How To Plant Garlic From Bulb [ Full Guide ]

Garlic is not only a flavorful addition to countless dishes but also comes with a host of health benefits. Growing your own garlic can be a rewarding experience and is relatively easy, making it an ideal crop for beginners and seasoned gardeners alike. Planting garlic from bulbs is a common and efficient method, and by following a few simple steps, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this aromatic bulb.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Garlic From Bulb

To plant garlic from a bulb, break the bulb into individual cloves and select the largest, healthiest ones for planting. Prepare the soil by removing weeds, tilling it, and incorporating organic matter. Dig furrows in the soil and plant the cloves with the pointed end facing up, spaced 4-6 inches apart. Cover the cloves with soil and mulch, and ensure they receive adequate water and sunlight. With proper care, your garlic will sprout and grow into full-sized bulbs ready for harvest.

Understanding Garlic Bulbs

Before diving into the planting process, it’s essential to understand the structure and types of garlic bulbs. A typical garlic bulb consists of multiple cloves attached to a central axis. Each clove is a potential garlic plant, capable of producing a new bulb when planted in the soil.

There are two main types of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck garlic varieties produce a woody central stalk, called a scape, and typically thrive in colder climates. Softneck garlic, on the other hand, tends to have a milder flavor, a longer shelf life, and is well-suited to warmer climates. When selecting garlic bulbs for planting, it’s important to choose varieties that are well-suited to your climate and growing conditions.

Choosing The Right Bulbs For Planting

Selecting high-quality bulbs is crucial for successful garlic cultivation. When choosing bulbs for planting, look for ones that are large, firm, and free from any signs of disease or damage. It’s best to source garlic bulbs from reputable seed suppliers or local nurseries to ensure their quality and suitability for your growing region.

It’s also important to consider the type of garlic you want to grow. Whether you opt for hardneck or softneck varieties, ensure that the bulbs are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions. This will contribute to the overall success of your garlic crop.

Preparing The Soil For Garlic Planting

Garlic thrives in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. Before planting, it’s essential to prepare the soil to provide the best growing conditions for the garlic cloves. Here’s how to prepare the soil for planting garlic:

1. Weed Control

Begin by clearing the planting area of any weeds or debris. Weeds can compete with garlic for nutrients and water, so it’s important to eliminate them before planting.

2. Tilling

Using a garden fork or tiller, loosen the soil to a depth of around 8-10 inches. This will improve aeration and drainage, providing the garlic roots with an optimal environment for growth.

3. Incorporating Organic Matter

Add organic matter, such as well-rotted compost or aged manure, to the soil. This will enrich the soil with essential nutrients and improve its structure, ensuring that the garlic plants have access to the resources they need to thrive.

4. Soil Testing

Consider conducting a soil test to determine the pH level and nutrient content of the soil. Based on the results, you can make any necessary amendments to ensure that the soil is well-balanced and suitable for garlic cultivation.

Optimal Growing Conditions For Garlic

Garlic requires certain growing conditions to develop into healthy, robust plants. Understanding these optimal conditions will help ensure a successful harvest. Here are the key factors to consider:

1. Sunlight

Garlic thrives in full sunlight, so it’s important to select a planting location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Adequate sunlight is essential for the growth and development of garlic bulbs.

2. Watering

While garlic prefers well-drained soil, it still requires regular watering, especially during dry spells. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, to promote strong root development and bulb formation.

3. Spacing

When planting garlic cloves, space them 4-6 inches apart in rows that are 12-18 inches apart. Providing ample space between the cloves allows for proper air circulation, reducing the risk of disease and promoting optimal bulb development.

4. Mulching

After planting the cloves, apply a layer of mulch to the soil surface. Organic mulch, such as straw or chopped leaves, helps conserve soil moisture, suppresses weed growth, and insulates the soil, which can be particularly beneficial in colder climates.

5. Fertilization

Garlic benefits from a balanced fertilizer application, particularly nitrogen, at the time of planting and again in early spring as the plants begin active growth. Avoid over-fertilization, as this can lead to excessive vegetative growth at the expense of bulb development.

RELATED  How To Plant Potatoes That Have Sprouted [ Full Guide ]

6. Maintenance

Throughout the growing season, monitor the garlic plants for signs of pests, diseases, or nutrient deficiencies. Address any issues promptly to ensure the health and productivity of the crop.

Planting garlic from bulbs is a straightforward process that can yield a plentiful harvest of this versatile culinary ingredient. By understanding the different types of garlic bulbs, selecting high-quality specimens, and preparing the soil to provide optimal growing conditions, you can set the stage for successful garlic cultivation. With proper care, regular maintenance, and attention to the plant’s needs, you can look forward to a satisfying harvest of homegrown garlic. Whether you’re a novice gardener or a seasoned green thumb, planting garlic from bulbs can be a rewarding and enjoyable endeavor.

Timing Of Garlic Planting

Garlic is not only a versatile kitchen ingredient but also a great addition to any garden. It is relatively easy to grow and can thrive in most climates. Planting garlic from a bulb is a common technique, and it is the preferred method for most gardeners. Garlic bulbs are readily available in nurseries and gardening centers, making it convenient for anyone to start growing their own garlic.

Garlic bulbs consist of multiple cloves, and each clove has the potential to grow into a new garlic plant. By planting garlic bulbs, you can propagate this herb and enjoy a fresh supply throughout the year.

The timing of garlic planting plays a crucial role in the success of your crop. In general, it is best to plant garlic bulbs in the fall, before the ground freezes. Ideally, you should aim to plant garlic about 4 to 6 weeks before the ground is expected to freeze in your region. This timing allows the garlic cloves to establish roots before winter and gives them a head start for the upcoming growing season.

For most areas, planting garlic in late September or early October is suitable. However, if you live in a region with mild winters, you can plant garlic as late as early November. It is important to check the average first frost date in your area to determine the best time for planting.

Step-by-Step Guide To Planting Garlic Bulbs

  1. Selecting the Garlic Bulbs: Choose high-quality garlic bulbs for planting. Look for bulbs that are firm, with healthy-looking cloves. Avoid bulbs that are soft, shriveled, or have visible signs of disease.

  2. Preparing the Soil: Garlic prefers well-draining soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. Begin by clearing the area of weeds and debris. Loosen the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches using a garden fork or tiller. Remove any large rocks or roots that may hinder root growth.

  3. Amending the Soil: Garlic benefits from fertile soil. Before planting, amend the soil with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. Work the organic matter into the top 4 to 6 inches of soil.

  4. Separating the Cloves: Carefully separate the cloves from the garlic bulb. Try to keep the cloves intact with their papery skin intact. Avoid damaging the cloves, as any wounds can make them susceptible to diseases.

  5. Choosing the Largest Cloves: Select the largest and healthiest cloves for planting. These cloves have the best chance of developing into robust garlic plants. Smaller cloves can be used in cooking or saved for future plantings.

  6. Planting the Cloves: Dig a trench that is approximately 2 inches deep. Place the cloves in the trench with the pointed end facing up and the flat end down. Space the cloves 4 to 6 inches apart, allowing enough room for the garlic to grow.

  7. Covering the Cloves: Gently cover the cloves with soil, ensuring they are completely buried. Lightly firm the soil over the cloves. The soil should be loose enough for the emerging shoots to push through easily.

  8. Watering the Planted Garlic: After planting, give the garlic a thorough watering. This will help the cloves settle into the soil and initiate the germination process. Be mindful not to overwater, as excess moisture can cause rotting.

  9. Mulching the Bed: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or dried grass clippings, to the garlic bed. Mulching helps conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Apply a layer of mulch about 2 to 3 inches thick, taking care not to cover the emerging shoots.

Proper Spacing And Depth For Planting Garlic

Proper spacing and depth are essential for healthy garlic growth. When planting garlic bulbs, it is important to give the cloves enough room to develop into mature bulbs. The depth of planting also affects the garlic’s ability to produce a robust crop. Here are some guidelines to ensure proper spacing and depth for planting garlic:

  • Spacing: Garlic cloves should be spaced 4 to 6 inches apart. This spacing allows air circulation, reduces the risk of disease, and provides enough room for the bulbs to form. If the cloves are planted too closely, they may compete for nutrients and sunlight, resulting in smaller bulbs.

  • Depth: Plant garlic cloves at a depth of approximately 2 inches. This depth is measured from the top of the clove to the soil surface. Planting cloves too shallow may expose them to temperature fluctuations and make them more vulnerable to drying out. On the other hand, planting too deep may hinder the emergence of shoots.

RELATED  How To Plant Seedlings [ Full Guide ]

Caring For Garlic Plants After Planting

Once the garlic is planted, it requires proper care to ensure optimal growth and a bountiful harvest. Here are some essential care practices for garlic plants:

  • Watering: Garlic plants need regular watering, especially during dry periods. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot and negatively impact the growth of the garlic bulbs.

  • Fertilizing: Garlic benefits from organic fertilizers rich in nitrogen. Apply a balanced organic fertilizer in early spring, just as the shoots emerge from the soil. Avoid using excessive amounts of nitrogen, as it can result in lush foliage and smaller bulbs.

  • Weeding: Remove weeds from the garlic bed regularly. Weeds compete with garlic for nutrients, moisture, and sunlight. Hand-weeding is recommended to avoid damaging the garlic plants’ shallow root system.

  • Mulching: Maintain a layer of mulch around the garlic plants to suppress weed growth and retain moisture. As the garlic plants grow, monitor the mulch layer and add more if necessary.

  • Pruning: Remove any scapes that appear on the garlic plants. Scapes are the curled flower stalks that emerge from hardneck garlic varieties. Removing scapes encourages the plant to focus its energy on bulb formation rather than flower production.

  • Pest and Disease Management: Garlic is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can still be affected by common issues such as fungal diseases and pests like aphids or onion maggots. Monitor the plants regularly for signs of disease or pest activity. If necessary, apply organic pest and disease control methods.

  • Harvesting: Garlic is typically harvested when the leaves start to turn yellow and dry out. Use a garden fork or shovel to gently loosen the soil around the bulbs. Lift the bulbs from the ground, taking care not to damage them. Allow the harvested garlic to dry in a well-ventilated area for a few weeks before storing it.

Planting garlic from bulbs is a simple and rewarding gardening activity. By following the correct timing, spacing, and depth, you can ensure the successful establishment of garlic plants. Providing proper care, including watering, fertilizing, weeding, and pest management, will help your garlic plants thrive. Soon, you will be enjoying the delicious flavor and aroma of homegrown garlic in your culinary endeavors.

Common Pests And Diseases Of Garlic

Garlic is easy to grow and requires minimal care, making it the perfect crop for beginners. Garlic is also a relatively low-maintenance crop and can be planted in the fall and spring. There are two types of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck garlic is better suited for colder climates and has a center stem that can be harvested and eaten. Softneck garlic is more commonly found in supermarkets and spreads well.

Planting garlic in the fall is recommended because garlic needs a period of cold dormancy to produce healthy bulbs. In areas with mild winters, planting can occur later in the winter. Planting in the spring can also be done, but the harvested bulbs will be smaller.

Like any plant, garlic is susceptible to various pests and diseases. The most common issue is root rot. Root rot is caused by soil-borne fungi and can lead to stunted growth and rotting roots. One way to prevent root rot is to ensure your garlic is planted in well-drained soil.

Another issue with garlic is the onion fly. The onion fly lays its eggs on the soil, and when the larvae hatch, they tunnel into the garlic bulbs. There are a few ways to prevent onion flies. One is to cover the garlic with a floating row cover, which will prevent the flies from laying their eggs on the soil. Another way to prevent onion flies is to plant the garlic in a new location each year. This will make it more difficult for the onion flies to find and lay their eggs on the garlic.

Harvesting Garlic Bulbs

Garlic is usually harvested in the summer or fall and requires a few weeks to dry before being used. When the leaves of the garlic start to die back, it’s time to harvest. Carefully remove the garlic from the soil with a garden fork or spade. Be careful not to damage the garlic bulbs, as this can lead to rot.

RELATED  How To Plant Succulent [ Full Guide ]

After harvesting, lay the garlic out in a dry, well-ventilated area for a few weeks to dry. This will make it easier to clean and store the garlic. When the garlic is dry, brush off any dirt or debris and trim the roots and leaves.

Storing And Using Harvested Garlic

Properly stored garlic can last for up to six months. Store garlic in a cool, dark, and dry place with good ventilation. One way to store garlic is to braid the leaves together and hang the garlic in a cool, dark place. Another option is to store it in a mesh bag.

Garlic bulbs can be used in a wide variety of dishes, including pasta, sauces, and roasted vegetables. Garlic can also be minced, chopped, or pressed and added to soups or stews.

Tips For Success In Planting Garlic Bulbs

Here are some tips to ensure success when planting garlic bulbs:

1. Choose The Right Garlic

Choose high quality, disease-free garlic bulbs from a reputable source. Avoid using garlic from the grocery store because it may have been treated with chemicals that can inhibit growth.

2. Prepare The Soil

Garlic prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Make sure the soil is deep enough to accommodate the garlic bulbs, with a depth of at least six inches.

3. Plant At The Right Time

Plant garlic in the fall or late winter to ensure that it has enough time to mature and produce healthy bulbs.

4. Proper Planting Depth

Plant garlic bulbs with the pointed end facing up and the flat end facing down, about one to two inches deep. Make sure each bulb is planted at least six inches apart.

5. Water Regularly

Garlic needs consistent moisture to produce healthy bulbs. Water regularly, but avoid overwatering, as this can lead to rot.

6. Fertilize

Garlic benefits from regular fertilization, especially when planted in soil that is poor in organic matter. Use a balanced fertilizer or organic compost.

7. Mulch

Mulch your garlic with a layer of organic matter, such as straw or leaves. This will help the soil retain moisture and prevent weeds.


Planting garlic from bulb is a simple and rewarding process that can yield delicious, homegrown garlic. By following these tips, you can ensure a healthy and abundant harvest. Remember to choose high-quality garlic, prepare the soil, plant at the right time, water regularly, fertilize, and mulch. With a little bit of care, you can have fresh garlic on hand all year round.


What Is The Best Time Of Year To Plant Garlic Bulbs?

In most climates, the best time to plant garlic bulbs is in the fall, around four to six weeks before the ground freezes. Planting in the fall allows the garlic to establish roots before going dormant during the winter, resulting in larger, healthier bulbs in the summer.

How Do I Prepare The Soil For Planting Garlic Bulbs?

Garlic grows best in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, remove any weeds or debris from the planting area and add compost or aged manure. If the soil is heavy or compacted, loosen it with a garden fork to improve drainage.

How Deep Should I Plant Garlic Bulbs?

Plant garlic bulbs with their flat end down and pointed end up, about two inches deep in the soil. Plant cloves six to eight inches apart, and space rows 12 to 18 inches apart.

How Much Water Does Garlic Need?

Garlic prefers evenly moist, well-draining soil. Water the garlic well at planting time and then provide about one inch of water per week during the growing season. If the soil feels dry to the touch, give it a thorough watering.

When Is The Right Time To Harvest Garlic?

Garlic is typically ready to harvest when the leaves turn yellow and begin to dry out. This usually occurs in mid to late summer, around six to eight months after planting. To harvest, gently loosen the soil around the bulbs and pull the entire plant from the ground. Allow the garlic to dry in a cool, dry place for several weeks before storing.