Alphabetical Plant Listing

Allium sativum (Garlic)

Garlic, Churl's Treacle, Clown's Treacle, Common Garlic, Poor Man's Treacle, Stinking Rose, Rustic Treacle, Camphor of the Poor, Nectar of the Gods, Serpent Garlic, Rocambole


Cultivated for several thousand years, Allium sativum (Garlic) is a perennial vegetable grown as an annual herb. Native to the Mediterranean area, it was known in all early civilized cultures, including the Babylonians, Egyptians, Romans, and Chinese. Garlic is related to onion, leeks, and chives. It produces aromatic, strongly flavored, edible bulbs which typically consist of 10 to 20 teardrop-shaped cloves (bulblets) enclosed in a white, inedible, parchment-like skin. In late spring, thin, long, green shoots resembling grass or wild onions sprout out of the ground. Edible, they are tender and delicious when young and add a delicate garlic flavor to salads, soups, and sauces.

Widely used in cooking for its pungent bulbs and greens, Garlic has also been used for its health and medicinal properties throughout ancient and modern history. Currently, Garlic is widely used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high cholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.

Garlic is divided into two groups:

  • Softneck Garlic (Allium sativum var. sativum): perfect for warm climates with warm winters, Softneck Garlic produces bulbs with small tightly packed cloves. Each bulb typically contains 12-20 cloves. The bulbs are bigger with smaller cloves than those of the Hardneck varieties because the plant rarely produces a flower stalk. Softneck Garlic is braidable because its neck stays soft after harvest, and therefore can be braided together. Softneck garlic is commonly sold in supermarkets because it stores well (6-9 months). Softneck garlic is less tolerant of prolonged cold temperatures than Hardneck Garlic.
     
  • Hardneck Garlic (Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon): extremely cold-hardy, this garlic produces strongly flavored bulbs with 4 to 14 cloves. The bulbs are small but the cloves are larger than those of Softneck varieties. Hardneck garlic often produces a flower stalk or scape, which carries a head of tiny clove-like bulbils. Although these bulbils can be planted, they will produce very small bulbs, requiring 2-3 years to reach adequate size. The scape must be cut to ensure the plant will divert its energies into producing a bigger bulb, not into producing flowers and seed. The scapes can be removed just after curling starts. Tender and delicious, they can be added to dishes for extra flavor such as salads and stir-fries. Do not wait until the scapes become straight. They will be tougher taste bitter. Hardneck Garlic only stores until mid-winter.
  • Grow up to 12-18 in. tall (30-45 cm) and 10-12 in. wide (25-30 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Plants need extra water during summer, while bulbs are forming. Water deeply when the soil is dry.
  • If your garden soil is heavy, try growing your garlic in a raised bed or container for good drainage.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for allium leaf-mining fly, onion white rot, downy mildew, and leek rust. Deer resistant.
  • Garlic is best planted in late fall or early winter as it needs a period of cold to produce a crop of good quality bulbs. Cover with mulch after the weather turns cold.
  • In harsh winter areas, plant your garlic cloves 6 to 8 weeks before the first fall frost date. Alternatively, Garlic can also be planted in early spring.
  • Propagate by dividing the bulb into cloves.
  • Plant the cloves 6 in. apart (15 cm) and 2 in. deep (5 cm) with the pointed side up. Space rows 12 in. apart (30 cm).
  • Cut off any flower stems that emerge in spring as they may decrease the size of your garlic bulbs.
  • Harvest when the leaves have turned yellow. Harvesting typically occurs from late spring to mid-summer.
  • Once stalks begin to droop and brown at the end of summer, withhold water to prevent bulb rot.
  • Dry your Garlic bulbs for several days before storing them in a cool, dry location.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses.
  • Allium sativum is native to South Asia, Central Asia, and northeastern Iran.

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Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A2, A3, H1, H2
Plant Type Bulbs, Herbs
Plant Family Allium
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 10" – 1' (25cm – 30cm)
Spacing 6" (15cm)
Depth 2" (5cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 4 – 9
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A2, A3, H1, H2
Plant Type Bulbs, Herbs
Plant Family Allium
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Height 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 10" – 1' (25cm – 30cm)
Spacing 6" (15cm)
Depth 2" (5cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Butterflies
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage

Great Plant Combination Ideas with Allium

Guides with Allium

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