How To Grow Garlic: Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Garlic is really easy to grow either in your garden or containers and pots in the yard. It is pretty low maintenance and typically doesn’t need too much space to thrive. Keep reading to learn how to grow garlic in pots or in the ground, the best time to harvest, and other tips for successful gardening. 

What Type of Garlic Should I Choose?

Basically, there are two types of garlic you can grow either in pots or in the ground: softneck and hardneck, also known as leeks. And here are some basic elements affecting growing garlic in containers you should know.

Hardneck or leeks: As their name implies, is very hard. They are great for planting in cold weather where the frigid temperatures are usually frequent and normal. 

Softneck: On the other hand, is softer than hardneck, and they are usually less hardy during frigid winter. Therefore, they will be best planted and thrive in areas with mild climates. 

Choose suitable types of garlic to grow. Image Unsplash

How Much Garlic Should I Grow?

The quantity of garlic you want to grow depends a lot on your space and needs. Usually, 1 pound of garlic can grow between 15 and 30 feet. But this also depends on the variety of garlic you’re going to plant and the amount of space you want to spend on it. Generally speaking, you will plant garlic in a single row. And to ensure they grow normally, it’s best to leave the row spaced 12 inches apart, no matter if it is in the ground, raised garden beds, or pots. 

Where Should I Grow Garlic?

As mentioned before, garlic is really easy to plant and grow. Therefore, you can grow them anywhere, depending on your available space. If you don’t have enough space in your garden for it, you can consider growing garlic in pots, containers, or raised garden beds. 

In case you grow garlic in the ground, make sure you follow vegetable rotation. This way, you can easily know what garlic placement will be good before planting time. This also gives you the opportunity to ensure that places are well operated, weeded, repaired and prepared.

Where to grow garlic: indoors or outdoors
Growing garlic indoors or in the ground

What You Need to Grow Garlic?

Here are some things you should prepare and consider to start growing garlic in pots or in the ground. It’s best to plan a few weeks in advance of your planting date. They include garlic (of course), the right container, soil, fertilizer, compost (optional), water, and some gardening tools.

How To Grow Garlic In The Ground?

As garlic bulbs love light, nutrient-rich soil and they don’t suffer water saturation or logging, make sure you grow them in the soil with lots of organic substances, such as rotted marune, compost, or reusable green waste. Below are details to follow:

  • Carefully separate the garlic bulbs into each clove.
  • Then grow those cloves right below the soil’s surface (around 2.5cm in depth). Make sure you put the pointed end of the cloves facing up. Also remember to keep the distance between each clove between 10 and 15 cm in a row.
  • For some garlic rows, you should leave the space between rows around 30 cm apart. This way, they have more space to thrive and it’s better for you to get rid of weeds.

If you grow your garlic during winter in heavy clay soil, it’s better to separate the cloves in module trays. Make sure you don’t water the soil too much because it might make your garlic rot. Then put compost into the tray and grow one clove in each model. You should put the clove just right above the surface of the soil, which is roughly 2.5 cm. And cover them with a layer of compost afterwards. You should store the trays in a sheltered place outdoors for the best result. 

Planted this way, the garlic can be grown in the ground in the spring when the garlic cloves have germinated.

How to grow garlic in the ground
How to grow garlic in the ground. Image: theenglishgarden

How To Grow Garlic In Pots?

Actually, you don’t need to have a large garden to plant garlic. It is very simple to grow garlic in pots or containers on your balcony or patio. Here are some steps to follow.

Picking the Right Pot

Firstly, you will need a pot with a depth of at least 8 or 10 inches. This provides enough space for the garlic roots to thrive easily. Besides, you should plant each garlic clove 4 to 6 inches apart. So, keep this in mind when you’re picking pots.

If your area is hot, you should pick a light-colored container because black pots can overheat the soil under the direct sun. 

Lastly, make sure your pots have drainage holes. And don’t forget to put some gravel at the bottom of the container’s bottom. This way, water can easily drain away from the roots.

How to grow garlic in pots.
How to grow garlic in pots. Image: greenhomediy

Preparing Your Pot

  • Fill your container with garden soil and fertilizer. Remember to get rid of pebbles and clumps from the garden soil before putting it into the container. 
  • You can also check if your garden soil has the proper pH for the cloves to grow healthily with a soil test. 
  • Start separating garlic bulbs into each clove and put them in the pot with a depth of 2.5cm and the space between each one should be around 10-15cm. 
  • Keep the compost moist enough, typically during dry periods.
Fill your container with garden soil and fertilizer to grow garlic properly. Image: Unsplash

How And When To Crop Garlic

If you grow garlic in the fall, you can harvest in June or July. Spring-grown garlic, on the other hand, will be ready to harvest a little bit later. Just wait until the leaves begin to wilt and turn yellow, then use a trowel to loosen the bulbs from the soil.

Do not use a trowel to cut garlic bulbs because this will decrease their ability to preserve. Besides, do not leave the garlic bulbs in the ground for an extended period after the leaves have wilted, as the bulbs can regrow and may rot in storage.

Place the garlic bulb in a warm and dry place before you store them. Under good conditions, garlic bulbs can be stored for up to three months.

It’s time to harvest your garlic. Image: Unsplash

Common Garlic Problems To Keep In Mind

Garlic is less likely to have diseases, but there are two common diseases you need to watch out for, including white rot and rust.

If garlic is rusty, you will usually notice rusty-colored spots on the leaves. Unfortunately, there is no way to cure this disease. The only helpful thing you can do is to avoid growing garlic in the same area for 3 years. 

White rot is another quite common disease in garlic. It will rot the roots and ultimately the garlic bulb. And crop rotation is the only cure for this. 

Top Tips For Growing Garlic

Growing garlic either in the ground or pots is very easy. But here are some gardening tips you should remember to get a successful harvest.

  • Purchase garlic bulbs from a reliable garden supplier.
  • If possible, plant your garlic before Christmas if you want to harvest soon
  • Don’t grow garlic in the soil that has recently been used to plant alliums.
  • Don’t water garlic too much to prevent waterlog.
  • Weed regularly. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some popularly asked questions about how to grow garlic ar home.

Does garlic grow well in pots?

Yes, of course. You can completely grow garlic in pots or containers. However, there are few important things to bear in mind. Garlic is very susceptible to root fungus, so it’s important that the soil you use to plant garlic cloves is well drained.

How long does it take for garlic to grow?

In general, garlic will need around 90 days to grow. 

Can I grow garlic from the grocery store?

Yes, you can. Planting garlic from grocery stores is relatively convenient. But make sure you buy it from reliable stores to make sure your garlic is healthy enough to grow afterwards. For sure, it’s better to buy from a famous garden supplier. 

Is it OK to grow garlic in spring?

Yes, you can completely grow garlic in the spring. You can plant garlic for bulbs or for a harvest of green garlic. Green garlic, also known as spring garlic, is a type of garlic equivalent to spring onion or scallions. The plant has a slender stem with bright green leaves and small bulbs.

How often should I water garlic?

You should water garlic every 3 to 5 days during the bulbing periods (usually from mid-May to June). If that time is very dry in your area, water at a depth of 2 feet every 8 to 10 days.


So, that’s all about information and tips on how to grow garlic in pots and in the ground. Don’t forget to share your experience and garlic harvest in the comment box. 

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