How to Grow Garlic in Alabama

Learn how to grow garlic in Alabama, from planting to harvesting. Discover optimal timing and soil conditions for successful cultivation.


5/28/20243 min read

green plants on body of water
green plants on body of water

Welcome to our guide on growing garlic in Alabama! Whether you're a novice gardener or an experienced green thumb, cultivating garlic in the heart of Alabama's soil can be a rewarding experience. In this article, we'll delve into the specifics of growing garlic in Alabama's unique climate and soil conditions. From selecting the right varieties to planting and harvesting techniques tailored to the state's climate, we've got you covered. So, let's roll up our sleeves and get ready to grow some garlic!

Looking for a quick summary? Here's what you need to know:

  • California softneck garlic is the perfect variety for Alabama,

  • Aim to plant cloves from mid-October to mid-November,

  • Ensure garlic cloves are fully established with roots before the thunderstorm and hurricane season!

  • Harvest Alabama garlic in May or June.

Gardening in Alabama

Alabama falls primarily within USDA Hardiness Zones 7a to 8b, with some areas reaching Zone 9a. This means the state experiences a humid subtropical climate characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters. Average temperatures range from around 30°F (-1°C) in winter to 90°F (32°C) in summer. Weather patterns include occasional thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes, particularly in the spring and summer months. Frost is rare but can occur in northern regions during winter (so that’s not something to worry about when growing garlic). Overall, Alabama's climate provides favorable conditions for growing garlic, with ample sunlight and moderate rainfall throughout the year.

In Alabama, soil conditions can vary widely from one garden to another. While some areas may have sandy soils, others might have more clay-like or loamy soils. Despite the state’s reputation for fertile soil, there is a soil erosion problem, and you shouldn’t just assume that your soil is in good condition. To determine the specific soil characteristics in your garden, we recommend you use an at-home soil testing kit. These kits provide valuable insights into soil pH, nutrient levels, and composition, helping gardeners make informed decisions about soil amendments and plant selection.

When to Plant Garlic in Alabama

As Alabama has mild winters, you aren’t limited to hardneck garlic varieties. Softneck garlic, which is easier to store, will thrive in the warm weather. A California softneck is a reliable choice, but you can also opt for Silverwhite softneck which is great for southern states.

In Alabama, garlic is typically best planted in the fall, around mid-October to mid-November, after the hottest temperatures have passed and before the first frost. This timing allows the cloves to establish roots before winter dormancy, ensuring healthy growth in the spring. Aim to plant garlic about 4-6 weeks before the average date of the first frost, which varies depending on the specific location within the state. By planting before the soil becomes too cold, garlic cloves can develop strong root systems and establish themselves well before winter sets in.

With the spring and summer thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes, getting your garlic established in fall and winter is essential. While you can take a gamble and plant in the spring for a later harvest, we recommend playing it safe with a fall plant date.

When to Harvest Garlic

In Alabama, garlic planted in the fall is usually ready to harvest in late spring or early summer, typically around May to June. As the bulbs mature, the leaves of the garlic plants will begin to turn yellow and dry out from the bottom up. This is a clear indication that the garlic is approaching harvest time. Additionally, you can gently dig up a bulb to check its size and confirm that the cloves have fully formed. Once the majority of the leaves have dried and turned yellow, it's time to harvest the garlic bulbs. Read our guide How to Harvest Garlic to learn more.


When to plant garlic in Alabama?

Garlic is typically planted in Alabama in the fall, around October or November, before the first frost date.

When to harvest garlic in Alabama?

Garlic is usually ready for harvest in Alabama in late spring or early summer, typically around June or July, when the leaves start to turn yellow and dry out.

Is there wild garlic in Alabama?

Yes, wild garlic, also known as wild onion, can be found in Alabama. It's a common sight in fields, meadows, and woodland areas, especially during the spring months.