with increasing size, roughly in the upper third of the plant. The freer the leaf parts are, the more green they become. The greener a leaf becomes, the spicier and more bitter its taste becomes. Usually only the compact, white to light green part of the plant is eaten.

Differences between the following types of leek, on the other hand, are usually only noticeable to the trained eye at second glance. The most common differences arise in the time of sowing and harvest, as well as in color and taste.

Summer onion

As the name suggests, summer leek varieties thrive in summer. The favorable growth conditions mean that growth takes place quickly, so that few bitter substances develop in the plants. On the other hand, the taste of these leek varieties is milder and less intense.


  • Rearing and harvest time: sowing already after the end of the frost period, optimal ripeness during the warm spring weeks and months
  • optical characteristics: strong, well-defined shafts with a high proportion of white
  • other special features: rapid growth in size, is well suited as a previous crop for other cultivated plants

Formerly a giant

  • Growing and harvest time: spring to summer
  • visual appearance characteristics: very tall, formation of long, juicy stems, is considered to be particularly productive
  • Other special features: also popularly known as “major”, well suited as a previous crop, can be grown separately and planted out when suitable growing conditions have been reached


  • Raising and harvest time : growing rapidly, but slower than other summer leek varieties, spring to summer, if sowing too late due to slower growth towards late summer / autumn, more unfavorable ripening conditions
  • optical characteristics: short to medium-long, very strong shafts
  • other special features: very sensitive to frost, should definitely be harvested by the end of October / November

Megaton (F1)

  • Raising and harvest time: spring and summer, well into autumn
  • visual characteristics: long -handled , extremely productive
  • Other special features: extremely fast growing, therefore a particularly mild taste, sometimes almost poor in bitter substances and aromas

Autumn leek

In contrast to summer leeks, the types of leeks assigned to autumn leeks are conditionally frost-resistant. They are less sensitive to unfavorable growing conditions and also get along well with less light and warmth. In terms of taste, these varieties are, on average, much spicier and more aromatic, but sometimes also more bitter than the summer varieties.

Blue-green autumn

  • Raising and harvest time: late summer to autumn
  • visual  characteristics : leaf color is characteristic dark green to blue-green, shafts approx. 30 centimeters high, high yield
  • Other special features: well -tried, traditional variety, also known as “Pandora” or “Ideal Leek”


  • Raising and harvest time: Summer until late autumn
  • optical characteristics: very thick, but somewhat shorter styles, rapid growth, blue-green leaf color
  • other special features: origin in France, is considered to be very harmonious in taste, uncomplicated variety with a reliable yield


  • Raising and harvest time: summer to autumn
  • optical characteristics: medium-length, particularly delicate and snow-white shafts
  • other special features: origin in France, is considered a very traditional variety, has a very mild taste compared to other autumn varieties


  • Raising and harvest time: summer to late autumn
  • visual characteristics: medium-high, quite thick stems with a hint of onion formation above the root area
  • other special features: fast growing, typical autumn variety, comparatively robust

Winter leek

Winter leek is the most frost-resistant group of leek varieties. Rather slowly growing, the limited light and heat options are sufficient, which is ultimately reflected in a particularly intense aroma with a strong bitter content.

Tip: As a special feature, the stems of the winter varieties are usually no longer round, but flattened to lenticular.

Blaugrüner Winter

  • Raising and harvest time: in mild winters continuously from October to March
  • optical characteristics: long, rather thick shafts, blue-green leaves
  • Other special features: is considered extremely hardy, also known to us as “Eskimo” or “Farinto”

Solaise Blue

  • Raising and harvest time: autumn and winter months
  • optical characteristics: slight onion formation at the base, leaf color with a strong bluish tinge
  • other special features: tried and tested, classic winter variety, particularly widespread in France

Winter of Saint Victor

  • Raising and harvest time: autumn and winter
  • optical characteristics: very thick, rather short shafts
  • Other special features: is considered to be very intense and harmonious in its aroma, also known as “Siegfried” by us


  • Rearing and harvest time: autumn and winter, harvest possible until April of the following year
  • visual characteristics of appearance: solid, sturdy, thick and elongated styles
  • Other special features: very hardy, suitable for late planting, very fine taste

Even if many types of leek are hard to tell apart at first glance, the world of leeks shows an impressive and mostly underestimated variety of varieties. Depending on the desired cultivation period and taste, as well as the hoped-for yield, individual varieties offer very good opportunities to achieve the set goal. With this diversity, leek is one of the very few cultivated plants that enriches the local menu almost all year round.

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