Garlic Growing Stages: A Complete Step-By-Step Guide

Growing Garlic is a rewarding process that requires patience and attention to detail. Understanding the stages of Garlic growth is essential for any aspiring gardener or farmer who wants to cultivate healthy, flavorful bulbs. From germination to harvesting, each stage presents unique challenges and opportunities. Growing Garlic can be a fun and rewarding experience for any gardener, whether you’re experienced or just starting.

Garlic Growing Stages

Anyone can grow Garlic in their backyard garden with the right knowledge of different Garlic types and planting times. Remember to choose the type of Garlic that suits your needs best based on flavor profile and bulb size. Also, select the appropriate planting time depending on your location’s climate. For caring for your Garlic plants, ensure they receive enough sunlight and water regularly.

By following these tips, you’ll have healthy bulbs full of delicious cloves for harvest. It’s worth noting that patience is key when growing Garlic; it takes several months from planting to harvesting. But with persistence and proper care throughout its growth cycle, a bountiful harvest awaits. Let’s check out more information on garlic growing stages below.

Types of Garlic

Hardneck Garlic

Hardneck Garlic is a type of Garlic that produces a hard-central stem with small bulbs called bulbils at the top. These bulbils can be used for planting and growing new Garlic plants. One of the unique characteristics of hardneck Garlic is its bold and complex flavor profile. This variety tends to have larger cloves with thicker skins than softneck Garlic, making it easier to peel but also harder to store.

Hardneck Garlic typically thrives in colder climates with shorter growing seasons. It requires a period of cold weather to form its signature central stem, which can take up valuable energy from the plant if grown in warmer climates. When planting hardneck Garlic, it’s important to wait until after the first frost has passed before putting your cloves into the ground. This ensures that they will get enough cold exposure during their growth cycle.

Softneck Garlic

It is a popular choice among farmers and home gardeners. When planting softneck Garlic bulbs, selecting an area with well-draining soil and full sun is important. You should plant cloves about 1-2 inches deep with about 4-6 inches between them.

Garlic Growing Stages


Whether you prefer hardneck or softneck, often used in cooking, plant it at the right time of year for optimal growth. With proper care, you can enjoy an abundance of fresh, delicious Garlic straight from your garden. Germination is the first stage in the growth of Garlic. It refers to the process where a seed or bulb grows into a plant. During this stage, each clove will split and produce roots that anchor it into the soil.

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Garlic Gardening

For successful germination, you need to select high-quality Garlic cloves for planting. Each clove should be firm and free from disease or damage. You can also soak them overnight in room-temperature water before planting. Before planting, it’s important to break apart the bulb and separate individual cloves while keeping their papery covering intact. You should plant each clove about two to three inches deep with the pointed side up. The key factors that affect Garlic germination are temperature, moisture, and sunlight exposure.

Garlic prefers cooler temperatures between 10 to 15°C during germination, so avoid high-heat environments or direct sun exposure on soil surfaces. Adequate moisture levels are crucial for successful Garlic germination, but overwatering can cause rot before sprouting. Careful monitoring of soil moisture levels will allow you to keep a healthy balance without drowning your seeds. Once planted, keep the soil moist, as excessive moisture can cause rotting of bulbs. Germination occurs within two weeks after planting when shoots emerge from the ground.

Spring or Green Garlic

Spring or green Garlic is a delicious ingredient that can be used in many dishes. It’s harvested early, before the cloves fully mature into bulbs, while still tender and mild. The flavor of spring Garlic is milder than mature Garlic but stronger than scapes. This type of Garlic can be identified by its tender leaves and stems, usually bright green. Unlike traditional Garlic, spring Garlic has a milder taste and can be consumed raw or cooked.

One of the benefits of growing spring Garlic is that it requires less time to mature compared to other types of Garlic. The ideal time for planting spring Garlic is during fall, as it takes about 6-8 months to reach maturity. Growing spring or green Garlic at home requires minimal effort since this variety does not need complex soil requirements nor extensive care routines compared with other crops like Tomatoes or Cucumbers. With its quick growth cycle and unique flavor profile, adding this variety to your garden will surely add another level of excitement when harvesting season comes around.

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Scapes are one of the most exciting stages of Garlic growth. These flowering stems emerge in late spring and offer a unique twist on traditional Garlic flavor. They can be identified by their curly shape and pointed tip, which eventually gives way to small bulbils or flowers. While some gardeners remove scapes early to encourage larger bulbs, others let them grow for an added culinary treat.

Young Bulb Formation

Young bulb formation is an exciting stage in the growth of Garlic. At this point, you’ll see bulbs developing just below the soil’s surface. These young bulbs are still small and immature but eventually grow into full-sized Garlic heads. During this stage, your main goal should be to ensure that your Garlic plants receive plenty of nutrients and water. This will help them develop strong roots and healthy foliage to support the growing bulbs.

As the young bulbs mature, you may notice that some of the outer leaves on your plants turn yellow or brown. This is a natural part of the process as these older leaves die off to make way for new growth. You should check for any signs of disease or pests during this stage. Garlic plants are vulnerable to various common garden pests like aphids and spider mites, so monitor your plants regularly and act if necessary. With proper care and attention during the young bulb formation stage, you’ll soon enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious homegrown Garlic.

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Garlic Plant
Mature Bulb

Once you notice that the leaves dry and turn brown on the bottom half of the plant, most of the nutrients have been transferred from the leaves to the bulbs. When inspecting your plants for maturity, ensure that at least four or five healthy green leaves remain at their top. This will ensure good storage quality for your harvested bulbs. At this point, don’t water them anymore, as excess moisture can cause rotting during harvesting time. Instead, stop watering two weeks before harvesting to allow drying even further.


Flowering is a crucial stage in the growth of Garlic, and it’s essential to keep an eye on this phase. Typically, flowering occurs when environmental conditions change, such as temperature or day length. Garlic plants exposed to these changes may start growing scapes, eventually producing flowers. When Garlic plants begin to flower, they require extra care and attention. Flowering can reduce the size of Garlic bulbs if not managed properly. Therefore, removing the flowers from your Garlic plant as soon as you notice them is recommended.

Removing the flowers ensures that all the nutrients go into developing larger bulbs rather than into seed production. Additionally, eliminating flowers helps increase air circulation around the plants and reduces pest infestations. It’s worth noting that some gardeners choose not to remove their Garlic flowers for aesthetic purposes or leave a few so they can harvest seeds for future planting. However, leaving too many flowering stalks will affect bulb size negatively. Ensuring proper care during the flowering stage can contribute significantly to desirable bulb development later in maturity.

Harvesting Garlic

Harvesting Garlic is the most satisfying part of growing it. When the leaves begin to yellow and dry out, it’s time to pull them up. Timing for harvesting can vary depending on your location and climate. The goal is to harvest before bulbs split apart or rot in the ground. Carefully dig around each bulb; be careful not to damage them. Once you have harvested your Garlic, remove any excess soil from the roots but leave them intact.

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Garlic Harvest

If you plan on storing your Garlic long-term, trim off any extra leaves about an inch above the bulb. Set aside some of your best heads for next year’s crop as seed stock. Store these separately from those that will be eaten so they don’t accidentally get used in cooking. Allow freshly harvested Garlic to cure by hanging it in a well-ventilated area (usually 2-3 weeks). Once cured, store your Garlic somewhere cool and dark, where it can last several months.

Tips for Growing Garlic

When planting Garlic, there are a few important tips to remember. First and foremost, make sure you choose the right variety of Garlic for your region and climate. Different types of Garlic are available such as softneck and hardneck varieties that grow better in specific areas.
Before planting, you should prepare the soil by adding compost to improve drainage and fertility. Garlic needs well-draining soil with a pH between 6-7.

You can also add a bone meal or blood meal for added nutrition. When it comes time to plant, separate each bulb into individual cloves and plant them about 2 to 3 inches deep with the pointed end facing up. Space them about 6-8 inches apart in rows at least 12 inches apart. Once planted, cover with mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Keep the soil moist until sprouts emerge. Once you’ve planted your Garlic, properly caring for it is important to ensure a bountiful harvest.

Throughout the growing season, Garlic needs consistent moisture. Water deeply twice a week, especially during dry periods. Avoid overwatering, as this can cause rotting and disease. Garlic is a heavy feeder and requires regular fertilization. Apply a balanced fertilizer every four weeks until two weeks before harvesting. Keep weeds under control around your Garlic plants as they compete with the Garlic for nutrients and water.

Hand-weed carefully or use a mulch to prevent weed growth. Check regularly for pests such as onion maggots and aphids, which can damage the bulbs and leaves of your Garlic plants. Use organic pest controls such as neem oil spray or insecticidal soap if necessary. When the lower leaves on the plant start turning brown, stop watering and allow the soil to dry out slightly before lifting each bulb from the ground using a garden fork.

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Garlic Seedlings


Each stage requires proper attention and care to ensure the best results, from germination to mature bulb formation and harvesting. Understanding these detailed stages allows you to optimize your Garlic production for maximum yield and quality. Remember to choose healthy seed cloves from reputable sources and provide adequate soil preparation, watering, pest control measures, and fertilization during the growing period. Also, pay attention to environmental factors such as temperature and sunlight exposure.


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