How To Grow Garlic In Pots

Whether for cooking or as a home remedy, garlic offers a myriad of uses around the home. However, is it easy to grow on your own? 

The short answer is, yes. (Hooray!)

However, as is the case with all plants (except zucchini, that stuff grows everywhere!) you have to do things the right way if you want to make the work worth it. We’ll give you the tips for how to grow garlic in pots, regardless of your space limitations.

What You’ll Need to Grow Garlic In Pots

Growing garlic in pots require three important materials: 

  • A container at least 8-10 inches deep – While garlic doesn’t need to grow very deep into the soil, you still want to give the cloves room to grow a bit of extra space. (1) Make sure your container is 8 inches deep at the minimum! It is also essential that the container has drainage holes in the bottom, so the soil doesn’t get too wet.
  • A soil-free potting mix – Do not use regular garden soil. Use a soil-free potting mix or a 50/50 blend of soil and compost because it provides the necessary moisture and nutrients for a garlic bulb to grow. 
  • A bulb of garlic – If you are committed to healthy, sustainable gardening, get a properly grown bulb at a local nursery or farmers market. Bulbs at grocery stores are often treated to prevent sprouting. The larger the clove, the more likely you will end up with a larger bulb in the long run! (2

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How To Grow Garlic In Pots

Here’s an easy three-step process on how to grow your own garlic at home:

how to grow garlic in pots graphic

1. Prepare The Container

Dampen your potting soil mixture and then fill the container, leaving just a few inches of room at the top.

When you are filling the container with potting soil mixture, you don’t have to fill the container all the way to the top. 

If you want to add a bit more zest to your soil mixture, consider adding some nutrient rich compost, made right from your own apartment!

2. Plant The Garlic

How deep do you plant the garlic cloves?

Anywhere from 2-5 inches will do. 

“Some growers plant deeper than 3 inches, however this only works well in sandy soils that drain very well.”

The key is to make sure that the tops of the cloves will end up around an inch below the surface. 

Place a single clove in each hole with the tip pointing upwards. The opposite end of the point is where the roots will grow, downward and out.

Make each hole four or five inches apart from the others and at least a few inches from the edge of the container.

If the hole is too deep to dig with your finger, use a trowel handle, a piece of bamboo, or some other stick-like tool to drill long, shaft-like holes that won’t disturb the rest of the bed.

Don’t forget to fill the holes back in!

3. Caring for the Garlic

Place the container in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight, about 6-8 hours a day. (3)

Keep the soil thoroughly moist. However, do not overwater it. Also, consider collecting and using rainwater when possible, as it can be more gentle than tap water!

Too much water is bad for garlic. Overwatering can lead to poor bulb growth and even rotting. 

Note: Click here for more information on collecting and using rainwater!

A good rule of thumb to follow: if the dirt is dry to the touch, water the plants.

If it is below freezing outside, even if the temperature is controlled, your house will have lower humidity than usual. Make sure to keep a closer eye on plants during these times so that they don’t dry out!

Finally, did you know that garlic plants flower? (4) (Garlic? Who woulda thunk it!) 

“…[Hardneck] varieties produce tiny bulblets at the end of a tall flowering stalk in addition to a fat underground bulb of cloves.”

It’s a good idea to cut those flowers right off at their base before they bloom. It’s a sad loss, but it’ll help keep the nutrients flowing to the most valuable part of the plant: the bulb!

Final Thoughts

While there are numerous varieties of garlic, it grows very similarly regardless of the kind you’re working with, which makes breaking down the growing process very simple.

For more green thumb activity, why not check out these articles on how to grow tomatoes in containers or how to grow beets in containers for quick, easy inspiration.

Whether you’ve grown your own garlic in pots before or are planning to soon, share some of your thoughts, plans, and experiences in the comments section below!

Happy planting!

FAQs

The best month to grow garlic is during September to mid October. However, if you are growing garlic indoors, this doesn’t matter. As long as you’re able to provide the recommended nutrients and optimal environment, your garlic should grow in no time.

The best temperature to grow garlic is 32° to 50°F for the first two months. Once it matures, garlic can thrive in hotter temperatures.

Garlic is ready to harvest when its leaves are brown or yellow. However, you don’t have to wait for all the leaves to change color. Having three to four brown leaves is enough.

It will take 3 months for garlic to fully mature. However, depending on the variety and care, it can be longer.

To harvest garlic grown in pots, you can use a fork to get an entire bulb out of the ground without damaging it or leaving anything behind.

  1. Growing garlic. Retrieved from: https://gardenate.com/plant/Garlic
  2. Melinda’s Gardening Moment: Planting garlic. Retrieved from: https://nebraska.tv/features/good-morning-nebraska/melindas-gardening-moment-planting-garlic
  3. Garlic 101. Retrieved from: https://www.miraclegro.com/en-us/library/fruit-vegetable-herb/garlic-101
  4. Get your garlic on: A primer on planting, growing and harvesting. Retrieved from: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/get-your-garlic-primer-planting-growing-harvesting
Garlic Plant

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