When to Plant Garlic

Updated July 20, 2017

Garlic (Allium sativum) has two subspecies: softneck garlic (Allium sativum sativum) and hardneck garlic (Allium sativum ophioscorodon). Hardneck varieties grow better in colder climates. Knowing which type of garlic you have, and the severity of your winter, helps you determine when to plant the aromatic cloves in your garden.

When Too Plant Garlic

Garlic needs a cold period before it will grow properly. For best results plant garlic in the fall, anytime from mid September onward, allow at least six weeks before freeze up. Garlic needs time to develop roots, but not so much time that the shoots break the surface of the soil before the ground freezes. In warmer climates store garlic in a cool place, 45 to 10 degrees Celsius for three weeks, before planting.


Garlic can be saved from year to year and replanted in the garden. It will gradually adapt to your growing conditions. Leave garlic for replanting in the garden past the usual harvest time, after the tops have died down. from mid July onwards. This keeps the bulbs cool and storage time is less. If you have to remove it from the garden earlier, store it at 10 degrees Celsius.

Planting Garlic Bulbils

Hardneck garlic produces a scape or flower stalk in midsummer. The flower head is full of tiny seeds that develop into bulbils. Each bulbils can be planted to produce a new head of garlic. If you are not interested in the bulblets cut off the scape so the clove develops into a bigger bulb. Scapes can be eaten in stir-fries, omelettes and chopped into salads.

Replanting Garlic Bubils For Bigger Bulbs.

Harvest bulbils from the garlic scapes when the heads have burst open and the bulbils are mature. Plant them in the fall like garlic cloves. Next year harvest them when the tops die down, In midsummer. Store like regular garlic then replant them back into the garden. It may take two or three years for the bulbils to develop into mature, garlic-sized heads.

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About the Author

Melanie Watts has been freelance writing since 1995. Her writing credits include work for garden magazines such as "Gardens West," "Canadian Gardening" and "British Columbia Gardening." She holds a Master Gardener certificate from the University of Northern British Columbia.