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single clove garlic

19 years ago

I found some of this in a shop in our local china town. I did a google search to find out more about it, but only found out that it's grown and exported from the Yunnan province. Not very helpful! Are these what I've seen referred to as "garlic onions"?

Has anyone here grown it and can share your experience?

Comments (62)

  • 19 years ago

    I think if the 40/40 rule were true then if one of your garlic's were soild they all should be they all grew under the same conditions. Many times I have seen a beautiful head full of cloves next to a solid -these were grown in the same soil planted at the same time the only difference I could think of is genetics.

  • 19 years ago

    This always throws solid cloves..Multiplys in "Clumps" not individual cloves( segmented or non)..Temp. is not a factor ,as I grew it in Fla. temp range 35-85 and N.C. temp range 20-80.. With more than the required chilling temps.. as we get 60-to70 days below 40 degrees ..I'll keep searching..Best guess yet is it's a variety from Yunnan Province of China..That source requires too large or order and has been cured..Stem and roots removed. I hopeing to find source of Fresh-Green supply..

  • 19 years ago

    Maybe you misunderstood I don't beleive the 40 day has any thing to with making solids. It does sound like the garlic you described may be "kin" to elephant garlic because of the leek like leaves, purple flower and that it likes the south (Lots of Elephant growers in deep south,TX AL, AZ etc). Does the flower stalk curl or grow straight?

  • 19 years ago

    Yes,the stalk does grow straight..Like Elephant Garlic as you stated..I don't know if it's "kin" or not..It may be, The one thing is it's always single clove under all conditions..My reference to 40 days "Chilling" was to a previous statement, not yours.. I see you agree with me..I'm not trying to create controversy over this..I just hope I can find a source to obtain this variety Garlic..
    Thanks to all for their comments and input!!!

  • 19 years ago

    If you find a source let me know. We make a lot of garlic powder. We use unsellable heads of all varieties we grow but love the solids elephant produce because of the ease of peeling , the large size, and the exceptionally fine powder it makes. If we found a garlic that always produced a single clove this would make it easier to make garlic powder. How large do the "singles" get?

  • 19 years ago

    Perhaps you could write the chinese company and ask froa distributor here in the states. I'd like to try this variety!

  • 19 years ago

    The bulb part gets to be 1-2 1/4 inch in diameter..If I can't find source soon; then perhaps I will try writeing the exporter.. As I said earlier their product has been processed..Dried and roots trimmed..It may as been treated with growth inhibitor..This would make propagation more difficult.This is why I hope to find a Fresh- Green source..If I find it.. I'll post results

  • 19 years ago

    I found a source for plantable single clove chinese garlic . It is an asiatic strain. Asiatics grow well in the south and the varieties of asiatics i have planted have wider leaves than most hardnecks. I don't know what color the flower is I always break mine off before they bloom. You don't have to worry about having to buy in bulk there limit is 1/4 lbs
    The Garlic Lady

    Here is a link that might be useful: Filaree Farms

  • 19 years ago

    Thanks Garlic Lady!! I Emailed Filaree Farms and described the strain I'm looking for..I saw they offered two that might be it but the discription was a little vague..I'm waiting for a reply from them..I'll let you know what I find out.

  • 19 years ago

    Found this looking for single clove garlic. Pretty much what I believe.

    Q. What are garlic onions?
    A. When gardeners plant garlic cloves which the following year produce a single-clove plant, the single clove which resembles an onion but tastes like garlic, is often referred to as a garlic onion. This phenomenon results from planting an immature garlic clove. If the garlic onion is planted the following fall, it will produce a normal multi-cloved garlic.

  • 19 years ago

    This could be true...My experience was I recieved the Plants and the bulbs grew in clusters..There was one large bulb/Clove
    the rest formed off it..I would generally harvest the large bulb and plant the rest..They in return would grow large and the cycle would start over..However..they never formed a "Muliti-Cloved Garlic..Always Solid-non-segmented. Mature or not . Thanks

  • 19 years ago

    I was checking this forum to see when to harvest the plant I have growing in my front flowerbed. I'm not sure what I have growing.

    My plant has very long strap-like leaves, it has not bloomed nor does it have a scape as the other garlic has put on. The stalk from the ground up is 2-3 inches in diameter and about 40 inches tall. It now has a small one growing near its base.

    It grew all winter, did not pay any attention to freezes.

    In another post, I was told it sounds like Elephant Garlic. But in the photos of elephant garlic online, do not appear to have nearly as large a stalk as my plant.

    Sure would like to know what it is and if it is edible before we harvest it.

  • 19 years ago

    Do the leaves if pinched smell like garlic??The single clove I'm looking for did...It also made smaller bulbs off parent..If left alone in 1-2years it multiplied into clumps. I then divide to start process over..the larger plants I harvested..Thier bulb would be as large as 2 1/4 inch. The whole plant is edible...

  • 19 years ago

    Yes indeed, Winemaker1942, when I nipped the end off of a leaf, it definitely had a very strong garlic smell.

    When do I harvest it and any suggestions on how to prepare the leak like part? I'm in West Texas in zone 7.

    Thanks for the help!

  • 19 years ago

    West Texas Peg..
    You may have a rare least to most folks..sounds just about like what I've been searching for..What I'm looking for will keep multiplying if left alone.If it's what I'm after I would do just that..Seems no one ones of it and if so is rare...Iknow it's not rare..cause when I got mine it was in eveyones garden it that area..Growing like alliums...
    I don't know the strains name but it's diffently Garlic..solid bulb and multiplys in clumps..If this is what you have...Take time to let it multiply..It will winter over and when you have a sizeable amount....Harvest
    the Parent bulbs..leave smaller ones to grow and multiply..
    If you have excess..I would very much like to arrange to aquire some!!!!

  • 19 years ago

    The hot dry weather has turned some of the leaves yellow on my 'unknown' garlic plant. It is growing right by a red leaf canna, at this point they are about the same size.

    I'm taking the larkspurs out to harvest the seeds so it will be more visible. Larkspurs were so pretty this year, some 5 feet or taller.

    I will leave it and see if it multiplies and I would be happy to share.

  • 19 years ago

    Thanks..I'm sure you are going to get some other request for some.As you can see from above there's a lot of interest about it..Things here in the Mountains of NC are just starting to strains of Garlic(none of your kind) are about 6inches high...Walla walla and Russian Red..If you'd like some we can trade..

  • 16 years ago

    Winemaker, did you ever find the one you were looking for?

    Peg, what became of your plant? Did it multiply? was it the one discussed here?


  • 16 years ago

    Korney19, I did find a single clove garlic was the same one julie 321 had..I found it at a local super market but when I planted it, it all rotted.. I'll try again next time I see it..It's only available in the late fall.

  • 16 years ago

    It was Elephant garlic. There were cloves and I planted them and have many more garlic plants around my fruit trees and rose bushes and we have been eating it.

    I want to try other garlic, just have gotten around to it. Been busy covering up lawn with lasagna beds and growing tomatoes this year for the first time...lots of tomato plants and many tomatoes to share with the neighbors. Been making spaghetti sauce with our home grown tomatoes, home grown basil and home grown garlic. Next year I hope to add home grown onions to that list.


  • 16 years ago

    I wandered into your site looking for some backup and info re the single clove garlic that I regularly bring back with me from my home visits to Burma. Having read the trail, I'd like to put you right. The single clove garlic is a definite variety and it IS garlic, not leeks or anything else. I've grown them here in England over and over again. each clove I put in the ground yields just one clove, however long they stay in the ground. I guess they only multiply and "make profit" if you plant seeds from a single plant. I've never bothered with trying to harvest seeds but maybe I will this year, to put paid to the question of whether it is immaturity or species that causes the single clove to develop. The acid test is whether the single clove exists in its own outer skin even if it is paired up with another clove, or shares a common outer skin with other cloves like conventional garlic. My Burmese variety (which I suspect came from China in the first place) definitely has its own skin.

    By the way, why does the west revere largeness of garlic cloves? They are so spongy and so much less tasty than our asian varieties which might be tiny and a nuisance to peel - but boy, the impact o the flavour is like nothing you will ever find in the UK supermarkets. My annual supply from Burma stay tasty all year even if they are a bit less juicy after 12 months in my cupboard.

  • 16 years ago

    My mom just brought me a bag of this single clove garlic back with her from Europe, and the bag says "Allium ampeloprasum". Here is the Wikipedia entry:

    Looks like it's a leek AND it's garlic!

    From Floridata:

    "The species, Allium ampeloprasum, is divided into three horticultural groups: The Porrum Group includes the leeks, grown for their stems; the Ampeloprasum Group includes elephant garlic and levant garlic, grown for their large, mild garlic-like bulbs; and the Kurrat Group includes kurrat, a small plant grown for its leaves and rarely seen outside Egypt and the Middle East."

    Here is a link that might be useful: Allium ampeloprasum

  • 15 years ago

    Im near Perth in West AUSTRALIA and would also love to know when and how to plant these whole round cloves.
    On the lable from my 'lot' states the actual cloves are produced in China.
    I just spoke to the importer 'Michael' over the phone and he has welcomed your emails concerning this strain of single-clove Garlic:
    (Michael or Duncan at)

    Michael said he has/imports this garlic all year round!! (and that We are unfortunately unable to grow this strain in Australia for apparent legal reasons??)

    Good luck everyone & have a wonderfilled Christmas.

  • 14 years ago

    If this forum is still active I'd like to add that I have had this single garlic which I got from my grandmother's garden many years ago, and which I assume she inherited from some one else. I probably got it in the 80's, and she had died years before that at the age of 90, so this garlic had been multiplying for years. I was told that she used this garlic when making dill pickles. Mine has not done well, and today I have pulled up the last two plants to move them in hopes of keeping it going. I live near Chattanooga, Tennessee in northwest Georgia, zone 7. Can anyone suggest what I should do with these two bulbs, one of which has a very tiny bulblet attached? Thanks!

  • 14 years ago

    So many posts. I read most but not all.
    Here is my take as to how to grow single clove/onion garlis.

    If you let your garlics to grow scapes(most may not do), they will eventually grow bulbits.
    Now if you plant those bulbits you will get the so-called onion garlics.
    It is also my understanding that elephant garlic does that more than regular.
    But then, elephant garlic does not have garlic flavor and will not give you garlic breath even if you eat them raw.

    My hardnecks (store bought and planted) grew bulbits on their stem, about 4" from the bulbs. No other soft necks with white wrapper did that.
    So here is my plan to experiment: Plant those bulbits this fall and see if I will get onion garlics next year.

    P.S. I have read all the info, as I stated, right here On GW, in another thread not too long ago.


  • 14 years ago

    Thanks for your help. I've learned that what I had called bulbits was incorrect. What I have is a very tiny new little bulb attached by a small root to a larger bulb, which is actually pretty small itself. They are round and have a roots at the bottom just like small onions. The newcomer doesn't grown on the foliage, but underground. The foliage shoots up green, but starts to turn yellow in the late spring, and then dies back to not be seen again until the following spring. The ones I pulled up yesterday had already began to wither, and I wanted to rescue these remaining bulbs so that I would know where they were and could replant. I don't know if this is the same sort of "single" clove garlic as is talked about previously on this forum, because it never developes the growth on the top that produces any sort of bulb, or even a flower. I'd love to know more about this plant.

  • 14 years ago

    On one of Jacques Pepin's cooking shows, Rick Bayless was a guest chef. Pepin and Bayless cooked a meal in Pepin's vacation home in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The two chefs used single-clove garlic, which Pepin said was a common garlic sold at the local farmers' market there.

    So, the single-clove garlic is a commonly-grown veg. at least in the Playa del Carmen area of Mexico. Presumably, it could easily be made available in the US through a distributor.

    If interested, it looks like the Pepin-Bayless show will be re-broadcast (see link, and scroll down to July 10, 2010).

    Hope this is helpful....

    Here is a link that might be useful: KQED: Rick & Jacques: Two Chefs at Playa (#507)

  • 14 years ago


    I bought my home 4 years ago, and the previous owner was one amazing gardener. I have one bed that has some of these odd things that I think may be what you're talking about. They have stems like leeks. I dug these small onion-like things in the bed a couple of years ago, cut into one, and oops, it smelled like garlic and had no rings. Not knowing what it was, I didn't want to try eating it.

    Right now, something like this is growing in the same bed. Looks like a leek, has an allium-like flower head in bud, but the leaves do not smell like anything. Could it be that this is actually an allium?

    I have never grown garlic or onions or anything else before, sticking mostly to tomatoes, lettuce and basil. If anyone can offer advice on how to approach this plant, let me know. I don't want to dig today, because it's been raining hard, but if you counsel me to dig it up, and what to look for, let me know.

  • 13 years ago

    My boyfriend brought home a flower head of this Hunnan type with the tiniest bulbs. He got it from an abandoned farm house in Kansas. I dont mind sharing it once it gets established. Do I just leave the heads in the ground to multiply? This is definately a unique variety...not immature, elephant or otherwise. Anyone know the best way to get it established? My bed got weedy and dry and the stems died back. Will it sprout again next year and send up flowers?

  • 13 years ago

    I wanted to share the result of a little experiment I did when some storebought garlic started sprouting: I don't like eating the bitter sprout and usually toss it, but this time I carefully excised it with a sharp knife, leaving the root intact (and minced the rest for cooking). I planted a couple of these fridge sprouts. They grew well, and when they seemed to die I pulled them up to find they'd grown into these little garlic onions. Cool.

  • 13 years ago

    Just an FYI the single clove "pretty garlic" is not a true garlic, but an Allium that is closer to a leek than garlic. Much like an elephant garlic or decorative allium . The give away is that it flowers and does not form bulbils on a scape as a true garlic would. I imagine it tastes mellower and not as good as a true garlic, but still fun. It will produce small bulblits/bulbils like an ornamental allium at the roots that will eventually form new bulbs or I am sure that new plants can come from the seeds.

  • 12 years ago

    I ask about single clove garlic & I was linked to this thread, which I have read.
    A gardener in his 70's has done many thing that books & the
    net say can not be done.
    So when he passed a jar of pickled green tomatoes & peppers with small white bulbs in it. Then told me that was his garlic, I should not have been surprised.
    The bulb, not clove, tasted like garlic with a sweet taste.
    He then told us that it was a single bulb garlic.
    He had found it growing in the N.C. Mountain when he lived there. No one knows how long this home site stood before being removed, but the garlic was all that was lifted.
    He has grown it in Georgia for over 20 year with no cloves, so it can NOT be garlic rounds or immature garlic or it would have cloves the next year.
    I have 4 bulbs & will post a photo when I harvest them next year. The gardener who I got them from does not dig & dry his garlic each year. He has the garlic planted under 4 worm trees year around, which shed their leaves in Fall, so sun is on the beds until warm weather.
    This may be a garlic onion or Allium umpeloprasum, but it is a real variety.

  • 12 years ago

    jolj, sure sounds like what I use to grow..My original stock came from Al-Ga border..I've yet to find a source for it but I'll keep trying..At least now there are others who have grown it..For awhile everybody kept trying to tell me "it didn't exist" it must be a "round or Elephant garlic" Good luck with's rare..

  • 12 years ago

    My single clove garlic is still green & looks like a first year leek.

  • 12 years ago

    Here is my single clove garlic.

  • 12 years ago

    It still looks good, no dry leaves/blades at this time.

  • 11 years ago

    It is still green as of July 1,2012.
    I can not wait to take a pic for you to see.

  • 11 years ago

    One question-- could this be one of, or related to, some of the Alliums sold in the flower sections of catalogs?

    I was going to this year, buy some of the flowering Alliums and eat them, or see how they taste but never got around to it.

  • 11 years ago

    Actually the single clove garlic is planted with normal white garlic seeds, under special weather and environment conditions as Yunnan, they will grow just one single clove. It is more hot than normal garlic, and size only 2-3.5cm. Following is the link to my site which might be helpful.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Single Clove Garlic

  • 11 years ago

    Ted Meredith, in The Complete Book of Garlic (p. 294), lists 'Single Garlic', or 'Chengdu #2' among the unclassified cultivars, meaning it doesn't fit neatly into any of the 11 or so commonly-recognized groups, though it is clearly garlic (A. sativum) and not elephant garlic (A. ampeloprasum). He states that it "is usually grouped with the Asiatic cultivars, though the umbel capsule and bulbils suggest a closer similarity with the Turban group."

  • 11 years ago

    If anyone is able to get bulbils or extra heads of this stuff I'd really really love to grow it here as well. Please let me know :)

  • 10 years ago

    "The more I read the more I got confused.
    -- some say that it is grwon from ordinary garlic, under certain conditions.
    --- some say it is not actually a GARLIC but another member in allium family, more close to leeks than garlic.
    --- some say it is garlic grown from garlic bulbils (on the tip of
    -- some say that if you harvest regular garlic early, you will get onion garlic.
    --- some say that if you plant the very small cloves you will get single clove garlic.
    There is no way to sort all these out.
    But I have harvested some, FOR SURE, myself. I am sure that I just planted regular garlics. So I know for sure that there is such a thing as ROUND single clove garlic."

    Hello Seysonn
    the short answer is yes each of the points you summarised, they are all correct.
    As gemini_jim mentioned there is a chinese variety that always grows rounds but if you can't obtain it, the next best option to deliberately grow them is to plant bulbils according to the timing recommended here
    and/or plant cloves in spring so that they don't get chilled.

  • 10 years ago

    Greetings. This thread is quite old and scattered. I have in my possession a single clove garlic that I recovered from a burned down 1930-40's era home site. This garlic is unlike other feral garlics that I have recovered. I am quite familiar with elephant garlic and am sure this is not allium ampeloprasum. This garlic develops corms like elephant garlic but never develops individual cloves. The leaves of the plant are quite slender and very long. They also drape over and are quite flimsy next to the sturdy and large elephant garlic. A plant standing only 8 inches tall can have 2 1/2 feet of leaf draping off of the plant. It is very spicy in taste and I consider it to be delicious.I have recently recovered a few hundred of these feral garlics and intend on going back for more. I have an online garlic journal that I will be documenting their entire growth process. I have my guesses about which one of the 750 allium sub species it is and I will update ya'll as soon as I am positive. I will also have corms and possibly bulbs available in the near future in extreme limited quantity. For the true garlic guru. If you would like to check out my garlic journal and check for updates I will provide a link. It's a cheeseball free site and everything is going in the blog section.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Our Garlic Journal

  • 10 years ago

    Interesting and I will be back for results.

  • 8 years ago

    Hello. Anyone know where to buy solo garlic in NYC. I heard there's a place in Chinatown. Anyone knows the address or business.

    thank u

  • 8 years ago

    This is an interesting thread. I am going to guess that there are several "single clove garlics". I think I have one, too, but it is a standard garlic that stays single clove by apparent culture. I planted very small cloves off full bulbs at the beginning of June this past summer. This particular type seems to produce scapes and cloves very easily if fall planted to winter over, but the cloves I planted in June never were cold treated. They were last of the previous years harvest of a feral I collected in Iowa. Original bulbs were tiny with very tiny cloves. Proper spacing and fertilization has increased the size for fall plantings very nicely. Bulbils are about the size of a pea; so they are nice sized, too.

    Back to the June planting. Every clove sprouted very quickly and grew to about foot to 14" tall. Not one ever sent up a scape, and the plants never went dry. Nor did any of them ever divide. Just this past week I dug a few and found two distinct types, both still very well rooted by the way - I couldn't pull em I had to dig em up.

    About half looked more like scallions with very little bulbing and these had the thicker stems. The thinner stems had singleton rounds up to close to an inch and a quarter, larger than even the first true bulbs I originally collected. Not one of this planting has divided nor scaped and the plants are still normally green going into winter. I am leaving about half of the original bed in place to see how they handle the Minnesota cold from a summer planting. They took care of themselves just fine in the zone 4 of NW Iowa for almost 30 years; so I am not too worried their hardiness.

    This seems to be one of several ways to grow solo garlic (I hope). I definitely expect that different kinds of garlic respond to vernalization differently or require different types of vernalization and probably respond differently to day length as well.

    I am going to try spring planting on some spare tulip bulbs, too, next summer. A little more size going into autumn would be nice for my Appeldoorns, hoping I can add bulb size, if I sacrifice the vernalization needed for the flowers.

  • 6 years ago

    Sam, would you sale a few rounds to myself & others on this site?

  • 6 years ago

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  • 11 months ago

    Hello everyone, I am not sure if this thread is still active, but I too have single clove garlic around my farm. I live in Western North Carolina and have found multiple pockets of this rare garlic. I have harvested hundreds of singleclove garlic this year and when I sell to market and to my CSA everyone is curious as to what this garlic is called. The stalks are tall, with purpe flowers when I leave them to bolt. The produce budlets off of the large bulb and continue to come back year after year without me having to plant them. They are white and heavily resemble a small white onion. I have read that others in the Southern U.S. have similar plants. Has anyone found any information on what they are known as commonly?

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