Welcome to the third in a 7-part series about different products provided by elephant garlic. This video focuses on elephant garlic flowers. After this video, I hope that you will consider elephant garlic as an inexpensive way to have a dramatic impact in your flower gardens.
Have you seen the gigantic allium in the fall bulb catalogs? They always look so nice, but are so dadgum expensive! Here are 2 examples. Look at Mt. Everest, a very pretty, white gigantic allium. It has 4-inch flowerheads, grown 3 feet tall, and you can buy them for 3 for $17.95. I have seen them online for $11.99 each! Then there's the Allium Ambassador, a beautiful purple gigantic allium. It has 6-inch flowerheads, grows 3-4 feet tall, and you can get 3 for $29.95 and that's without shipping!
Elephant garlic are gigantic alliums, too. They are not like regular garlic that has little bulblets in their flowers. No! Elephant garlic has big beautiful flowers that transition into big seedheads that last a long time and provide some real interest in a flower garden even into winter.
How big are elephant garlic flowers? Well, I went out and measured a few of the dried flowerheads of elephant garlic that were growing untended, without any help, here at Haphazard Homestead. Here are some elephant garlic flowerheads going to seed that are 4-5 inches across, and are easily 5 feet tall. Here's another elephant garlic flowerstalk that's almost 6 feet tall. And here's a flowerhead that was easily 5 inches across.
Elephant garlic flowers and their seedheads make great cut flowers to use in an arrangement, fresh or dried.
Let's take a look at a couple other attributes of elephant garlic flowers. Bees love them! You can eat the flowers, too. I think they have the hottest, most intense flavor of all the parts of the elephant garlic, so I don't use a lot of them at any one time.
Did I tell you that bees love these flowers? Bees love the elephant garlic flowers!
When elephant garlic flowers like this, the bulbs down below don't get very big. You can see my video on elephant garlic scapes for more about that.
So how can you have your cake and eat it, too -- or in this case, how can you have elephant garlic flowers and harvest more to eat? Here's my suggestion: Each elephant garlic that is left in the ground will divide into a clump the next year, that will flower, too. You can dig up some of the clumps and use them as spring leeks. You can check an earlier video in this elephant garlic series for more about that.
Well, I hope I have convinced you that elephant garlic can provide some beautiful flowers that are worth as much as the expensive gigantic alliums that you see in the fall bulb catalogs.
My video on using elephant garlic as spring leeks: https://youtu.be/m1A_vj3F2pY
My video on elephant garlic scapes and their impact on the garlic bulb: https://youtu.be/eRuadb28-vA
My playlist on garden topics:
My channel is Haphazard Homestead: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcZCvPPU9dgxD0yXrc9DaPA
"Enchanted Valley" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
1. Gigantic allium: Chris Gladis. Image used unchanged. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Allium_Giganteum_(4).jpg Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
2. Garlic bulblets in flowers collage: Lisa Gordon Photography. Images combined. Source: http://www.lisa-gordon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Unknown-Flower-1.jpg and http://www.lisa-gordon.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Unknown-Flower-2.jpg
Used under CC BY NC-4.0 license: http://www.lisa-gordon.com/?page_id=2522 and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
3. White Flower Farm online catalog screen captures used under Fair Use Doctrine for educational purposes.
So I think i messed up. I bought hundreds of ornamental alliums then saw this video and immediately bought a bunch of elephant garlic and regular garlic. . . .and now i cant remember where I planted what and everything is all over the place. Does anybody know how to tell the difference between garlic, elephant garlic, and an ornamental? I want to keep the flowers on the ornaments but cut all the garlic and elephant garlic scapes so i get larger bulbs to plant next fall. Im afraid everything is going to look the same
This Elephant Garlic was already here when I bought my place in 1993. The original family that lived here had planted it, decades before. They only had to plant it once -- and now there's been over 50 years of Elephant Garlic here, sometimes well tended, other times taking care of itself. Some produce markets carry Elephant Garlic to eat. And it's just fine to plant those because they don't have much disease problem in a garden. Another source is Nichols Garden Nursery in Albany, Oregon. They say they are the originators of Elephant Garlic in 1950. I've enjoyed ordering things from them in past years (not sponsored, not an ad, not an affiliate).
+Agusta Sister I have everything on my land . . . .i think i even saw some dinosaurs and a unicorn out there once. . . .Im going to try this and if that doesn't work everything is going into a 3' tall raised bed
+Haphazard Homestead I got my order in. I also bought a bunch of alliums of various types for $5-$10 per bulb (one clove) depending on type. My elephant garlic was $10/bulb from Gurney's so I thought they were the same price as alliums and I only got 6. Well much to my surprise their "Bulb" is a cluster of at LEAST 10 cloves. . .so now I have 60 plants of it planted. . . .they are already coming up. . .I was worried but apparently thats not a big issue and they will come back when winter is done.
Thanks for video!!! Well, now that you have me gung-ho. Where would you recommend me buying the elephant garlic bublets? And when would I plant in zone 8a North Carolina? Saw one online place selling one bulb for $8.99, but don't know reliable sources. BTW: went to an estate sale. Backyard had many plants all over with tall sturdy spheres (2-3" in dry state) about chest high with very healthy draping foliage. The spheres were finished blooming and dried. I took two that just snapped off which had tiny black looking seeds in the dry spheres. Took home, and black tiny seeds didn't knock off onto paper plate well. Gently removed. Wrapped in paper. Sealed and put in frig in air tight container. Hahahaha. Being a novice to flower gardening, I don't know what the flowering plant was for sure. Thought perhaps allium ambassadors but how do I know for sure. Pure speculation from looking at images on google search. People who owned the lovely house are deceased. Have any thoughts? Sorry for the ramblings. Am a late bloomer trying to get my feet wet learning about flowering annuals and perennials I can grow on a very tight budget.
The Elephant Garlic will usually be featured by name, because it is more mild than most other garlic. Anf the cloves should be bigger than the other garlic. There is still time to plant garlic -- I'm working on mine this week in zone 8a in Oregon. Happy gardening! :D
THANK YOU soooo much for the tip about the seeds I collected. AND also I will be going by the garlic cloves every time I go grocery shopping. I just am not sure if I will know whether they are Elephant garlic vs regular kind. I guess I compare and use my "judgment" > oooops that could be a bad thing. (sigh) LOL.
If you can find Elephant Garlic at a grocery store, you can plant those cloves. The same goes for regular garlic, too. It should be a lot cheaper that way. The plants may not be especially adapted to your area, but it won't be any worse than what you order online. Or if you are on Facebook, join a local gardening group on there and ask if anyone has extra to share. Folks growing Elephant Garlic or regular garlic usually have more than they will ever use. And you will be getting cloves from the plants that are doing well in your area.
Nice resourcefulness in getting those seeds. If you succeed in getting those seeds to germinate, if they smell like onions or garlic, you will know they are in the Allium family. Happy growing!
Each separate clove will make a new elephant garlic bulb. If you plant the whole bulb all together, it will make a crowded clump. That clump is good for harvesting as Spring Leeks, but it's not the best result for large flowers or harvesting big elephant garlic bulbs. If your goal is large elephant garlic bulbs to eat, be sure to cut off the scapes (or flower stalks) when they first appear. If your goal is the large flowers, the bulbs will be smaller. But elephant garlic flowers are so pretty! Best of luck with them! :D
Thanks for the very interesting video. Strangely enough I brought in 4 of the seed pods today! Yes, bees LOVE them. Can I dry the seed pods and separate the seeds for growing? How long will it take to produce seedlings please? I LOVE your voice :)
Sorry to have missed your question, Pat Pathinayake. It's great that you have seeds in those big seed pods. Many times, they don't make seed at all. Yes, you can dry the seedheads and save the seed. But just expect the germination to not be super high. I find self-seeded Elephant Garlic around my yard, so at least some seeds germinate. When I see the little Elephant Garlic leaves in different places in my yard, I make sure to not mow them down or step on them.
It takes 2-3 years for the seeds to turn into the big heads of garlic with large cloves. And then another year or 2 for them to turn into a large patch of crowded plants that you can use like spring leeks. That seems like a long process, and planting the Elephant Garlic cloves is faster. But once you have a bunch of plants, there's always some coming into their different stages of growth. Enjoy your Elephant Garlic!
Sorry to miss your comment, Emily Short! In my experience, it seems like there is always at least one little bulblet that gets left behind, lol. And it's easy enough to leave some cloves in the ground to keep your crop going, too. I hope you've been enjoying your Elephant Garlic!
Yes, I leave them in the ground until I want to harvest the whole plant. Their bulb will split into cloves, so one plant will become a clump over time, with more flowers. When the clump gets too dense, I dig it up in the spring for spring leeks, like I show in this video: https://youtu.be/m1A_vj3F2pY There are so many great uses of Elephant Garlic! You might enjoy my playlist that shows eating their young leaves, their flowerstalks, and more. I hope you can enjoy some Elephant Garlic yourself. It's so underappreciated as a versatile plant in the flower garden and to eat! Here's the playlist -- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEGN8kE_KnjD6dEWNXksaTcnAbkS1kV7v Thanks for commenting!
When are you planting your garlic? So many of the garlics, including elephant garlic, are sensitive to changes in how long the day-light is. That's why it's good to plant them in the fall and let them over-winter. Then they grow in the spring and naturally die-back by mid-summer.
I know this is an old video, but if you are making multi part video you should number them so they will queue up one after another which will create more views. So if you are getting money for views that would help a lot...
Even better idea there by putting them on a playlist I think that once a person watches them they will be directed straight away to watch more. Planting some Elephant garlic this fall for sure and finally getting warmer weather to pick more wild edibles.
That's a good idea. I'll put that on my list of things to get organized about my channel this month. I may put all the elephant garlic videos into a series or separate playlist. Thanks for the suggestion!
I love your videos, but you are quoting prices from White Flower Farm. My dad was a grounds manager and I grew up a couple miles from the farm (not the warehouse). That place is amazing, but they are crazy expensive and you can find places that may not be as good for a cheaper source.(they could be as good or better though) One of the good things when my dad worked there we got the stuff they were throwing out for free, so we had a crazy garden and landscape. If you go later in the season things for a lot less and in great condition, but not on line as much.
From what I understand is that they think all known species are edible and can be eaten throughout the year. Some say the young "hoston" in the spring taste best and are like eating a cross of celery and asparagus. You can also use the matured leaves as a substitute for spinach. Only bought the place last year so only worked on my food gardens so far, but hoping to get the ornamental stuff done this year or next with as many edibles in there like I said. A lid full of beer is a great way to keep the slugs off your stuff. Loving the videos.
Thanks for that info. They would be good for your front yard "non-edible" garden that you can eat. I've never tried eating hostas, but maybe that will change. The slugs sure like to eat them in my region.
In an area with gardening restrictions like that, elephant garlic is perfect. Everyone will be amazed at the flowers and you can have some plants tucked in there that you cut the flower stalks off of, too. The plants themselves have a nice structural form. Nobody will suspect you have food - they will just compliment you on your flowers! There are so many more plants like that, too. Happy gardening!
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