Growing garlic in pots is a fantastic way to enjoy this flavourful herb, even with limited outdoor space. With the right container, soil, and care, you can cultivate garlic on your balcony, patio, or indoors.
I tend to throw them into the odd container I have lying around the allotment and stick them down the side of my shed; the garlic growing time is so long you can almost forget about them.
This step-by-step guide will walk you through growing garlic in pots to ensure a bountiful harvest of fresh, aromatic bulbs.
1. Gather Your Supplies
Before you begin, gather the necessary supplies:
- Garlic cloves (seed garlic) – choose a variety for either autumn or spring planting
- Large pots or containers
- High-quality potting mix
- Compost or well-rotted organic matter
- Mulch (optional)
- Watering can or hose
2. Select the Right Garlic
Choose high-quality seed garlic from a reputable source. You can use garlic bulbs purchased from a grocery store, as long as they haven’t been treated with growth inhibitors, but I recommend buying a dedicated planting variety.
Separate the cloves carefully while keeping the papery skin intact.
3. Choose the Right Container
Select large pots or containers with a minimum depth of 8-10 inches (20-25 cm). Garlic roots need space to develop, so opt for wider containers if possible. Ensure the container has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
4. Prepare the Potting Mix
5. Plant the Garlic Cloves
- Plant the garlic cloves about 2 inches (5 cm) deep in the potting mix with the pointed end facing up and the flat, root end down. Plant cloves 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart to allow room for growth.
6. Watering and Care
- Water the garlic thoroughly after planting to settle the soil. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged throughout the growing season. Container plants may dry out more quickly, so check regularly.
- Consider mulching the soil’s surface with straw or leaves to help retain moisture and regulate temperature.
7. Sunlight and Temperature
- Place the container in a sunny location where it can receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Garlic needs adequate light to thrive.
- Garlic is typically planted in the autumn. In colder regions, you can provide protection from harsh winter temperatures by moving the container to a sheltered spot.
- Use a balanced, all-purpose or slow-release organic fertilizer to nourish your garlic plants. Apply according to package instructions or based on your plant’s needs.
9. Scapes Removal (Optional)
- Garlic plants may send up scapes (flower stalks). Removing these scapes can direct the plant’s energy back into bulb development.
- Harvest your garlic when the lower leaves have turned yellow or brown, typically in early to mid-summer. Carefully dig up the bulbs, being mindful not to damage them.
11. Curing and Storage
- Cure your harvested garlic by drying it in a well-ventilated, shaded area for several weeks. Once cured, store the garlic in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated space.
12. Preparing for the Next Crop
- Save some of your best bulbs as seed garlic for the next growing season. Store them in a cool, dry place until the next planting time.
Growing garlic in post FAQs
Can you grow garlic in pots in a greenhouse?
Yes, you can successfully grow garlic in pots within a greenhouse. In fact, a greenhouse provides an ideal environment for cultivating garlic, as it offers protection from extreme weather conditions and allows you to extend the growing season.
When growing garlic in pots in a greenhouse, select large containers that provide ample space for the garlic bulbs to develop. Use a well-draining potting mix enriched with compost, and plant garlic cloves about 2 inches deep with the pointed end up.
Ensure the pots receive adequate sunlight and maintain consistent moisture levels. Greenhouse-grown garlic can be planted for overwintering in the fall or spring for a longer growing season. Just be sure to provide proper ventilation in the greenhouse to prevent excessive humidity, which can lead to disease issues. With the right care and attention, growing garlic in pots within a greenhouse can yield robust and flavourful bulbs year-round.
Brian Sheridan has an allotment in Edgbaston and is a competitive grower. Brian is also a keen photographer and loves cooking. Brian and his wife Mary will also be running a stall at Edgebaston artisan market this year, selling products made from the allotment, including his award-winning relish!