How To Grow Garlic From Seed

Image by rfduck

By Nikki Tilley
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)

Once in awhile someone wonders how to grow garlic from seed. While growing garlic is easy, there’s no sure way to do so using garlic seed. Garlic is typically grown from cloves.

Garlic Seed Propagation

Garlic doesn’t usually set true seed, and on those rare occasions when it does, garlic seed resembles the small, black seeds of onions. The flowers of garlic plants usually fade long before producing any seed. Of course, plants produced using garlic seed propagation are not likely to grow anyway and those few that do will take years to produce any garlic.

Occasionally, topsets (or flower stalks) can be removed and used to increase seed stock, as some varieties may stimulate seed production. But for the most part, garlic is reproduced and grown from cloves, which are found inside the bulbils.

Garlic seed propagation depends mainly on the variety used and the climate where it is grown.

Hardneck varieties such as Purple Stripe produce flower stalks and are usually well adapted to cooler climates. Hardneck garlic has a slightly shorter shelf life, from five to seven months, while softneck varieties can be stored for up to nine months.

Softneck garlic, like artichoke, don’t normally produce flower stalks; however, climate can be a factor as to whether or not this actually happens. Although some types of softneck garlic are suitable for cool climates, most do better in warmer environments. Your best chance for garlic seed propagation to be successful is to grow several varieties.

How to Grow Garlic

Garlic can be grown easily, and again, it is typically grown from cloves, not garlic seed. Garlic grows best in loose, well-drained soil that’s been amended with organic matter.

Like many bulbs, garlic requires a cold period for healthy growth. You can plant garlic anytime in autumn, provided it’s early enough for them to build strong roots systems and the soil is still manageable. Separate the cloves just prior to planting and locate a sunny area to grow them in. Plant the cloves with the point facing upward about 2 to 3 inches deep and spacing about 6 inches.

Apply a generous amount of mulch to help protect their shallow roots over winter. This can be removed in early spring once the new growth is ready to emerge and the threat of freezing has ceased. During its growing season, garlic requires frequent watering and occasional fertilizing.

The plants can be harvested in late summer. Dig up the garlic plants and bundle them together (about six to eight plants) for drying. Hang them in a well-ventilated area for about three to four weeks.

More Information about Garlic
<<PREVIOUS3 2 1 ... 123NEXT>>
Print This Article
This article was last updated on
Did you find this helpful?
Share it with your friends!

Additional Help & Information

Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask one of our friendly gardening experts.

Do you know anything about gardening? Help answer someone's gardening question.

Read more articles about Garlic.

Search for more information

Use the search box below to find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: