How to Grow Garlic in Florida

Laura has the hookup on how to grow garlic in Florida:


“I grow garlic successfully in the Florida Panhandle (zone 9a), and have heard of others growing it with good results in Central and even South Florida. Two major things to bear in mind for Florida garlic growing:

1. Variety selection is important. Creoles, softnecks, artichokes, and Turbans are more tolerant of our warm winters than most hardnecks or rocamboles. I usually grow Turbans (Shilla this year) in part because they harvest the earliest. I can have them fully cured before the humid, rainy summer weather starts.

2. Even with the right garlic variety, it helps tremendously to vernalize seed garlic for several weeks immediately before planting. I can get away with 6-8 weeks of vernalizing in colder years, but 10-12 weeks of vernalizing works even in warm years. For zone 9b, I would definitely try to vernalize for 10-12 weeks.

Vernalizing “tricks” the garlic into thinking that it has been through winter already. Then when the garlic is planted, ideally in October or November, it “thinks” that the mild Florida winter is a nice long spring and grows happily all winter long.

Vernalizing is easy: put your intact heads of seed garlic in a paper bag in your refrigerator. You want to keep the bag away from fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas, so don’t put the garlic in the crisper or produce bin. DON’T put the garlic in the freezer! After vernalizing, wait to take the garlic out of the fridge until you are ready to plant it, because it will sprout immediately.

You might need to shop around to find a vendor who will ship your seed garlic as early as possible, since most won’t ship until September. That’s too late for the full vernalization period.

One last tip: mulch your garlic deeply. In warm Florida winter/spring weather the soil can get warm too early in the year. High soil temperatures can cause early bulbing, leading to undersized heads. A nice thick layer of organic mulch keeps soil cooler.

For more reading: and are great resources.

(Note: I am not affiliated with either website, but their advice has helped me a lot.)”


She proves yet again that just because I haven’t figured something out it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. If anyone else has had success, please chime in. When I grew it with limited success, I just planted cloves from the supermarket. I know, that was not very scientific of me. Truth be told, I never gave much time to garlic as I was focused more on yams, corn and pumpkins, along with testing perennial vegetables. It’s a very important herb with great healing qualities (Marjory has a free report on the power of garlic which I keep meaning to read) so I should have done better with my homework. Thank you, Laura.

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