How long does garlic take to grow?

Garlic is a hardy plant and is easy to grow in most parts of Australia. Still, you want to plant and harvest it at the correct time for the best results.

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This is one of the most common questions from people interested in growing their own garlic.

Anyone that has grown garlic will tell you it’s a long term commitment and this is definitely true. Be ready to hand over part of your garden for almost a year.

However, arming yourself with the right information gives your crop the best chance of success.

How long does garlic take to grow?

Garlic takes about 7-9 months to grow from planting to harvest. This will vary depending on the variety you plant and local conditions.

In Australia, garlic is planted in Autumn and harvested in Spring or Summer.

Early, mid, and late-season varieties each have different days to harvest and are best suited for planting at slightly different times of the year.

Early season garlic

Eary season garlic is planted slightly earlier and has a shorter time to harvest (around 5 and a half to 7 months).

In Australia, early season garlic includes:

Turban

This group of garlic includes most of the hard neck varieties such as Monaro Purple and Italian Purple.

Turban garlic can be grown in most parts of the country from southern Queensland to Tasmania.

Turbans are a “weakly bolting” garlic, which means they produce a scape in colder climates but not in warmer ones.

Subtropical

Garlic growers in warmer areas such as Queensland will usually stick with varieties from this group, which include Glenlarge and Italian Pink.

Depending on the conditions, Subtropical garlic can be ready to harvest in 6 months.

Mid season garlic

These varieties grow best in more temperate climates, with lower humidity.

Creole

Creole is a group of Hardneck weakly bolting garlic varieties that includes Dynamite Purple and Spanish Roja. This is considered a mid to late season type of garlic.

Rocambole

Popular for its complex flavour profile, Rocambole grows best in cooler regions.

Late season garlic

Late season garlic is less common but includes varieties like Italian Late, California Late, and Cristo.

Often, garlic growers like to plant a range of early, mid, and late season varieties to stagger the harvesting times.

Garlic varieties

While not definitive, the below table lists a range of garlic varieties grown in Australia:

Source: Department of Trade and Investment

What is the best month to plant garlic?

The ideal time to plant garlic, which you can grow in a container or in the ground, is when the soil temperature gets down to 10°C.

Depending on where in the country you are, this could be anywhere from March to July.

March to April is the most common time to plant garlic in most temperate climates, including Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, and most of NSW and WA.

How late is too late to plant garlic?

Garlic can be planted as late as June in many parts of Australia.

However, planting in winter reduces the vegetative period the plant needs over the cooler months. You, therefore, run the risk of your garlic not growing properly.

When should you harvest garlic?

Garlic should be harvested when the bulb is fully formed but before it starts to break apart.

The time of year will depend on:

  • When you planted it
  • What variety you planted
  • Your local climate

In warmer parts of the country, like Queensland, garlic is often harvested in September before the days get too warm.

However, in more temperate climates like those found in most of Australia, it is generally pulled from the ground from November to January.

The best approach for harvesting garlic is to examine your plants and decide whether they look fully mature.

Signs that they are ready include:

  • Lower leaves starting to turn yellow or brown
  • Flower stems starting to soften (hardneck garlic only)
  • Softneck garlic starting to lean over

The most reliable way to know if your garlic is ready is togently dig away some of the soil around a couple of bulbs and check their size.

If they’re still on the small side, give them another week or two. If they look fully mature, then you can pull up the rest of your crop.

Photo of author

Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY, and is always up for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking delicious meals from fresh produce picked from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.