Can You Grow Garlic from Grocery Store Bulbs

Growing your own garlic can be rewarding. But can you use store-bought bulbs? Many gardeners and home cooks wonder about this. Garlic is in so many recipes. It is possible to grow garlic from these bulbs. Yet, there are key things to think about.

Introduction to Growing Garlic from Store-Bought Bulbs

Garlic is well-loved for its strong taste and health perks in many homes. It's a great plant for you to grow if you like using it in your cooking. While you can buy special "seed garlic" for planting, growing garlic from the store is also an option.

Here's the thing about store-bought garlic—it might be treated to stop it from sprouting. And the type you find in stores may not be ideal for where you live. But, don't let that stop you. Getting tasty, healthy garlic from store bulbs is possible.

The secret is choosing the right bulbs and knowing how to care for your plants. We'll talk about the good and not-so-good parts of using grocery garlic for planting. Plus, we'll cover the steps to start grow garlic at home.

Growing garlic from the supermarket is also good for your wallet. Garlic at the store is usually cheaper than the "seed garlic" sold by special suppliers. This is a win for anyone looking to save money while gardening.

Using store-bought garlic is also easy and practical for beginner gardeners. Or for those who can't easily find seed suppliers. It's a simple way to begin growing your own food.

Yet, growing garlic this way might not always work out perfectly. The garlic's condition in the store plays a big role. So, some people get great garlic, and others might not see as good results.

But, don't be discouraged. Planting garlic from the store can still be a good way to get fresh garlic. With the right tips and a little waiting, you could soon have your own garlic harvest. Imagine making meals with garlic you grew yourself!

Selecting the Right Garlic Bulbs for Planting

Choosing the correct garlic bulbs is key to growing them successfully. Most store-bought garlic is the softneck type, not great for cold places. If you live in zone 6 or colder, look for hardneck garlic instead.

It's best to look for organic garlic at farmers' markets or from specialty shops. This garlic is grown to do well in your area's conditions. It's also bigger and free from diseases. Grocery store garlic might have chemicals that stop it from growing.

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Hardneck and softneck garlic have major differences:

  • Hardneck Garlic: It's perfect for colder weather. Hardneck garlic needs cold to bloom and has big, tasty cloves. It also looks beautiful and tastes more interesting.
  • Softneck Garlic: You'll usually see this in stores, as it lasts longer and handles warmth better. But, it might not grow well in cold areas and isn't as tough as hardneck.

Think about your local weather and soil when picking garlic for planting. In cold places, go for hardneck garlic. If it's warmer, softneck garlic is the better choice. Steer clear of the grocery store kind because it might not do great in your garden.

Can You Grow Garlic from Grocery Store Bulbs

Yes, you can grow garlic from store-bought bulbs. But you should know some things first. Many of these bulbs are treated with chemicals. These chemicals stop them from sprouting but it can hurt their ability to grow.

Most garlic in stores is the softneck type. It might not be the best for colder areas. Hardneck garlic is usually better for home gardens in cold places.

Using store-bought garlic might bring diseases or pests into your garden. This is because these bulbs could have been exposed to these problems. Their storage and how they were handled can sometimes lead to this issue.

To improve your chances of success, it's better to buy "seed garlic" from a local seller. This garlic is specially grown for planting. It's usually disease-free and better for your garden's needs.

If you still want to try with grocery store garlic, choose healthy-looking bulbs. Then, care for them well. Remember, store-bought garlic might not grow as well as seed garlic. Yet, with the right care, you could still get a decent harvest.

Planting and Growing Grocery Store Garlic

If you want to grow garlic from the store, follow these steps for the best results. Start by splitting the garlic bulb into cloves but keep the outer skin on. Then, plant the big cloves with the pointed side up. Put them about 2 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart.

It's crucial to pick a spot that gets a lot of sun and where water drains well. Mix in compost or old manure with the soil before planting. Depending on where you live, you might also need to add mulch to keep the garlic warm in winter.

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Keep the garlic watered and free from weeds during the 7 or so months it takes to grow. Be aware that garlic from stores might have been sprayed with chemicals to stop it from sprouting. So, try to choose organic garlic for planting. You can find it at grocery stores or health food shops.

If the garlic you bought shows signs of sprouting, it's more likely not treated with chemicals. This makes it better for planting. With the right care, your garlic will be ready to harvest when the leaves turn yellow.

  1. Separate the garlic bulb into individual cloves, keeping the papery outer skin intact.
  2. Plant the larger cloves, with the pointed end facing up, about 2 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart.
  3. Choose a sunny, well-draining location and amend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure before planting.
  4. Mulch the garlic bed to protect it from freezing temperatures, depending on your climate.
  5. Provide consistent watering and weeding throughout the growing season, which can take up to 7 months.
  6. Harvest your homegrown garlic when the leaves begin to turn yellow.

Caring for Your Garlic Plants

Taking good care of your garlic is key to a great harvest. Make sure the soil is always a bit moist, but not too wet. Cleaning out weeds is important too, since garlic doesn't like dealing with them.

For hardneck garlic types, you should pick off the flower scapes. By doing this, the plant can put more of its power into growing bigger bulbs.

Be patient as garlic grows because it can take up to 8 months to get ripe. Keep an eye out for bugs or diseases. Solving these problems quickly will help make sure you have a lot of healthy garlic to pick.

Tips for Growing Healthy Garlic:

  • Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged
  • Get rid of weeds to help your garlic grow better
  • Take off flower scapes from hardneck varieties to boost bulb growth
  • Remember, garlic needs time - it can take up to 8 months to mature
  • Watch for pests and diseases, and act fast if you see any problems

By using these easy tips, you can grow a strong and tasty garlic crop. Following these steps will help your garlic plants do well.

Harvesting and Storing Homegrown Garlic

Growing garlic at home leads to the exciting final step: harvesting and storing it. It's important to know when the time is right to pick garlic and how to store it well. This lets you enjoy the tasty outcome of your hard work in the garden.

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Garlic is usually ready to harvest when its green leaves start turning yellow. This happens in late spring or early summer. Be careful when digging up the bulbs so you don't harm them. Then, let them dry in a shady, airy spot for 2 to 4 weeks. This drying time, known as curing, makes your garlic last longer and taste better.

After curing, keep the garlic in a cool, dry place like a pantry or basement. It can stay fresh for several months this way. Good air flow where you keep it is key to maintain its quality. Softneck garlic usually stores better than hardneck kinds, lasting up to 8 months if you store it well.

Garlic Variety
Typical Storage Life
Softneck Garlic
6 to 8 months
Hardneck Garlic
Up to 6 months

For homegrown garlic that lasts even longer, try keeping it in the fridge. This provides the perfect cold and moist environment. With the right care, your garlic will stay fresh and delicious. It will be perfect for adding flavor to your meals.

  • Harvest garlic when the leaves begin to turn yellow and die back.
  • Cure the harvested bulbs in a shaded, well-ventilated area for 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Store cured garlic in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or basement.
  • Softneck garlic varieties typically store better than hardneck types.
  • Refrigeration can help extend the storage life of homegrown garlic.


It's doable to grow garlic from store-bought bulbs. But, you should think about a few key points. Store garlic can be a good, cheap way to start your garden. However, it may have been treated with chemicals or carry diseases.

It's better to look for organic, local "seed garlic" for planting. This lowers the risks and boosts your chances for a great harvest.

With the right planting and care, your garlic crop can flourish. This process lets you enjoy a fresh, powerful flavor in your dishes. You also get the chance to oversee how your garlic grows.

Growing your own garlic could cost less than buying it. Plus, you get to choose the right type of garlic to plant. This means picking the best-suited variety, checking the planting depth and space, and keeping the soil and water in good shape.

Being patient and paying attention to details are key. Those who garden can pick homegrown garlic when it's ready. This garlic is a key part of dishes all over the world.

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