When to Plant Garlic

Garlic sprouts

Plant garlic so that it receives cool temperatures during the early stages of growth when the leaves are developing. Later in the growing season, warm temperatures and long days are needed for the best bulb development.

Garlic is hardy and can withstand frost and light freezing. Elephant garlic can withstand temperatures lower than regular garlic.

Plant garlic cloves directly in the garden as soon as the soil can be worked in spring, or 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. For an early start, sow cloves indoors 4 to 6 weeks before setting out. Set out seedlings 2 to 4 weeks before to 1 week after the last frost.

Plant cloves pointed side up, 1 inch deep. Space plants 2 to 6 inches apart.

Grow garlic in humus-rich, well-drained soil. Grow garlic in full sun. Keep weeds away from garlic early in the season as plants are developing.

Garlic bulbs mature in 90 to 100 days. The tips of plant tops can be snipped to use as garlic flavoring during the growing season. When leaves yellow and droop, harvest can beg

plant garlic pointed end up
Plant garlic pointed end up

Garlic planting dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Commonly fall planted
Feb. 8Commonly fall planted
Feb. 18Commonly fall planted
Feb. 28Commonly fall planted
Mar. 10Commonly fall planted
Mar. 20Feb. 1-Mar. 1
Mar. 30Feb. 10-Mar. 10
Apr. 10Mar. 10-Apr. 10
Apr. 20Mar. 20-Apr. 20
Apr. 30Apr. 1-30
May 10Apr. 15-May 15
May 20Apr. 20-May 20
May 30May 1-30
June 10May 15-June 1
Garlic plants
Remove weeds from the garlic planting bed

Garlic planting details

  • Sowing depth: 1 inches (2.5cm) pointed end up
  • Space between plant after thinning: 2-6 inches (5-15cm)
  • Days to sprout: 7-14
  • Days to harvest: 90-100
  • Storage period: 12-16 weeks
  • Seeds for 100 row feet: 400 cloves pounds
  • Yield per 100 row feet: 15 pounds
  • Suggested Varieties: Giant Improved, Elephant, White or Mexican cultivars, Pink or Italian cultivars

Learn more about planting garlic:

Planting Garlic

Garlic Plant Starting Tips

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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