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  • Writer's pictureJere Folgert

Growing Garlic in Water. Hydroponic Garlic

Are you ready to embark on a flavorful journey into the world of hydroponic gardening? Say goodbye to soil and hello to water as we explore the ins and outs of growing garlic hydroponically. Get ready to discover the joys of cultivating this aromatic and versatile herb right in the comfort of your own home!

What is Hydroponic Garlic Growing?

Hydroponic gardening is a soil-less method of growing plants using nutrient-rich water solutions. With the right setup and care, you can grow a wide variety of crops, including garlic, without ever touching a speck of dirt. Hydroponic garlic growing offers several benefits, including faster growth rates, higher yields, and greater control over environmental conditions.

Getting Started: Setting Up Your Hydroponic Garlic Garden

To start your hydroponic garlic adventure, you'll need a few essential supplies:

  1. Hydroponic System: Choose a hydroponic system that suits your space and needs. Options range from simple water culture setups to more advanced aeroponic systems.

  2. Garlic Bulbs: Select healthy garlic bulbs from a reputable source. Choose varieties suited to your climate and growing conditions.

  3. Nutrient Solution: Invest in a high-quality hydroponic nutrient solution formulated specifically for garlic or allium plants.

  4. Container or Reservoir: Use a clean, food-grade container or reservoir to hold the nutrient solution.

  5. Light Source: Ensure your garlic plants receive adequate light by placing them near a sunny window or using artificial grow lights.

The Growing Process: From Bulb to Bulb

Once you have your supplies ready, it's time to dive into the growing process:

  1. Preparation: Break apart your garlic bulbs into individual cloves, taking care to keep the papery skins intact. Select the largest and healthiest cloves for planting.

  2. Planting: Place the garlic cloves in your hydroponic system, ensuring they are submerged in the nutrient solution. Space the cloves several inches apart to allow room for growth.

  3. Maintenance: Monitor the nutrient solution levels regularly and top up as needed to ensure the garlic cloves remain submerged. Check the pH and nutrient levels of the solution periodically to maintain optimal growing conditions.

  4. Patience: Growing garlic hydroponically requires patience, as it typically takes several weeks for the cloves to develop roots and shoots. Be patient and allow nature to take its course.

  5. Harvesting: Once the garlic plants have matured and produced full-sized bulbs, it's time to harvest your bounty! Gently remove the bulbs from the hydroponic system and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Limitations and Considerations

While hydroponic garlic growing offers many advantages, it's essential to be aware of potential limitations:

  1. Space Requirements: Hydroponic systems can take up space, so be sure to choose a setup that fits your available space and lifestyle.

  2. Nutrient Management: Proper nutrient management is crucial for healthy plant growth. Be diligent about monitoring nutrient levels and pH to prevent deficiencies or imbalances.

  3. Water Changes: Depending on your system setup and plant growth, you may need to change the nutrient solution periodically to maintain water quality and prevent nutrient buildup.

  4. Fertilizer Selection: Choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for hydroponic garlic or allium plants to ensure optimal growth and flavor.

How to Grow Garlic in Water

Growing garlic in water indoors is much easier than planting garlic plants outdoors. You don't have to worry about soil type, weather conditions, mulch, weeds, or pests—all you need is a garlic clove, a glass of water, and some sunlight.

  1. 1. Sprout a garlic clove. Purchase a garlic bulb from your local farmers’ market or grocery store and remove one or more individual cloves (make sure to keep the cloves inside their papery white skin). Sprouting garlic is a simple process: Just wrap your cloves in a damp paper towel and place them in a warm location. After about two days, your cloves should begin to sprout.

  2. 2. Place the sprouted clove in a clear container. You want the pointy sprouted end facing upward. A shot glass is the perfect size for an individual clove. For multiple cloves, a drinking glass or jar works well.

  3. 3. Fill a container with water. The water level should cover a little less than half of the garlic sprout. Room temperature water is ideal.

  4. 4. Place the container on a sunny windowsill. Ensure that the location you choose gets eight to 12 hours of sunlight per day. If the tops of your sprouting garlic cloves start to wilt, they may be receiving too much light, and you should remove your container from the windowsill for one to two days.

  5. 5. Replenish the water periodically. If the water turns a cloudy shade of brown, pour out the dirty water and replenish it with the same amount of clean water.

  6. 6. Harvest garlic greens after a week. Throughout the week you should notice green shoots growing upward and roots growing from the base of the clove. You'll know your garlic greens are ready to harvest once the shoots are between four and seven inches tall. When harvesting garlic greens, snip off the top third of the shoot; garlic greens are more bitter near their base. Make sure to only harvest what you're ready to eat; fresh garlic is more flavorful than garlic greens stored in the refrigerator.

Conclusion: The Joy of Hydroponic Garlic Growing

In conclusion, growing garlic hydroponically is a rewarding and sustainable way to cultivate this beloved herb year-round. With a bit of planning, patience, and care, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of flavorful garlic bulbs right from your own home. So why wait? Dive into the world of hydroponic gardening and let the garlic goodness begin!


C.L. Swett, Plant Pathology, UC Davis

B.J. Aegerter, UC Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County

T.A. Turini, UC Cooperative Extension Fresno County

A.I. Putman, Plant Pathology, UC Riverside

Acknowledgement for Contributions to Diseases

R.M. Davis (emeritus), Plant Pathology, UC Davis

A. Ferry-Abee, UC Cooperative Extension Tulare and Kings counties

F.F. Laemmlen (emeritus), UC Cooperative Extension Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties

R.E. Voss (emeritus), Plant Sciences, UC Davis

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