Is it important that the clove for garlic is pointed end up, or can it grow just as good on its side, and look a little funny?

  • 'Clove' specifically refers to each individual clove - bulb is the term used for a whole collection of the cloves. They should be planted pointed end up - if you want to see what happens planted sideways or upside down, try it and see. usually, they either reoirent themselves or produce a shoot from the pointed end which then curves and grows up towards the light.
    – Bamboo
    Mar 21, 2016 at 13:43

3 Answers 3


It matters. Not in the "critical and you won't get garlic" sense, but you will get weird misshapen garlic if they are not base down, tip up.

upsidedown garlic

Not my picture, but I've grown these, and it's due to mis-oriented cloves at planting time.

Here are some sideways examples:

Sideways garlic

  • 1
    Hmm. That's weird. The picture suggests that the roots are heading upwards. Apr 20, 2016 at 4:18
  • Having been dug, there's not a lot of relation to how they were arrayed in the soil; Roots lack the rigidity of the stem. They come out of the root plate (as they must) and make a sort of "fountain-like" turn downwards, mirroring what the stem does. It's somewhat inefficient for both parts.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 20, 2016 at 14:39
  • However the question was whether it mattered if the clove pointed sideways, and you've posted a picture of an inverted clove. Apr 20, 2016 at 19:07
  • @GrahamChiu The result is similar, if slightly less extreme.
    – GardenerJ
    Apr 20, 2016 at 23:46
  • 1
    @Ecnerwal I went to the original blog where your sideways garlic came from and the grower stated "Just as a matter of curiosity, I planted 5 cloves of garlic upside down, and another 5 sideways to see if they grow. I am pleased to announce that they still grow and form good bulbs. As they grew they tipped themselves sideways which meant that they grew close to the surface, and looked a bit odd but they performed better than I expected." garden-larder.blogspot.com/2014_11_01_archive.html Apr 21, 2016 at 1:26

You don't plant the whole bulb, but split them into cloves, and plant each of the cloves separately. Each clove will develop a new bulb that will be oriented correctly. I doubt it matters if the tapered end of the clove is pointed up or laterally since the stored mass is used to grow the new leaves which then create the new bulb.

However, if you plant the clove upside down, then you will get a mishapen bulb produced, and likely smaller bulbs as well.

  • That was what I meant, and you could've said that with an edit. Mar 20, 2016 at 21:17
  • 3
    Garlic bulbs left in the ground will also sprout, but they are all clumped together. Who are we to know what you meant? Mar 20, 2016 at 21:23
  • I edited the question, because I was calling each clove a bulb. Mar 20, 2016 at 21:40

Well it depends on what you want. If you are going to harvest it later on then you probably want to plant them mostly straight up and down.

If you aren't harvesting, it'll probably grow just fine and new cloves and divisions will likely to grow straight.

  • harvesting is the goal of planting an entire clump. Mar 20, 2016 at 0:35
  • Do you have a picture of the sideways planting of something? Mar 20, 2016 at 1:04

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