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Garlic cultivation is a very good agribusiness if done well. Growing garlic can be very profitable as garlic is one of the most profitable crop to grow. Garlic farming is a viable business in many ways. Discover how to grow garlic in India.s

Like Ginger and Turmeric, garlic has been a popular ingredient both as a spice and medicine since ancient times. Whether it is Asia, Europe or Australia, people eat garlic throughout the world for various reasons ranging from food to medical benefits. It contains different nutrients and nutritional matter that function as antibiotics in the body. In other words, it helps boost immunity.

Information on Garlic

Indian Garlic

Indian garlic

Garlic is a bulbous plant belonging to Amaryllidaceae family. Shallots, onion, leek etc. belong to this family. Scientific name of garlic is Allium sativum. Garlic plant grows to a height of 4 ft. and produces flowers.

It can be propagated both sexually as well as vegetatively. For cultivation purposes, garlic is propagated asexually by sowing the cloves. There are different varieties of garlic for different use.

Ideal Conditions for Garlic Cultivation

Garlic is cultivated in India in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. The ideal conditions for growing garlic are as below:

Climate for Garlic Farming

Garlic cultivation needs a combination of different types of climate. It needs a cool and moist climate for bulb development and vegetative growth while for maturity the climate must be warm and dry. However, it cannot tolerate extreme cold or hot conditions. Exposing the young plants to temperatures lower than 20⁰C for 1 or 2 months would hasten the bulb formation. Prolonged exposure to lower temperature would however reduce the yield of the bulbs. Bulbs maybe produced at the axil of the leaves. A cooler growing period gives higher yield than warmer growth conditions. The optimal day length requirement for bulb formation is 13-14 hours for long day garlic and 10-12 hours for short day garlic.

Season of Garlic Cultivation

Growing Garlic

Growing garlic

In India, garlic is planted as both Kharif (June-July) and rabi (October-November) crop- it depends on the regions. It is planted as a rabi crop in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Bengal and hilly regions. It is both Kharif and rabi crop in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Soil for Growing Garlic

Although garlic can grow in different types of soil, loamy soil with natural drainage is optimum for this crop. It grows at an altitude of 1200 to 2000 m above sea level. It is sensitive to acidic and alkaline soils, hence, a pH of 6-8 is suitable for optimal growth of garlic. A clayey, water-logging type soil is also not suitable for garlic growing. Soils with rich organic content, good moisture, high amount of nutrients aid in proper bulb formation. A heavy soil with less moisture and more water logging would result in deformed bulbs. Soils with poor drainage capacity causes discolored bulbs.


Garlic is a bulb crop producing shallow roots. It therefore, requires a good amount of moisture- more than water. Perhaps the biggest challenge in garlic cultivation is being able to ‘moisture it right’. In other words, there should be enough water to maintain a good level of moisture in soil. However, too much water would result in water stress and thus splitting of the bulbs. Too little water or moisture level again means under-developed bulbs. The best way is to irrigate the crop frequently. It must be irrigated:

  1. Immediately after planting

  2. At an interval of one week to 10 days depending on the moisture content in soil.

Alternating the irrigation period with a dry spell causes the outer scales of garlic to split. Waterlogging results in development of diseases like purple blotch and basal rot. A continuous irrigation until maturity causes secondary roots to develop. Such crops produce new sprouts and growth. Bulbs from these crops cannot be stored for a long period of time.

The best way to irrigate garlic is by use of modern day techniques like sprinkler and drip irrigation. It helps in improving the yield considerably. In case of drip irrigation, the discharge flow rate of the emitters must be 4liters per hour. It helps improve the yield by 15-25% better than flood irrigation system. The discharge rate in sprinklers must be 135 liter per hour.

Fertigation in Garlic Cultivation

Fertigation is an efficient method of using drip irrigation to apply fertilizers. The drip emitters are used as carriers of both water and crop nutrients. At the time of planting a basal dose of 30 Kg nitrogen per acre is applied. Applying nitrogenous fertilizers through drip irrigation is more efficient because the nutrients are directly applied to the root zone. Loss of nitrogen through ground water leaching is reduced.

Crop Rotation

Garlic is a shallow-rooted crop. Therefore, it would not utilize all the nutrients supplied. These fertilizers and nutrients leach down with water and settle in the sub-soil. It can be used by deep-rooted leguminous crops. Research has shown that alternating garlic with leguminous crops not only improve the boosts the yield of garlic but also improves the soil fertility. Alternating crops like groundnut with garlic can ensure better profit for the farmers as well.

Planting Material

Garlic is grown from cloves of well-developed, mature garlic bulbs. The cloves are separated from the basal plate which is where the roots grow from. The process of separating the cloves from bulbs is called ‘cracking’. The cloves must break away from the bulb clean simply leaving behind the basal plate. It is advisable to crack the bulb as nearer to planting time as possible. The cloves must be planted within 24 hours of cracking so that the root nodules do not dry away.

Different varieties of garlic that are high yielding and disease resistant have been developed by various research institutes. It is advisable to plant these varieties meant for commercial garlic cultivation so as to save crop losses. VarietyCentreCharacteristicsRegion of CultivationAverage Yield (Tonnes per Hectare)Bhima OmkarICAR-DOGRProduces medium-sized bulbsMatures in 120-135 daysDelhi Gujarat Haryana Rajasthan8-14Bhima PurpleICAR-DOGRProduces purple-skinned bulbsMature in 120-135 daysAndhra Pradesh Bihar Delhi Haryana Uttar Pradesh Karnataka Punjab Maharashtra6-7Agrifound White (G-41)NHRDFProduces white bulbsMatures in 130-135 daysMaharashtra Madhya Pradesh12-14Yamuna Safed (G-1)NHRDFProduces white bulbsMatures in 120-130 daysAll over India15-17Yamuna Safed-2 (G-50)NHRDFProduces white bulbsMatures in 120-130 daysNorthern India15-20Yamuna Safed-3 (G-282)NHRDFCreamy white bulbsProduce bigger bulbsMatures in 120-130 daysChhattisgarh Gujarat Haryana Madhya Pradesh Maharashtra Punjab Rajasthan Uttar Pradesh17-20Yamuna Safed-5 (G-189)NHRDFProduces white bulbsMatures in 150-160 daysAndaman and Nicobar Islands Arunachal Pradesh Bihar Delhi Gujarat Haryana Jharkhand Manipur Meghalaya Mizoram Nagaland Punjab Rajasthan Sikkim Tarai region of Uttar Pradesh Tripura Uttarakhand17-18GodavariMPKVProduces purple bulbsMatures in 140-145 daysMaharashtra10-11ShwetaMPKVProduces white bulbsMatures in 130-135 daysMaharashtra10-11Phule BaswantMPKVProduces white bulbsMature in 135-140 daysMadhya Pradesh Maharashtra10-11GG-4JAUProduces white bulbsMatures in 130-140 daysGujarat Maharashtra8-10Ooty 1TNAUBulbs produced are dull white in colorMatures in 120-130 daysTamil Nadu15-17VL Garlic 1ICAR-VPKASProduces white colored bulbsMatures in 180-190 daysBihar Himachal Pradesh Jammu & Kashmir Punjab Uttarakhand Uttar PradeshHills:14-15 Plains: 9-10VL Lahsun 2ICAR-VPKASProduces white bulbsTakes 190-200 days to matureHimachal Pradesh Jammu & Kashmir UttarakhandMid hills:14-16 Above mid hills: 24-26Agrifound ParvatiNHRDFProduces purple bulbsBulbs are bigger in sizeMatures in 165-175 daysHills of Himachal Pradesh Uttarakhand Jammu & Kashmir High altitudes of North eastern states17-18Agrifound Parvati 2 (G408)NHRDFProduces white bulbsMatures in 165-175 daysHills of Himachal Pradesh Uttarakhand Jammu & Kashmir High altitudes of North eastern states17-22

Since Yamuna Safed-3 and Agrifound Parvati have bigger cloves, they are used for export.

Land Preparation

Loose and well-drained soil is a must in garlic cultivation since moisture is one of the pre-requisites of garlic plant. Therefore, the land to be used for plantation must be well-ploughed, free of clods and other debris. It is advisable to use a moldboard plough since it enhances the drainage property of the soil and also pushes the crop residue deeper down the earth to enhance better decomposition. In order to get rid of the soil clod, the land is tilled 3-4 times with organic manure being incorporated at the last time. For rabi crops, flat beds of 4-6 m length and 1.5-2 m width are formed. However, flat beds are avoided during the kharif or rainy seasons so as to prevent water logging. In case of kharif crops, broad bed furrows (BBF) with a height of 15 cm are made. The top width is about 120 cm and each furrow is 45 cm deep. Broad Bed Furrows are suitable for drip and sprinkler irrigation. The rows must be made at a distance of 15 cm from each other.

How to Plant Garlic

As mentioned before, individual cloves used for planting garlic must be separated. However, the basal plate of the clove must be undamaged as that is the place from where roots develop. Typically, bigger cloves are used for garlic planting while smaller cloves are rejected. Some people use the smaller, rejected cloves for pickling. Cloves to be used for planting must be dipped in 0.1% carbendazim solution just before sowing. This reduces the incidence of fungal diseases. They are then planted perpendicular to the ground. The distance between two garlic plants must be at least 10 cm.

Diseases and Plant Protection

Looking after a crop and protecting it from diseases is the biggest task in a farmer’s life. Disease and pest management is vital for obtaining good quality yield of bulbs. There are different types of diseases in garlic caused by viruses, fungi, nematodes and insects.

Viral Diseases Name of DiseaseCausative AgentSymptoms and Nature of DamageSpread ByControlOnion Yellow Dwarf diseaseOnion Yellow Dwarf VirusLeaves develop yellow streaks at the base of true leaves and subsequent leavesThey crinkle and fall off.Bulbs are under-sizedAphids, infected cloves and seed bulbs can transmit the disease.Using healthy seed material Foliage spraying of carbosulfan (0.2%) or fipronil (0.1%) to control aphids is one of the measures.Leek Yellow StripeLeek Yellow Stripe VirusYellow stripes on the distal part of the leavesProduces malformed bulbsAphidsUsing healthy seed materialFoliar spraying of carbosulfan (0.2%) or fipronil (0.1%) to control aphids is one of the measures.Irish Yellow SpotIrish Yellow Spot VirusSpindle-shaped, straw-colored spots on the leavesPoorly defined edges of the leavesSpots coalesce becoming biggerOnion thrips and transplantation of infected plantAvoid crop stressControl thripsUse healthy planting material

Fungal Diseases DiseaseCausative AgentSymptom and Nature of DamageTransmissionControlPurple BlotchAlternaria porriElliptical, small lesions on leavesLesions turn purplish-brown and are surrounded by a chlorotic marginLesions start at the tip of older leavesThey girdle the leaves and hence leaves fall offIt is chiefly soil-borne disease also spread by infected bulbs, plant debris, etc.Spraying 0.25% mancozeb, 0.1% propiconazole or 0.1% hexaconazole every 15 days after 30 days of planting or immediately when symptoms appear would help control the disease.Stemphylium blightStemphylium vesicariumYellow to orange colored streaks develop on the leafThe streaks develop into elongated or spindle-shaped spots characterized by pink-colored margins.Spots coalesce from tip to base of the leavesPlant debris and soil are the major transmitting agentsSpraying 0.25% mancozeb, 0.1% propiconazole or 0.1% hexaconazole every 15 days after 30 days of planting or immediately when symptoms appear would help control the disease.White rotSclerotium cepivorumYellowing and dying of leaf tipsSclerotia on the surface of the leaves or within the tissuesSoil, garlic debris and diseased garlic setsHigh temperature soil solarizationDestroying the infected cropCrop rotation0.1% carbendazim should be used

Insect Pests Name of PestIdentificationSymptomControlThrips tabaciBody color varies from yellow to dark brown4 wings with long hairsLeaves twist and curl in the initial stagesSilvery to white patches on leavesPlants seem blemished and turn white in extreme casesPlanting one or two outer rows of maize or wheat can act as a good barrier for thrips. This is typically done 30 days before planting garlic.Spraying carbosulfan (0.2%), fipronil (0.1%)or profenofos (0.1%) when thrips population cross 30 thrips per plant is advisable.Eriophyid mite (Aceria tulipae)Identification with naked is difficult as they are microscopic, banana-shaped organisms.Leaves do not open fullyPlant shows curling, twisting and stuntingMottling along the edges of leavesSpraying Sulphur powder as soon as the symptoms appear and every fortnight thereafter would help check the progress of the disease.

Harvesting Garlic

Harvesting from garlic cultivation

Harvesting from garlic cultivation

Garlic is ready to harvest within 120-150 days of sowing depending on the variety. They are ready when the leaves start yellowing and become dry. The bulbs are then pulled out, sheath cut near the bulb and roots are trimmed. They are then sun-dried for a week. This process is important for the hardening of the bulbs. Before storing they are graded according to the size and weight.

Garlic Seed Storage

Storing Garlic

Storing garlic

Garlic can be stored at room temperature of up to 8 months. Before storing it must be sun dried thoroughly so that no fungus develops on it during the storage period.


On an average under normal conditions, garlic yields 20-40 quintals per acre. Like onion, garlic cultivation can be a money making business.

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