All You Need To Know About Growing Garlic
You want to grow garlic at home?
Good news! I answer various questions for you in this regard in the following chapters.
Table of Contents
Time & Duration
When to grow garlic from seed?
If you want to grow garlic from seed, the optimal time to do so is in early spring so that you can harvest your garlic bulbs in summer or early fall.
However, please note that it is also possible to grow garlic in off-season as long as you adjust growing conditions, even though you might just not get the same results in terms of yield as you would get when growing garlic in the main season.
Does garlic grow year-round?
It is indeed possible to grow garlic year-round.
However, please note that garlic needs a relatively cold period of around one month to form big bulbs and if you live in warm climatic regions, you may want to start with growing garlic as early as the end of winter or even in fall the previous year so that your plants get enough cool air to develop healthy bulbs.
If you don’t provide those cool climatic conditions to your garlic plants, you may still be able to grow garlic and harvest the leaf material instead of garlic bulbs, similar to growing scallions.
Does garlic grow fast?
It will take you relatively long to grow garlic. In fact, it can take between 4 and 6 months to grow garlic from seed to harvest.
This means that you need lots of patience for growing garlic at home and if you are a rather impatient person, chances are that you should go for other garden vegetables that you can grow much faster, e.g. carrots, lettuce, etc.
How long does it take to grow garlic?
It will take most gardeners between 120 and 160 days to grow garlic from seed to harvest.
However, please note that this depends on various factors, including your skills level and also the growing conditions you provide to your plants.
Experienced gardeners who do everything right will be able to grow garlic much faster than newbies who have never grown garlic before.
Hence, if you are still a beginner, you should expect that it will take you a little bit longer and you should not be disappointed if you need up to six months to harvest healthy garlic bulbs.
Does garlic grow back every year?
No, garlic is grown as an annual and this means that it will not grow back.
Instead, you will harvest the whole plant, including the bulbs that are produced underground and there will just not be any plant material left that could grow back after the harvest.
How long do garlic plants live?
Garlic plants usually live for one growing season until you harvest them.
If you don’t harvest garlic plants, they will just live until the bulbs will begin to rot and you don’t want to wait that long since you would just miss out on your harvest.
How long does it take until garlic plants flower?
Garlic plants flower between 8 and 12 weeks after you planted the seeds on average.
However, please note that this also greatly depends on the time of the year you want to grow garlic and also on the lighting conditions you provide to your plants.
Consequently, don’t get discouraged if it takes you a little bit longer to see your garlic plants flower.
You will be perfectly fine and your garlic plants do not even need to flower to get garlic bulbs of them.
Can you grow garlic in fall?
Growing garlic in fall is perfectly doable. In fact, many gardeners recommend that you plant garlic in fall so that you can harvest garlic bulbs in spring or early summer next year.
Garlic is also quite tolerant against frost and you therefore don’t have to worry that your plants will decay in winter.
Can you grow garlic in winter?
Similar to planting garlic seeds in fall, you could also start growing garlic in winter.
Garlic is usually quite tolerant when it comes to frost and as long as you don’t live in the Arctic, you will be perfectly fine with growing garlic in winter.
Location & Climate
Will garlic grow in shade?
While you could grow garlic in shade, you will just not get the same results in terms of yields compared to growing them in more sunny environments.
In fact, garlic needs lots of direct sunlight to grow well and you should therefore make sure to avoid completely shady environments if you want to get the best results.
Will garlic grow in partial shade?
Growing garlic in half-shady environments is perfectly doable.
In fact, a healthy mix between sun and shade is often better than growing garlic in full sun since you can protect your plants from excessive sun exposure, heat and radiation.
Hence, you will be perfectly fine by choosing a partially shady spot in your garden or on your balcony for your garlic growth project.
Do garlic plants grow best in full sun?
While garlic plants like the sun, too much of it will do more harm than good to your plants.
Consequently, if you want to grow garlic in the perfect manner, make sure to grow it with a healthy mix between sun and shade so that your plants get enough sunlight while still being protected against excessive sun exposure at the same time.
Will garlic tolerate frost?
Garlic likes the cold and will also be able to grow in cool climatic zones.
Garlic even needs the cold to produce healthy bulbs and will also tolerate a certain level of frost, even though the ground should not be completely frozen underneath the soil surface.
Thus, you will definitely be able to grow garlic if you currently live in cool climatic zones and you may even have an easier time growing garlic compared to someone who lives in a hot climatic zone.
Do you have to protect garlic from the sun?
While garlic plants like the sun, too much of it will often do more harm than good.
Instead of growing garlic in full sun, make sure to choose a partially shady site in your garden or on your balcony.
By doing so, you will be able to protect your garlic plants from excessive sun exposure in a simple, natural but yet effective manner.
How much space do you need to grow garlic?
Garlic plants stay relatively small and this means that you can grow at least one garlic plant per square foot.
Of course, if you have a big garden and space is not a problem for you, you could also give your plants much more space to grow.
The more space you provide to your plants, the better they will grow and the higher your yields tend to be.
Will garlic grow indoors?
Growing garlic indoors is extremely difficult since garlic plants need the cold to develop healthy bulbs.
Consequently, if you grow them indoors, you may be able to grow them as kind of scallions and harvest the plant material instead of the bulbs.
However, if you want to get real garlic bulbs, you have to grow them outdoors and expose your plants to the cold since they would just not produce bulbs otherwise.
Can you grow garlic without a garden or balcony?
If you don’t have a garden or a balcony, you would have to grow garlic indoors.
However, since garlic plants need the cold to develop healthy bulbs, you will just not succeed by doing so and I therefore recommend you just wait until you move and have the opportunity to grow garlic outdoors.
Can you grow garlic in small flats?
While garlic plants grow small, you will still not be able to expose them to the cold if you live in a small flat without a balcony and your garlic plants will therefore not produce any bulbs.
Consequently, growing garlic indoors is just not a good idea, whether you do so in small or big flats doesn’t really matter as long as you are not able to provide natural growing conditions to your plants.
Can you grow garlic in an aquarium?
Growing garlic in an aquarium is not a good idea. Since you will have to expose your garlic plants to the cold if you want to get garlic bulbs, the glass of your aquarium may get damaged from frost.
Moreover, excess water will also not be able to run off properly and the roots of your garlic plants may start to rot.
Hence, instead of growing garlic in aquariums, make sure to grow it directly in your garden or in pots.
Can you grow garlic in a terrarium?
Growing garlic in terrariums is also not a good idea.
You will often have the issue that water will not be able to run off properly and waterlogging will become an issue.
Moreover, terrariums are often quite big and if you fill your terrarium with potting soil, it will become quite heavy and you will often not be able to move it anymore.
Can you grow garlic in a bucket?
You could also grow garlic in buckets. In fact, buckets can replace conventional flower pots in a decent manner as long as you drill some holes into the bottom of your buckets so that water can run off properly and the roots of your plant can develop in a healthy manner without having to deal with waterlogged soil.
Can you grow garlic in bags?
Growing garlic in bags is also doable. However, instead of using plastic bags, make sure to use fabric bags since they are much stabler and will also assure that excess water will run off properly.
Also make sure to fill those bags with high-quality potting soil from the garden center to get decent results.
Can you grow garlic in hanging baskets?
You can also grow garlic in hanging baskets.
However, in my opinion, there is just no upside compared to just growing garlic in conventional pots and I therefore recommend you go for the second option since you will just be much more flexible and will also be able to reuse your pots for many other growing projects in the future.
Can you grow garlic in rainy climatic zones?
It is possible to grow garlic in rainy climatic zones.
However, if you live in one of those regions, make sure that you choose the sunniest spot in your garden or on your balcony you can find so that your plants can use every precious hour of sunlight as efficiently as possible.
Can you grow garlic in tropical climatic zones?
Since garlic needs the cold to produce bulbs, you will have a really hard time growing garlic in the tropics.
In fact, while you could harvest the plant material similar to spring onions, you will just not get healthy bulbs most of the time.
Can you grow garlic in regions with permafrost?
While garlic likes the cold, too much of it can do more harm than good.
If the ground is completely frozen, garlic plants may not be able to develop in a healthy manner and garlic bulbs will just not be able to form properly.
However, if only the soil surface is frozen, you will still be able to grow garlic in a decent manner.
Does garlic grow on vines?
No, garlic doesn’t grow on vines. Instead, it will grow on small plants you might have seen before in the garden center.
If you haven’t seen garlic plants before, you can also check out one of the videos in this article to inform yourself about what garlic plants look like.
Does garlic grow underground?
While the garlic plant material grows above the soil surface, garlic bulbs will indeed be produced underground and you will therefore have to harvest the whole garlic plant once the time has come.
What is the best orientation for growing garlic?
While it is usually best to grow garlic in west or east orientation since your plants get a healthy mix between sun and shade, you could also grow garlic in south orientation.
Never grow garlic in north orientation since your plants would just not get enough sunlight to develop in a healthy manner.
Can you grow garlic with indirect sunlight?
You could also grow garlic with indirect sunlight in a greenhouse.
However, if you want to do so, make sure that you don’t heat your greenhouse since garlic plants need the cold to develop healthy bulbs.
Yet, garlic plants will still grow better outdoors and if you have the opportunity to do so, you should just grow garlic in your garden and rely on direct sunlight instead of using greenhouses.
Where do garlic plants grow best?
Garlic grows best in partially shady spots in your garden where it gets the most natural growing conditions.
You should also make sure that your plants have enough space to each other so that they don’t have to compete for nutrients or sunlight.
Where to grow garlic in pots?
If you want to grow garlic in pots, you should place those pots in a half-shady spot on your porch or on your balcony.
Don’t grow garlic in your sunroom since garlic needs the cold to develop in a healthy manner and to produce decent yields.
Where to grow garlic indoors?
Growing garlic indoors is never a good idea since your plants need the cold to develop bulbs.
However, if you still want to grow garlic indoors and rather want to harvest the plant material or save seeds, you want to grow your plants in a sunny room so that they get enough hours of indirect sunlight to grow in a healthy manner.
Can you grow garlic in water?
Growing garlic in pure water is impossible since your plants will just not get enough nutrients.
Instead of trying to grow garlic in pure water, make sure to provide a healthy soil mix to your plants so that your garlic plants can develop the way you want them to do.
Can you grow garlic with LED lights?
You may also think about growing garlic with the support of artificial lighting.
This is usually not a good idea since LEDs and other forms of artificial lighting will consume lots of energy in the long run and will also not yield the desired results.
Instead, make sure to choose a relatively sunny spot in your garden.
By doing so, you can use natural sunlight and this sort of lighting will be much better than any artificial lighting you could use, both for our environment but also for your pocket.
Can you grow garlic in dark rooms?
Growing garlic indoors is never a good idea. Even worse would be growing garlic indoors in dark rooms since your plants would just not be able to develop in a healthy manner.
If you really want to grow garlic indoors, at least make sure that your plants get enough sunlight so that you can at least get some plant material that you can harvest.
Can you reuse soil for growing garlic the next year?
You can reuse your soil multiple times. Of course, every time you use your soil for growing purposes, precious nutrients will be consumed by your plants.
Hence, in order to provide enough nutrients to your plants for many years to come, make sure to add some additional fertilizer to the soil mix before or after every growing season to make the soil more fertile and to increase your yields significantly.
Does garlic grow well in waterlogged soil?
Similar to most other plants, garlic doesn’t like waterlogging at all and you should therefore make sure that excess water will be able to run off properly to avoid that the roots of your plants will start to rot.
Does garlic grow best in acidic, neutral or alkaline soil?
Garlic grows best in slightly acidic soil with a soil pH between 6.2 and 6.8.
However, as long as you rely on potting soil from the garden center, you will be perfectly fine in this regard and don’t have to worry about those technical things.
Will garlic grow in sandy soil?
Growing garlic in sandy soil will be possible.
However, too much sand will not be optimal and you should therefore rather rely on a healthy soil mix from the garden center instead of using too sandy soil that may prevent the optimal growth of your garlic plants.
Will garlic grow in clay soil?
Garlic grows best in loose soil and I therefore don’t recommend you grow garlic in clay soil since it is just too rigid and not loose enough.
Instead, you should rather get loose soil from the garden center or loosen up the soil in your garden instead.
Will garlic grow in compost?
You could also grow garlic on compost.
In fact, compost is rich in nutrients and also loose enough so that garlic plants and bulbs can develop in a healthy manner.
Do garlic plants need a lot of water?
Garlic plants stay relatively small and this means that they also don’t need lots of water.
In fact, it will be enough to water your plants a few times a week.
If it rains outdoors, you will not even have to water your garlic plants since they will just be able to get rainwater from the ground.
Do you have to water garlic on a regular basis?
A watering schedule may also help you not to forget to water your garlic plants.
However, please adjust your watering schedule in line with the conditions outdoors so that you provide the optimal level of moisture to your plants.
Should you use filtered or unfiltered water to water garlic?
You should just use unfiltered water for your garlic plants since it is more natural than filtered water and the more natural conditions you provide to your plants, the better they will grow on average.
Should you use rainwater to water garlic?
Even better than unfiltered tap water would be rainwater. In fact, garlic plants love rainwater since it is the most natural form of water you could provide to them.
Hence, make sure to collect rainwater during rainy periods so that you have enough of it to use it in dry periods.
Not only will this be good for your plants, but you can also save some money on tap water.
When to stake garlic?
There is no need to stake garlic plants at all. If you still want to do so for your own reasons, wait until your garlic plants reach a minimum height of at least 3 inches.
What to tie garlic with?
If you want to tie or stake garlic plants, you can just place some sticks next to each plant and tie your plants with cord to those sticks.
What to do when garlic leaves turn yellow?
If the leaves of your garlic plants turn yellow before harvesting time, this is usually an indication that your plants either get too much or too little water.
Hence, make sure to adjust your watering schedule and see what happens.
If the problem is not resolved, it may also have to do with a lack of nutrients in the soil.
Consequently, you can also add some fertilizer to the soil and see if this solves the problem.
How to protect garlic against wind?
While there is no real need to protect garlic against wind, you could still do so by just tying your garlic plants to sticks and they will become more resistant against storms.
How to protect garlic against heavy rain?
You don’t have to protect garlic plants against heavy rain.
Just let them grow and let nature do its work and you will be perfectly fine in this regard.
How to protect garlic against hail?
If you grow garlic in pots, you can just move your pots to a protected area on your porch or inside your home if you expect hail.
If you grow garlic outdoors in your garden, you may want to protect it with some foliage cover from hail.
Alternatively, you could also try to use an umbrella and place it next to your plants to protect them from hail to a certain extent.
Should you pinch out garlic?
You should never pinch garlic plants since you would just do more harm than good.
In fact, removing any of the precious plant material would take away power from your plants and your yields would be significantly lower.
Where to pinch garlic?
If you still want to pinch out garlic for your own reasons, I highly recommend you do so outdoors to avoid a mess inside your home and also to avoid introducing pests or plant diseases to your home.
Can you grow garlic without fertilizer?
It is indeed possible to grow garlic without adding any additional fertilizer as long as you provide a high-quality soil mix to your plants and also make sure that your plants have enough space so that they don’t have to compete for nutrients with each other.
If you want to add some fertilizer, at least make sure that you use natural fertilizer to protect our environment and also the soil in your garden.
Should you cover your garlic to protect them against frost?
There is no need to protect garlic plants from frost.
Garlic likes the cold and even needs exposure to the cold to produce healthy bulbs.
How to get rid of moss when growing garlic?
Moss on the soil is usually a sign of excessive levels of moisture.
Consequently, if you see moss on the soil surface, make sure to water your plants less often so that the soil can dry and the moss will vanish.
Pests & Diseases
Can you grow garlic without using pesticides?
The better the growing conditions you provide to your plants, the stronger your plants will grow and the less vulnerable they will be to pests.
Hence, growing garlic without using any pesticides is indeed possible as long as you optimize all the factors around your garlic growing project to minimize the risk of pest infestations.
Should you use natural or chemical pesticides for garlic plants?
In case pest infestations get too severe, you may have no other choice than to use pesticides to protect your plants.
In such a case, make sure to rely on natural pesticides instead of chemical substances to get rid of pests to make your growing project as organic as possible.
What are the most common garlic pests?
Mites, nematodes, thrips and maggots usually try to feed on garlic plants.
However, there are many more garden pests you have to protect garlic from and you should make sure to get some knowledge in this regard so that you get to know how to get rid of those pests in a proper manner.
How to protect garlic plants against pests?
There are many simple ways to deter those pests. Make sure to check out how to get rid of garlic pests and diseases and also my pest prevention articles if you want to know how to get rid of garden pests in a simple but yet effective manner.
Is garlic a good plant to grow with children?
Growing garlic is not that easy and also takes quite a long time.
Hence, there are many better plants you could grow with your children so that they don’t lose interest in your growing projects. For instance, carrots grow much faster and are also much easier to grow.
Is garlic a good plant for a school project?
Since it will take you quite long to grow garlic, it may not be the best of all school projects since school kids may just not see the end result since they may be on vacation during harvesting time.
Consequently, instead of growing garlic in school, you may want to go for growing tomatoes or cucumbers from seedlings instead since they will be ready to harvest much faster.
Is growing garlic difficult?
Growing garlic can be a real challenge. In fact, it is much more difficult to grow garlic in a decent manner than it is to grow many other garden vegetables.
Hence, if you just start out with growing plants at home, you may rather want to grow tomatoes or other vegetables that allow you to make mistakes and still deliver decent results.
What color does ripe garlic have?
Ripe garlic bulbs usually have a white color. Hence, once you see white bulbs that are also big enough in diameter, you can just harvest them and use your garlic for many delicious dishes.
Can you save seeds from garlic plants?
You can also save seeds from garlic plants. Just wait until your garlic plants flower and collect seeds from those flowers.
Store them in dry and dark places inside your home and you will have seeds for many growing projects yet to come in the future.
Can garlic get overripe?
If you don’t harvest garlic in time, the bulbs will get overripe or even rot in the ground.
Hence, make sure to harvest garlic in time to get the best out of your plants.
What parts of a garlic plant can you eat?
You can both eat garlic bulbs as well as the plant material. Both are delicious and you should definitely use the whole plant to make your growing project as eco-friendly and resource-efficient as possible.
Is growing garlic expensive?
Growing garlic at home is not expensive at all. If you have a garden, you can basically do it for free.
You just need some garlic cloves and put them into the ground.
Alternatively, you could also just get some garlic seeds from the garden center.
If you don’t have a garden, you may also have to get some pots and some potting soil.
However, those things are not really expensive and almost everyone will be able to afford growing garlic from a financial perspective.
Is growing garlic fun?
Growing garlic and other plants can be quite interesting and also a lot of fun.
It also gives you the opportunity to reconnect to nature and to sit next to your plants and relax after a hard workday.
Does garlic grow on trees?
No, garlic doesn’t grow on trees. Instead, garlic bulbs grow underground while the plant material grows above the soil surface.
Does garlic grow from flowers?
While garlic flowers, garlic bulbs will not grow from flowers.
Instead, garlic bulbs are produced in the soil and even if your plants don’t flower, you can still harvest decent garlic bulbs if you do everything right.
How many garlic plants should you grow per pot?
Since garlic plants don’t grow big, you can grow multiple plants per pot.
Of course, this also depends on the size of the pot you want to use.
The bigger the pot, the more plants you can grow in it.
However, the more space you provide to your plants, the better they will grow.
Hence, make sure that your plants get enough space so that they don’t have to compete for nutrients and sunlight with each other to maximize yields.
Which animals feed on garlic?
Rabbits, mice and other rodents will often try to feed on garlic plants.
Hence, make sure to install fences or take other measures to protect your plants as best as possible.
Will your pets eat your garlic?
Also your pets may try to feed on your garlic plants.
Consequently, make sure to protect your plants so that you don’t wake up one day and your plants are gone for some mysterious reason ;).
Are garlic plants toxic for pets?
Garlic can also be toxic or at least bad for some pets.
Thus, make sure to separate your pets from your garden plants to avoid any issues in this regard.
Why garlic grows small?
If you are not happy with your garlic yield, you probably haven’t provided decent growing conditions to your plants.
In such a case, make sure to provide a better soil mix and also a better location to your plants in the future.
Also make sure that you expose them to the cold for at least one month so that bulbs can be produced in a proper manner.
What to grow with garlic?
There are many plants you could grow with garlic.
Can you grow garlic from garlic bulbs?
It is definitely possible to grow garlic from garlic bulbs.
You could just put a whole bulb from the store into the ground and wait until you see seedlings reaching the soil surface.
Can you grow garlic from garlic slices?
Instead of growing garlic from slices, you can grow it from single cloves.
You just have to put those cloves into the ground and can expect to get one seedling from each clove.
Can you grow garlic without seeds?
As mentioned before, instead of using garlic seeds, you could just get some garlic from the grocery store and grow garlic from cloves.
Not only will this be cheaper, but you will also be able to start right now instead of having to wait until your seeds will be finally delivered to your home.
Do you have to pollinate garlic by hand?
No, there is no need to pollinate garlic plants by hand.
Instead, just let them grow and you will be able to get decent yields without any intervention in this regard.
How to grow big garlic?
If you want to grow big garlic bulbs, you have to optimize the growing conditions you provide for your plants.
This means using high-quality soil and also providing enough space to your plants.
It is also crucial that you let your plants grow outdoors in the cold to get decent bulbs.
Also make sure to water your plants on a regular basis so that your plants can grow in the best possible manner.
If you see any signs of pests, make sure to take appropriate measures in this regard.
Can you grow garlic commercially?
While you could try to grow garlic commercially, it would just be a big hustle and your chances for success would be almost zero since the market is quite fierce and you would also have enormous upfront costs for farmland and machines.
Therefore, I recommend you only grow garlic for fun instead of making a real business out of it.
Can you grow garlic from fresh seeds?
Growing garlic from fresh seeds is indeed possible.
You may even get better germination rates compared to growing garlic from dried seeds.
Can you grow garlic from dried seeds?
You could also just dry your own garlic seeds or rely on seeds from your local garden center or from an internet vendor.
All those options are perfectly fine and will deliver the desired results as long as you follow all the advice in this article.
Can you grow garlic from rotten fruits?
If you don’t want to eat garlic bulbs anymore since they already start to rot, you can still use them for growing purposes as long as no mold is present.
Can you grow garlic from cuttings?
While growing garlic from cuttings is possible in theory, it is pretty demanding and I therefore recommend you just grow garlic from seed or from cloves instead.
Should you use a garlic growing kit for growing garlic?
You could also just buy a garlic growing kit to grow garlic.
However, those kits are usually quite expensive and you may therefore just get some seeds and avoid any unnecessary expenses instead.
Does garlic grow in the wild?
Garlic also grows in the wild. However, it often looks quite different compared to our domesticated species and you will often not be able to recognize those plants as garlic even when you walk by.
Should you talk to your garlic plants?
You could also try to talk to garlic plants to make them grow faster.
However, this is just a waste of time in my opinion and you should rather use your time more wisely for things that really affect the growth of your plants in a proven manner.
Should you plant garlic at half moon or full moon?
It also doesn’t matter in which moon phase you plant garlic.
Just do what’s best for your schedule and don’t worry about moon phases at all.
Now that you hopefully found the answers you were looking for, also make sure to check out my garlic grower’s guide to get a step-by-step approach on how to grow garlic from seed to harvest.
Own research and experience
About the Author
My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my plants grow and also always try new things to improve my overall conditions at home.
In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants and improving your home as well, even though you might still be a beginner right now.