Growing Bulbils in Alberta

What are Bulbils?

Bulbills are often overlooked as garlic seed, however they may hold many opportunities for new garlic growers. Bulbils are small, bulb-like structures that form atop the garlic scape, which is a curly stem that emerges at the top of the garlic plant. Each bulbil is essentially a garlic clone, holding all of the genetic information required to grow into a full garlic plant.

Bulbil Heads

Benefits of Growing Bulbils

One of the most exciting aspects of bulbils is their potential for propagation. Instead of planting cloves, as is traditional, bulbils may be planted to grow into new garlic plants. While bulbils may take a bit longer compared to growing from cloves, the satisfaction of nurturing garlic from its tiniest form is truly rewarding. Growing bulbils may also provide a more budget friendly option for new garlic growers.

How to Grow Bulbils

Growing garlic from bulbils is relatively straightforward. They may be planted at a similar distance as garlic cloves, roughly 4-5 inches apart. However unlike garlic cloves they may be planted either in the fall or in between April and June. They should be cared for very similarly to garlic cloves throughout the year and in the fall the farmer is faced with two options. He may harvest the bulbils as rounds (bulbs with no cloves), and plant them again the next spring, where they will split and grow into full sized garlic. Some garlic farmers will lengthen this process to three years, growing an even larger garlic bulb. He could also leave the bulbils in the ground throughout the winter where they stay until they resprout the next spring, growing into a full sized garlic bulb. And so although bulbils are a more long term investment compared to garlic cloves, they may present a unique opportunity to some farmers.

Purchase Bulbils

If you are interested in Russian Red bulbills, visit our shop today. For larger purchases or possible discounts feel free to contact us! 

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