Master the Art of Growing Garlic from Seed at Home

Welcome to the world of garlic seed cultivation! Growing garlic from seed is a rewarding experience that can yield a wider range of garlic types and flavors compared to traditional clove planting.

To get started, you will need to learn the different techniques involved in garlic seed planting, soil preparation, and seedling care. In this article, we will guide you through each step of the process to ensure successful garlic seed cultivation.

Why Choose Garlic Seed Propagation?

If you’re looking to grow garlic at home, you might think that using garlic cloves is the way to go. But have you considered using garlic seeds for propagation instead? There are several advantages to using garlic seeds that you should consider.

“When you grow garlic from seed, you have the potential to access a much wider variety of garlic types, flavors, and characteristics than you would by using cloves. This allows you to experiment and find the perfect type of garlic for your taste buds and growing conditions.”

Additionally, growing garlic from seed ensures that the garlic is free from diseases and pests that can sometimes be present in garlic cloves. This reduces the risk of your plants succumbing to diseases or pests.

Selecting the Right Garlic Seeds

Selecting the right garlic seeds is a crucial step in ensuring a successful garlic harvest. There are two main types of garlic seeds: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck garlic is generally better suited to colder climates and produces larger bulbs, while softneck garlic is more adaptable to a wider range of growing conditions and has a longer shelf life.

Within each type of garlic, there are a variety of seed options to choose from. Some popular hardneck seed varieties include Rocambole, Purple Stripe, and Porcelain. Softneck varieties include Artichoke and Silverskin. When selecting seeds, it’s important to consider factors such as planting location, climate, and desired flavor profile.

Before making a purchase, it’s also important to ensure that the seeds are of high quality and disease-free. Look for seeds that are firm and plump, with no signs of mold or discoloration.

Preparing the Soil for Garlic Seed Planting

The success of your garlic seed cultivation heavily depends on the soil preparation process. Garlic thrives in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil with a pH level between 6.2 and 7.0. Below are some guidelines to help prepare the soil:

Step Description
1 Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Avoid areas with standing water or heavy clay content.
2 Test the soil and adjust the pH level if necessary. You can use lime to increase the pH level and sulfur to lower it.
3 Prepare the soil by removing weeds and adding organic matter like compost, aged manure or leaf mulch. This helps to improve soil structure and increase nutrient content.
4 Use a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches. This creates an ideal environment for garlic roots to grow and expand.

Note: Avoid adding fresh manure to the soil. It contains too much nitrogen, which can burn the garlic roots and lead to low yields. Instead, use aged manure or compost.

Soil Enrichment Techniques

In addition to using organic matter, you can also enrich the soil with fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, applying fertilizers should not be overdone as it can lead to poor garlic growth and yield.

  • Add a balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10 at a rate of 4 pounds per 100 square feet before planting.
  • Apply a side-dressing of nitrogen fertilizer like urea or ammonium sulfate at a rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet after the garlic seedlings emerge. Repeat the application every 3-4 weeks.

By following the above soil preparation and enrichment techniques, your garlic seedlings will have a better chance of thriving and producing healthy bulbs.

Planting Garlic Seeds

Once you have selected the right garlic seeds and prepared the soil, it’s time to plant your garlic seeds. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you plant garlic from seeds with ease:

Step 1: Plant at the Right Time

Garlic seeds should be planted in the fall, about six to eight weeks before the first expected frost. This allows the garlic time to establish strong roots before the winter. In warmer climates, garlic can be planted in late winter or early spring.

Step 2: Prepare the Soil

Make sure the soil is loosened to a depth of at least six inches. You can add compost or aged manure to improve the soil’s structure and fertility. Rake the soil smooth, removing rocks or debris that may interfere with seed planting.

Step 3: Plant the Garlic Seeds

Plant the garlic seeds about two inches deep and four inches apart. It’s important to plant the garlic seeds with the pointed end facing upwards and the flat end downwards. Cover the seeds with soil and firm the soil around each seed to prevent air pockets from forming.

Step 4: Water the Seeds

Water the seeds gently, making sure the soil stays moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can cause the seeds to rot before they have a chance to sprout. Keep watering the seeds regularly until they germinate and establish strong roots.

Step 5: Mulch the Beds

Once the seeds have sprouted, mulch the beds to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and keep the soil temperature constant. You can use straw, leaves, or grass clippings as mulch. Make sure the mulch layer is about two to three inches deep.

Following these steps will help you plant garlic seeds successfully. With proper care, your garlic seeds will grow into healthy, full-grown garlic bulbs in no time.

Caring for Garlic Seedlings

Once your garlic seeds have germinated and begun to grow, it’s important to provide proper care to ensure healthy plant growth. Here are some tips to keep in mind:


Garlic seedlings need consistent moisture to thrive. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, watering deeply once or twice a week depending on the environment. Avoid overhead watering, as this can lead to fungal diseases.


Garlic plants require regular fertilization to support growth. Use a balanced fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. If using a granular fertilizer, make sure to water it in well.

Pest control

Check your garlic seedlings regularly for signs of pests such as aphids or mites. These can be controlled with a gentle soap and water spray, neem oil, or insecticidal soap. Alternatively, use companion planting techniques to deter pests naturally.


If your garlic seedlings are overcrowded, it’s important to thin them out to prevent stunted growth. Wait until the seedlings are around 4 inches tall, and then carefully remove the weaker plants, leaving the stronger ones with at least 4 inches of space between them.

With proper care and attention, your garlic seedlings will grow into mature plants that provide a bountiful harvest of delicious, flavorful garlic.

Growing Garlic from Seed Indoors

Growing garlic from seed indoors can be a great option for those with limited outdoor space or harsh climates. By following some simple steps, you can enjoy fresh garlic all year round.

Temperature Requirements

Garlic seeds require a warm environment to germinate, with temperatures between 70-80°F. You may need a heating pad or a heat lamp to maintain these temperatures if your indoor environment is too cool.


Garlic seedlings need plenty of sunlight to thrive, so place them in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. If you don’t have enough natural light, you can use artificial grow lights for your plants.

Container Selection

You can plant garlic seeds in any container that’s at least 6 inches deep and has drainage holes. You can use pots, grow bags, or even recycled containers. Just make sure your container is large enough to accommodate the growth of your garlic plant.


Plant garlic seeds in moistened potting soil, with the flat end of the seed facing down and the pointy end facing up. Plant the seeds 1 inch deep and 4 inches apart, then cover with soil.


Water your seedlings regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist. Feed the plants with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every two weeks, and keep an eye out for pests and diseases. You may need to hand-pollinate your plants indoors, as they will not have access to outdoor pollinators.

Growing garlic from seed indoors can be a rewarding experience, providing fresh garlic for cooking and adding greenery to your indoor space. Following these tips will help ensure a successful harvest.

Harvesting and Storing Garlic

Once your garlic plants have grown and are ready for harvest, it’s important to know how to properly store the bulbs to ensure they last as long as possible. Here are some tips for harvesting and storing garlic:

Harvesting Garlic

Garlic is typically ready for harvest when the leaves start to turn yellow and begin to dry out. To harvest your garlic, use a garden fork or shovel to gently lift the bulbs out of the soil. Be sure to handle the bulbs gently to avoid bruising or damaging them.

Once you have harvested your garlic bulbs, it’s time to prepare them for storage. Here’s what you need to do:

Curing Garlic

Curing is the process of drying out the garlic bulbs and is necessary to ensure they last as long as possible. To cure your garlic, simply hang the bulbs in a warm, dry place with good air circulation. This can be done indoors or outdoors, as long as the area is sheltered from the rain and direct sunlight.

Leave the garlic to cure for 2-4 weeks, until the outer layers of the bulbs are completely dry and papery. Be sure to check on your garlic bulbs regularly during the curing process, and discard any that show signs of mold or decay.

Storing Garlic

Once your garlic bulbs are fully cured, it’s time to store them for future use. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Store garlic bulbs in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. A pantry or cellar is a great option.
  • Avoid storing garlic in the refrigerator, as the humidity can cause the bulbs to sprout or go moldy.
  • Store garlic bulbs in a mesh bag, paper bag, or wire basket to allow for air circulation.
  • Check on your garlic regularly during storage, and discard any bulbs that show signs of mold or decay.

With these tips, you can successfully harvest and store your garlic bulbs for future use. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and savor the rich, complex flavor of homegrown garlic!

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Garlic Seed Cultivation

While garlic seed cultivation is a straightforward process, issues may still arise that can impede your success. Here are some common problems and their solutions:


Garlic is relatively resistant to pests and diseases, but some insects can still cause damage. Aphids, thrips, and onion maggots are some pests that can infest garlic plants. Regularly inspect your plants for these pests, and if you find any, treat them with insecticidal soap or neem oil. You can also use sticky traps to catch flying insects.


Fungal diseases can sometimes affect garlic plants, especially if they are grown in wet or humid conditions. Symptoms of fungal diseases include yellowing or browning of leaves and garlic bulbs that appear soft or mushy. To prevent fungal diseases, ensure adequate space between garlic plants, avoid overhead watering, and remove any infected plant material immediately.

Stunted Growth

If your garlic plants are not growing well, check the soil moisture, as garlic needs consistent moisture for optimal growth. Additionally, make sure that the soil is well-draining and not compacted, as this can inhibit root growth. You can also try adding some nitrogen-rich fertilizer to give your plants a boost.

Yellow Leaves

Yellowing of the leaves can be a sign of nutrient deficiency, especially if it appears on older leaves first. In this case, apply a balanced fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Yellow leaves can also be a symptom of overwatering or poor drainage, so ensure proper soil moisture levels and drainage.

Small Garlic Bulbs

If your garlic bulbs appear small, it could be due to poor soil fertility or overcrowding of plants. Ensure that the soil is well-enriched with organic matter and nutrients, and provide adequate spacing between the plants to allow for proper bulb development.

By following these tips, you can troubleshoot common issues in garlic seed cultivation and ensure a successful harvest.

Tips for Successful Garlic Seed Cultivation

Growing garlic from seed can be a rewarding experience, and here are some tips for ensuring a successful harvest:

  • Start with quality seeds: Whether you choose softneck or hardneck garlic, make sure to select high-quality seeds from a reputable source. This will help ensure a strong start for your garlic plants.
  • Choose the right planting site: Garlic prefers well-drained soil with plenty of sun. Make sure to choose a location that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight each day and has good drainage.
  • Prepare the soil properly: Garlic needs loose, fertile soil to grow well. Amend your soil with compost or well-rotted manure before planting, and make sure the soil has a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.
  • Plant at the right time: In most areas, fall is the best time to plant garlic. Plant cloves or seeds in the ground about four to six weeks before the first expected frost. This will give your garlic time to establish roots before winter sets in.
  • Water consistently: Garlic needs consistent moisture to thrive. Water regularly, but make sure not to overwater, as garlic bulbs can rot in soggy soil.
  • Fertilize appropriately: Garlic needs nutrients to grow well, but too much fertilizer can actually inhibit bulb development. Use a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 blend, and apply it sparingly throughout the growing season.
  • Harvest at the right time: Garlic is ready to harvest when the leaves turn brown and dry. Carefully dig up the bulbs, being careful not to damage them, and let them dry in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area for a few weeks.
  • Store garlic properly: Once your garlic is dry, trim the leaves and roots and store the bulbs in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Don’t store them in the refrigerator, as this can cause the bulbs to sprout prematurely.

By following these tips, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of flavorful garlic bulbs grown from seed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions and answers about growing garlic from seed:

Q: How long does it take to grow garlic from seed?

A: Growing garlic from seed can take up to 2 years before you can harvest the bulbs.

Q: Can I grow garlic from store-bought cloves?

A: While it is possible to grow garlic from store-bought cloves, it is recommended to use seed garlic or buy garlic bulbs specifically for planting to ensure the best results.

Q: When is the best time to plant garlic seeds?

A: The best time to plant garlic seeds is in the fall, about 2-4 weeks before the ground freezes.

Q: Can I grow garlic from seed indoors?

A: Yes, garlic can be grown from seed indoors, but it will require proper lighting and temperature conditions.

Q: How do I know when to harvest garlic?

A: Garlic is ready to harvest when the leaves begin to turn yellow and the stems begin to dry out. It is important to wait until the leaves have completely dried before harvesting.

Q: How do I store harvested garlic?

A: After harvesting, allow the garlic to dry for 2-3 weeks in a cool, dry place with good ventilation. Once dry, store garlic in a cool, dark place with low humidity.

Q: How do I prevent pests and diseases while growing garlic from seed?

A: To prevent pests and diseases, make sure to plant garlic in well-draining soil, rotate crops annually, and avoid overwatering. You can also use organic pest control methods such as neem oil or garlic spray.

Q: Is it possible to grow garlic from seed in warmer climates?

A: Yes, it is possible to grow garlic from seed in warmer climates, but it may require extra care and attention to ensure proper growth and development.

Q: Can I eat the garlic scapes that grow from garlic seeds?

A: Yes, garlic scapes are edible and can be used in cooking. However, removing the scapes can cause the garlic bulb to grow larger.

Hopefully, these answers have provided some clarity on the process of growing garlic from seed!