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Posted by Organic Heirloom Gardens on Feb 12th 2019

Elephant garlic, also known as Giant Garlic, Great-headed Garlic, French Garlic, and Oriental Garlic is actually not garlic at all. It is more closely related to a leek. Elephant garlic as the name would suggest is much larger than its softneck and hardneck garlic cousins. Bulbs usually weight about ½ pound each. There is usually 3-4 cloves per bulb. One clove is the size of a normal garlic bulb. You will find the flavor is more mild producing a taste between an onion and regular garlic. Elephant garlic is a culinary delight and used by chefs around the world. It can be prepared roasted, grilled with herbs, and many other ways. It is used in a multitude of recipes and can substitute onionsshallots, or garlic in a recipe depending on your taste.

  • Common Name: Elephant Garlic
  • Botanical Name: Allium ampeloprasum var. Ampeloprasum
  • Hardiness Zones: 2-10 (3-9 Most Ideal)
  • Seed Spacing: 8-12 Inches
  • Seed Depth: 4-6 Inches
  • Row Spacing: 30-36 Inches
  • Soil: Well Drained, Fertile (Amend with compost as needed)
  • When To Plant: Fall or Early Spring (Fall is best for cold climates, 4-6 weeks before ground freezes)
  • Days To Maturity: 90-100 (Spring Planted), 220-240 (Fall Planted)


  1. Elephant garlic likes loose soil, till soil 8-12 inches deep.
  2. Amend soil with a rich compost, spread it throughout planting area. Till compost to mix with soil.
  3. Add a thin extra layer of compost before planting, about 1 inch deep.
  4. Spread and level out the planting area.
  5. Plant cloves 4-6 inches deep, 8-12 inches apart, and rows 30-36 inches apart.
  6. After planting, cover cloves with dirt.
  7. Add an additional inch of compost over the rows, spread evenly.


  • Mulch with additional compost in early spring.
  • Fertilize throughout spring to get big bulbs.
  • Water regularly, but do not waterlog. Garlic will need less watering if mulch is used.
  • Make sure soil is well-drained. Mulch will help retain moisture and prevent weeds.
  • All weeds must be pulled. Garlic does NOT compete well with weeds. This is especially true in the early spring.
  • When garlic plant develops a flower stalk or scape, remove it. This will allow the plant to concentrate on bulbing.


  • Elephant garlic is ready to harvest when the leaves turn yellow and brown. Stop watering when this happens.
  • When harvesting use fork to loosen soil. Pull up by stalk.
  • Once harvested let bulbs dry in cool dark spot for a few days, then get as much dirt off as possible without washing.
  • Always handle garlic bulbs very carefully, bruising will encourage rot.
  • Allow garlic to cure for 3-8 weeks before being stored. Spread the bulbs out on an open screen off the ground. Dry in a cool, dark place. During this curing process there also needs to be plenty of air movement, use a fan is necessary.
  • Store at 40 to 55 degrees F. No more than 50% humidity to prevent mold. Mature, dry-skinned bulbs like it cool and dry.
  • Elephant garlic can be stored for about 12 months. As the garlic ages the flavor becomes richer than it is when picked.