Master the Art of Garlic Growing in Containers: A Guide

Are you interested in growing your own garlic but don’t have the space for a traditional garden bed? Look no further than container gardening! Growing garlic in containers is an easy and efficient way to cultivate this flavorful herb in small spaces.

With our step-by-step guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to start growing garlic in containers successfully. We’ll cover the best container options, soil preparation, planting, and ongoing care for your garlic plants. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, you’ll find valuable tips and tricks to optimize your garlic cultivation in containers.

Getting Started with Growing Garlic in Containers

Growing garlic in containers is a fun and rewarding experience that can provide you with an abundant supply of fresh garlic right at your fingertips. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get started with growing garlic in containers:

Step 1: Selecting the Right Container

When choosing a container for your garlic, it’s important to make sure it’s the right size. A container that’s at least 8 inches deep and 6-8 inches wide is ideal for planting garlic cloves. The container should also have drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging.

You can use various types of containers such as plastic pots, ceramic pots, fabric bags, or even wooden boxes. Just make sure the container is clean and sterilized before planting your garlic.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Garlic Variety

There are two main types of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck garlic is more suitable for colder climates and has a stronger flavor, while softneck garlic is better for milder climates and has a milder flavor.

When selecting garlic cloves for planting, choose large, healthy cloves with papery skin intact. Do not plant garlic cloves from the grocery store, as they may have been treated with chemicals or may not be suitable for your growing area.

Step 3: Preparing the Soil

The soil you use should be well-drained and rich in organic matter. Mix compost, aged manure, or other organic materials into your soil to improve its nutrient content and texture.

Fill your container with soil until it’s about 2 inches below the rim. Make sure to leave enough room for watering.

Step 4: Planting the Garlic Cloves

Separate the garlic cloves from the bulb but keep the papery skin intact. Plant each clove with its pointed end facing up, about 2 inches deep into the soil. Space them about 4-6 inches apart to give them room to grow.

Water the soil lightly but do not overwater. Keep the soil moist but not too wet.

Tip: If you’re in a cold climate, consider planting your garlic in the fall, so it has time to establish roots before winter. In milder climates, you can plant garlic in the fall or early spring.

The Best Containers for Growing Garlic

When it comes to growing garlic in containers, there are various options available to choose from. Here are some of the best containers to consider:

Container Type Advantages Considerations
Clay Pots Provide good drainage and airflow, affordable, aesthetically pleasing Fragile, can crack in cold temperatures, needs regular watering
Plastic Containers Durable, lightweight, affordable, available in various sizes, retain moisture well Can overheat and dry out soil, needs regular checking of moisture content
Wooden Boxes Can be custom-made, aesthetically pleasing, good drainage and airflow Susceptible to rot, can be costly, may need lining with plastic or landscape fabric
Fabric Bags Portable, affordable, lightweight, excellent drainage and airflow May dry out quickly, needs frequent watering, can be susceptible to tearing

Note: The size of the container will depend on the variety of garlic chosen, but generally, a container with a depth of at least 6 inches and a width of at least 12 inches is recommended.

Consider the advantages and considerations of each container type when selecting the best one for your space and needs. With a little bit of research and planning, you can choose the perfect container for growing garlic and start your very own container garden today!

Caring for Your Container-Grown Garlic

Growing garlic in containers requires attentive care to ensure that the plants receive the proper nutrients and conditions for optimal growth. Here are some tips to help you care for your container-grown garlic:


Garlic plants grown in containers require regular watering. It is essential to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot, stunting growth or even killing the plants.

An effective way to monitor watering is by checking the top inch of soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. During hot and dry weather, garlic may need to be watered more frequently. However, make sure to avoid watering the plants during the evening to reduce the risk of fungal infections.


To encourage healthy growth, garlic plants need adequate nutrients. The best way to provide your garlic with the nutrients it needs is to fertilize it regularly. Before planting, you can mix compost, aged manure, or a slow-release organic fertilizer into the soil to provide a nutrient-rich base.

As the garlic develops, you can supplement with a liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks. However, be sure not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive leaf growth and smaller bulbs.


Mulching around your garlic plants can help retain soil moisture, reduce weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. You can apply organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, to the surface of the soil to a depth of about three inches.

Make sure to avoid placing the mulch too close to the garlic stems, as this can create excess moisture around the base of the plants and increase the risk of fungal infections.

Pest Control

Garlic plants are generally less susceptible to pest infestations than other plants. However, pests such as thrips, aphids, and spider mites can still pose a threat to your crop.

To discourage pests, you can interplant with companion plants such as chives or onions, which repel pests. You can also spray garlic plants with a natural insecticidal soap or neem oil to control infestations.

General Considerations

It is essential to keep your garlic plants healthy and well-fed throughout their growing season. Check regularly for signs of stress or disease, such as yellowing leaves, and address any issues promptly. Proper care will help ensure a bountiful harvest of flavorful garlic bulbs.

Harvesting and Storing Container-Grown Garlic

Garlic is ready to harvest when the leaves start turning yellow and drying out. The bulbs will be ready to dig up around 2-3 weeks after the leaves have turned yellow, depending on the variety.

When harvesting garlic, it’s important to avoid bruising or damaging the bulbs. Use a garden fork to gently lift the bulbs out of the soil, being careful not to damage them. Once the bulbs are harvested, it’s best to let them dry for a week or two in a warm, dry place with good airflow. This will help to cure the garlic and prepare it for long-term storage.

Once the garlic is dry, cut off the roots and trim the stems to around an inch long. Store the garlic bulbs in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place. You can use a mesh bag or hang the garlic to allow airflow. Avoid storing garlic in a plastic bag or airtight container, as this can cause the garlic to mold or sprout.

Pro tip:

“If you want to enjoy fresh garlic throughout the year, preserve it by freezing. Peel and chop garlic cloves and freeze them in an airtight container. Frozen garlic will keep for up to 6 months.”

Common Problems and Solutions for Container-Grown Garlic

Even with proper care and attention, container-grown garlic may still encounter some issues. Here are some of the common problems and solutions:

Yellowing Leaves

If the leaves of your garlic plants turn yellow, it may indicate a lack of nutrients or overwatering. To remedy this, make sure the soil is well-draining and provide your garlic with a balanced fertilizer. Also, avoid overwatering and check that your container has proper drainage.

Fungal Diseases

Garlic is susceptible to fungal diseases, such as white rot and purple blotch. To prevent these issues, plant garlic in well-draining soil and avoid watering the leaves. Additionally, remove any infected plants and practice crop rotation to prevent disease buildup in the soil.


Some pests, such as aphids and onion maggots, can damage garlic plants. To deter these pests, consider planting companion plants like chives and onions that repel them. You can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control infestations.

Prevention Tips

To prevent issues with container-grown garlic, remember to select a suitable container, use high-quality soil, and provide proper watering and drainage. Additionally, consider using organic pest control methods and practicing crop rotation to maintain healthy soil.

Companion Plants for Growing Garlic in Containers

Companion planting is the practice of growing different plants together for mutual benefit. When planting garlic in containers, there are several plants that can be grown alongside it to enhance its growth and repel pests.


Chives are great companion plants for garlic as they help to deter pests such as aphids and carrot flies. These small plants also add a flavorful boost to your cooking and thrive in the same growing conditions as garlic. Plant chives alongside your garlic in the same container, ensuring they receive adequate sunlight and water.


Lettuce is another great companion plant for garlic, especially if you are short on space. These fast-growing greens make use of the space that would otherwise be empty and can be harvested before the garlic is ready. They also add a beautiful pop of green to your container garden.


Spinach is an excellent companion plant for garlic as it helps to repel aphids, spider mites, and other pests that can damage your garlic. It also complements the flavor of garlic in many dishes, making it the perfect addition to any container garden.

When selecting companion plants for your garlic, be sure to choose plants that thrive in the same growing conditions and have similar water and sunlight requirements. With proper companion planting, you can enhance the growth of your garlic and create a thriving container garden.

Tips for Success with Container-Grown Garlic

While growing garlic in containers is relatively simple, there are a few tips and tricks to help ensure success and a bountiful harvest.

Provide Adequate Sunlight

Garlic requires plenty of sunlight to grow and thrive. Make sure your container is placed in an area that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. If you’re growing garlic indoors, you may need to supplement with artificial lighting.

Proper Spacing

When planting garlic in containers, make sure to give each clove enough space to grow and develop into a bulb. Aim to plant cloves about 3-4 inches apart and ensure they are planted at a depth of 2-3 inches below the soil surface.

Pruning Scapes

Scapes are the flower stalks that grow from garlic plants and can be harvested and eaten. However, allowing the scapes to grow too long can divert energy away from the garlic bulb. To maximize bulb growth, prune the scapes when they are about 6-8 inches long.

Overwintering Garlic

Garlic is a winter crop and can be overwintered to produce a larger harvest in the spring. To overwinter garlic, leave the container outside during the winter months in an area protected from extreme weather conditions. The garlic will enter a dormant state and resume growth in the spring.

By following these tips, you can be sure to have a successful garlic harvest from your container garden. Happy growing!

Tips for Success with Container-Grown Garlic

While growing garlic in containers is relatively simple, there are some actions you can take to optimize your results. Here are some additional tips for success:

Provide Adequate Sunlight

Garlic requires at least 6 hours of sunlight a day for optimal growth. Ensure your container is placed in a location that receives plenty of direct sunlight.

Proper Spacing

Garlic needs enough space to grow and expand. For best results, plant cloves 4-6 inches apart and 2 inches deep.

Prune Scapes

Scapes, or the flower stalks that grow from garlic plants, can be pruned to direct the plant’s energy towards bulb growth. Snip scapes off when they begin to curl in a loop.

Overwintering Garlic

In colder climates, garlic bulbs can be left in their containers over winter, as long as they are in a protected area and the soil doesn’t freeze solid. This will provide an early harvest the following season.

With these tips, you’ll be on your way to growing healthy, delicious garlic in containers. Happy planting!