Maven Gardening

Hydroponic Garlic 101: Grow It Easily!

Hydroponic garlic is an excellent way to enjoy fresh, flavorful, and healthy garlic year-round. Hydroponics is a novel method of soilless farming where plants are grown using water and nutrients. It allows you to grow in less space, with less water, and with fewer pests and diseases. In this article, you will discover how to grow garlic hydroponically. You’ll learn everything about what system to use and how to feed and care for your garlic plants. You’ll also learn how to harvest and store it.

What is Hydroponic Garlic?

Hydroponic garlic refers to garlic cultivated in a soilless environment using nutrient-rich water. This method significantly deviates from traditional farming, offering an innovative approach to cultivation. Different systems can cultivate water-grown garlic, such as ebb and flow, deep water culture, or the Kratky method. Various media, such as gravel, perlite, or rock wool, can be used to grow. The hydroponic method produces higher yields and more prominent and uniform bulbs than soil-grown garlic.

Why Grow Hydroponic Garlic?

Growing garlic hydroponically has many benefits, including:

Saving space: You can grow more garlic in less area, as you don’t need large plots or soil beds.

Saving water: You can recycle water and nutrients, reducing water consumption and waste.

Saving time: You don’t need to weed, till, or mulch your plants, as no soil is involved.

Avoiding pests and diseases: You can prevent soil-borne pests and diseases from affecting your plants, as well as fungal and bacterial infections.

Enjoy fresh garlic: You can harvest it whenever needed and enjoy its enhanced flavor and aroma.

Hydroponic garlic with roots in a small box
Hydroponic garlic with roots in a small box

Can You Grow Garlic Hydroponically: How?

Growing garlic hydroponically is simple but requires planning and preparation. Here are the steps to follow:

Select a suitable garlic variety.

Hardneck garlic and softneck garlic are the two main garlic varieties. Hardneck garlic produces a flower stalk (a scape) with fewer but larger cloves. Softneck garlic does not create a scape and has more but smaller cloves. Hardneck garlic suits colder climates, while softneck garlic is better suited to warmer temperatures.

Another variety exists, “elephant garlic,” which is not a clone of the others but a close relative. It has a milder taste and is more potent than regular garlic.

You can choose any variety depending on your preference and environment.

Choose the right system for growing garlic hydroponically.

There are different types of systems for hydroponic garlic farming, such as:

Ebb and flow: This system uses a pump to flood the growing tray with nutrient solutions and drain it back to the reservoir.

Deep-water culture: This system uses an air pump to oxygenate the nutrient solution where the plant roots are submerged.

Kratky method: This system does not use pumps or electricity but ensures roots receive water and air to promote healthy respiration and growth.

Each system has pros and cons, so you must consider your budget, space, and maintenance requirements before choosing one.

Prepare garlic cloves for planting.

To grow garlic hydroponically, you must use garlic cloves as seeds. You can buy organic garlic bulbs from a local farmer or a reputable online source. You should avoid supermarket garlic because it may be irradiated or treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting.

Planting garlic cloves requires the following preparation:

  • Break apart the bulbs into individual cloves carefully without damaging the base or the skin.
  • Choose the most prominent and healthiest cloves for planting, and discard any damaged or diseased ones.
  • Soak the cloves in water overnight to hydrate them and activate germination.

Plant garlic cloves in your hydroponic system

Planting garlic cloves in a hydroponic system requires:

  • Fill your growing tray or container with your chosen medium, such as gravel, perlite, or rock wool.
  • Make holes about 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart in the medium.
  • Insert one clove into each hole, with the pointed end up and the base down.
  • Cover the cloves with some medium to expose only their tips.
  • Place your growing tray or container in your hydroponic system and connect it to the reservoir or nutrient solution.
Growing garlic hydroponically in an indoor system
Growing garlic hydroponically in an indoor system

Provide adequate lighting for your hydroponic garlic.

For garlic to grow, it needs at least six hours of sunlight daily. If growing indoors or in a greenhouse, you may need artificial lighting to supplement natural light. You can use fluorescent, LED, or HID lights to give your plants the correct spectrum and intensity. You can also use a timer to control the light cycle and simulate the seasons.

Feed your hydroponic garlic with the proper nutrients.

Garlic needs a balanced and complete nutrient solution to grow well. You can buy ready-made hydroponic nutrients from a reputable source or use fertilizer, salts, and water. You must regularly check your nutrient solution’s pH and EC (electrical conductivity) and adjust them as necessary. Garlic’s pH range is 6.0 to 6.5, and its EC range is 1.2 to 1.6 mS/cm.

Solutions to common hydroponic garlic gardening problems

Hydroponic garlic can be tricky, but you can overcome the challenges. Here are the solutions to the most common problems:

Yellowing Leaves: Your garlic needs more nutrients. Check and adjust the pH level of your nutrient solution. Add more nutrients if needed.

Root Rot: Your garlic is drowning. Ensure your hydroponic system drains well, and don’t overwater your garlic.

Pests: Your garlic is under attack. Use insecticidal soaps or neem oils to get rid of them.

How to Harvest and Store Hydroponic Garlic

Hydroponic garlic matures in four to six months, depending on the variety and other factors. Observing the leaves shows you when the garlic is ready. When the leaves turn yellow and brown, the bulbs are fully formed and ready to be harvested.

To harvest hydroponic garlic, you need:

  • Stop watering or feeding your plants a few days before harvesting to allow the bulbs to dry out slightly.
  • Gently pull out the plants from the medium, being careful not to damage the roots or bulbs.
  • Trim the roots and leaves, leaving approximately one inch of stem connected to the bulb.
  • Rinse any dust or debris from the bulbs and dry them with a paper towel.

Hydroponic garlic needs the following to be stored:

  • Cure the bulbs for 2 to 4 weeks in a well-ventilated, dark place like a garage or closet.
  • Regularly inspect the bulbs for signs of mold or rot, and remove those that show symptoms.
  • Store the cured bulbs in a mesh bag, a paper bag, or a cardboard box in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Garlic has a shelf life of 6 to 12 months when stored, depending on the variety and storage method.
Growing garlic in a hydroponic system
Growing garlic in a hydroponic system

FAQs About Hydroponic Garlic

Here are some common questions and answers about hydroponic garlic:

Can you grow garlic hydroponically from scraps?

You can grow garlic hydroponically from scraps, such as leftover cloves or sprouted bulbs. However, you may not get the finest results, as these scraps may be old, weak, or diseased.

How much water does hydroponic garlic need?

Hydroponic garlic requires enough water to keep the roots moist, but be careful not to let them get soggy. The amount of water depends on the type of system you use, the size of the reservoir, and the evaporation rate.

How much light does hydroponic garlic need?

Hydroponic garlic needs at least 6 hours of sunlight daily to grow well. If growing indoors or in a greenhouse, you may need artificial lighting to supplement natural light. You can use fluorescent, LED, or HID lights to give your plants the correct spectrum and intensity.

How do you know when hydroponic garlic is ready to harvest?

When hydroponic garlic leaves turn yellow and brown, the bulbs are fully formed and ready for harvest. Depending on the variety and growing conditions, this usually takes about 4 to 6 months after planting.

How do you store hydroponic garlic?

To store hydroponic garlic, you need to cure the bulbs for 2 to 4 weeks in a well-ventilated and dark place, then place them in a mesh bag, a paper bag, or a cardboard box in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Depending on the garlic variety and storage method, you can use it for 6 to 12 months.

What nutrients do I need to grow garlic hydroponically?

A balanced nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium nutrient solution is required to grow garlic. Make your own nutrient solution or purchase premade ones.

When should I harvest my garlic?

Harvest your garlic when the leaves turn yellow. It usually occurs 8–10 months after planting.


Growing garlic hydroponically is an excellent way to enjoy its fresh and flavorful taste year-round. In this article, you learned how to set up a hydroponic system. You also learned how to choose a suitable garlic variety, how to plant and maintain it, as well as how to harvest and store it efficiently. 

Hydroponic garlic is not only tasty but also healthy and beneficial. It can help you boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, fight infections, and prevent cancer. 

Don’t wait anymore. Start growing hydroponic garlic today and reap its excellent benefits!