Hydroponic garlic is easy to grow, has a plethora of health benefits, and ushers in large yields. Each clove of hydroponic garlic can produce up to ten additional cloves! Hydroponic gardening is more energy and water efficient than a soil-based garden, saving both you and the earth time and resources.

Read on to learn how to grow your very own hydroponic garlic!

Advantages of Growing Hydroponic Garlic

One of the main advantages of growing hydroponic garlic is that it’s much more efficient. It makes use of area, fertilizers, and water more effectively than traditionally grown garlic. 

You also don’t have to worry about soil drainage, salinity, diseases, or pests.

You will have full control over the root system and even be able to see the roots with many hydroponic gardens.

You can automate your hydroponic garden to automatically water your plants so you don’t have to stress about under-watering or over-watering once you have it dialed in.

You don’t have to worry about growing zones because you can grow hydroponic garlic anywhere, anytime.

You don’t have to do any weeding or use harmful pesticides to keep away natural pests.

One of the most major benefits is that you can use up to 99% less water with hydroponic gardening compared to soil gardening!

You can also set up timer systems that will automatically fertilize your plants, turn the lights on and off, and more. This is often personal preference, but most people like their systems to be automated.

What do you need to grow hydroponic garlic?

There are many requirements to grow hydroponic garlic. Let’s discuss what these requirements are so you can grow bountiful amounts of flourishing garlic!

Nutrients requirements for growing Garlic plants hydroponically

Nutrients are vital for hydroponic plants and can lead to either the failure or success of a whole crop. Unfortunately, the majority of hydroponic fertilizers that you find in garden centers don’t contain all of the necessary elements needed for plant growth because soil usually provides some of them.

Due to this, you have to use fertilizers that are specific to hydroponic growing. You can find these online or at a select few garden centers. 

You need to follow the dilution rate suggested on your fertilizer’s label. In addition, be sure to test your solution to ensure that the pH level falls between 6 and 6.5 (the ideal pH for garlic). You can get pH level tests at your local pet shop in the fish section.

You’ll need to adjust your fertilizer as your hydroponic garlic goes through different growth stages. In addition to changing nutrient needs, you also need to be sure that there’s enough fertilizer in your water reservoir as your garlic sucks it up!

You can use the old reservoir water to water household or outdoor plants. 

Conditions for growing Garlic hydroponically

One of the most important parts of growing garlic hydroponically is selecting high-quality garlic cloves. You can buy these from your favorite farmers market, nursery, or specialty garden centers. 

Plant the largest garlic cloves without peeling them. Keep the tip facing upwards. The plant roots will germinate out of the bottom end.

It’s best to use either coco coir or a perlite vermiculite mix as your hydroponic medium.

Plant just barely beneath the top of your organic mediums so the tip is no longer exposed. Gently water.

Process of growing Garlic hydroponically

Garlic is surprisingly tall. It’s important to have grow lights that can move up and down depending on the stage of growth. You’ll also want to use a reflective material such as aluminum to help with propagation.

You can start garlic from seed technically, but it’s always better to start with garlic cloves instead. Cloves are segments of a full bulb and they’ll produce another bulb.

If you have an indoor setup, Soft Neck Garlic is your best bet because it doesn’t need a cold winter in order to bloom.

Hydroponic Garlic and Temperature

One of the best things about garlic, whether growing indoors or outdoors, is that it does great in cooler temperatures and can withstand temperature fluctuations. 

In fact, the ideal temperature range to grow garlic is from 32 to 50 degrees F. When you have an indoor garden, it may be a challenge to keep your temperatures for garlic low enough! Hardneck varieties need cooler temperatures, so it’s best to avoid them when growing indoors.

Hydroponic Garlic and Lighting

It’s important to have artificial lighting for hydroponic garlic because the light signals to the clove that it’s time to grow into a bulb. The clove won’t grow bigger or develop a bulb without adequate artificial light.

In ideal conditions, hydroponic garlic should have anywhere from 14 to 16 hours of strong LED lighting or fluorescent lighting each day. Otherwise you risk your bulb going dormant. Artificial lighting is crucial because of how much light garlic needs.

Just don’t provide excess lighting- the bulb does a lot of work in the dark!

Hydroponic Garlic and Substrates and Medium

Just like hydroponic garlic needs a nutrient solution, it also needs a substrate. Garlic bulbs need a material to hold them up. Substrates also maintain moisture in the root system but provide enough aeration to avoid root rot.

There are lots of different mediums that can be used to grow hydroponic garlic. Here are some good choices:

Coconut fiber. Coco coir is a great substrate for water retention and works best when also used with an aerier substrate such as perlite. Coconut fiber is unique because it actually contains a lot of nutrients, while other substrates are nutrient-neutral. This provides plenty of access to nutrients. Either way, you will still likely need additional nutrients.

Rockwool. Rockwool is created by heating up chalk and rocks together, and then turning them into fibers to create a lightweight, porous material. Although rockwool has been incredibly popular for many years, it’s not the most environmentally friendly and can irritate your respiratory system, eyes, and skin if not handled properly.

Perlite. Perlite is formed from a volcanic material that gets heated up until it expands greatly to form an incredibly lightweight material. Perlite aerates heavier substrates. It can also be used on its own, except in aquaponics.

Systems to Grow hydroponic garlic

The main systems to grow hydroponic garlic are drip hydroponics, DWC (deep water culture) hydroponics, and ebb and flow (flood & drain) hydroponics.

Drip Hydroponics

Drip systems don’t rely on a constant cycle of flooding and draining as the plants’ source of nutrients. Instead, the nutrient delivery goes straight to the garlic root zones by drippers.

Drip hydroponics is water and energy efficient, and avoids oversaturing your garlic with too much water or too high of a supply of nutrients. 

Drip hydroponics is great for garlic because it makes it easy to keep the roots moist and the bulbs dry simultaneously due to its balance between water retention and aeration. This avoids making your garlic soggy.

DWC (Deep Water Culture)

DWC hydroponics involves suspending garlic roots directly in your nutrient solution.

The nutrient mixture is held in a water reservoir. You need an airstone and air pump to oxygenate the garlics’ root zones.

One of the best things about DWC is that there’s little to maintain because of how few working parts there are.

But a downside is that it’s easy to under- or over- feed your plants in DWC.

Ebb and Flow (Flood & Drain)

Ebb and flow systems are simple. A water pump transports nutrients into a flood table, which will be flooded about five times a day.

Hydroponic Elephant Garlic

Elephant garlic is a relatively new crop when it comes to hydroponics. It’s not actually true garlic- rather, it’s a variety of leeks. It’s not as strong as garlic and can even be used raw. The bulbs can grow to be a pound heavy!

First, separate individual cloves and sprout them in water until green shoots appear. This should take one or two days. Then put them in your substrate of choice.

The growing medium for elephant garlic can be inoculated before the cloves are planted with things such as beneficial bacteria, mycchorizae, and Thichoderma. Be sure to saturate the substrate with water and put it in a warm place so it can inoculate and colonize.

Once you plant your cloves, the microbes will be able to suppress pathogens. If fungus gnats become an issue, you can cover your medium with things such as recycled glass, chunky perlite, or a back plastic film.

Harvesting of hydroponic Garlic

Garlic grows pretty slowly, so it needs at least three months until it’s harvest time. But once it’s ready, it’s very easy to harvest. You know you’re getting ready for a harvest of garlic when green scapes start to show on the garlic tops.

After about another week, your hydroponic garlic is ready to be harvested. It’s fully ready when the scapes wither and turn brown.

Unlike soil growing, all you have to do is pull up the garlic without any digging or getting dirty!

Preserving Hydroponic Garlic After Harvest

Leave both the roots and scapes on your bulbs of garlic while they’re curing. After your garlic harvest, you can bundle a bunch of garlic plants- up to 10 garlic stems- with twine and hang them with the bulbs down.

Store your garlic in a cool, dark place like a basement.

You can also lay the garlic in a single layer on a raised screen.

Let your garlic rest as your bulbs cure for about a month.


Can garlic be grown hydroponically?

Yes, garlic can be grown hydroponically. Hydroponic garlic is a unique crop that many people don’t think to grow in this fashion. However, fresh garlic is much more potent than when you buy it in the store and it’s definitely worth growing!

Can garlic grow in water only?

Garlic cannot grow in water only. It needs a substrate to keep it in place. That being said, hydroponics is a method of growing plants in water rather than soil. 

Can you grow garlic in aquaponics?

You can grow garlic in aquaponics. It’s a great crop to grow because its uses are so versatile and it suits aquaponic and most soil-less systems well.

Can you grow garlic in a water bottle?

You can’t grow garlic in a water bottle, but you can get the roots started. Here are the steps:

1. Acquire a 2 liter bottle and cut off the top.

2. Fill the bottle up with water.

3. Place a single clove of garlic on the top of the bottle. Keep it in place with toothpicks at first.

3. Once roots sprout, transfer your garlic to a hydroponic or conventional garden.

What is a hydroponic garlic machine

Hydroponic garlic machines are just hydroponic systems that grow garlic.

hydroponic garlic yield

A well-grown hydroponic garlic yield can form a bulb consisting of up to 10 cloves! Multiply that by the amount of garlic plants you’re growing, and you certainly have enough for a LOT of pesto!

How long does it take to grow hydroponic garlic?

It takes about 90 days to grow hydroponic garlic.

Commercial vs hydroponic garlic

Hydroponic garlic is much better than commercial garlic. Hydroponic garlic doesn’t sit in a warehouse for months in storage or have to be transported hundreds of miles. It’s fresher and more nutritious. There’s also something incredibly satisfying about growing your own crops!

Aeroponic vs kratky garlic

Kratky garlic consumes less water than aeroponic garlic.


Hydroponic garlic is an underappreciated crop that deserves more love. Considering how often we use garlic in our cooking, it makes a whole lot of sense to grow it! Hydroponic gardening is more efficient than traditional gardening while also creating greater yields. If you want some fresh garlic, consider the methods discussed above!

Check out the rest of our blog to see what else you can grow hydroponically. You’ll be surprised by what you find!