A while back I threw out some spoiled-looking garlic cloves only to find them growing quite well in my compost. I'd like to try planting a few (in a container, not the open ground).

Can I simply stick them in the soil and water, or do I need to cultivate the clove first in some way?

  • 4
    I have found garlic to be among some of the easiest produce to grow. Just split the knots into their individual nodules and stick in the ground. Its fun to watch the green even in the winter. I've had success planting them any time from mid-summer to late fall.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 2:28

3 Answers 3


If you want to grow garlic, buy some "seed garlic" instead of using leftover cloves from the grocery store. It will still just be regular garlic, and you'll plant the cloves, but sometimes grocery store garlic is treated to prevent sprouting. You'll also notice when looking at a catalog that there are many varieties of garlic, and you'll be able to choose a variety that is most suited to your local growing conditions.

Select a planting site with deep, loose soil. pH will ideally be about 6.5 -- similar to what other garden vegetables like.

Plant garlic in autumn before the ground freezes -- but not too early, you don't want it to put out any top growth before winter. Mulch with a thick layer of straw or autumn leaves. (Last year I used about 8" of leaves with good results.) Plant only the larger cloves, which will produce larger bulbs. Save the small ones for eating.

In the spring, pull back the mulch before the weather warms and the plants try to send up shoots.

See this question for information on harvesting.

  • Thanks! About how deep should I plant the seeds (or cloves, if I try that anyway)?
    – wxs
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 15:08
  • 2
    About 2" deep, pointy end up. Note that the "seeds" are cloves. I've never heard of anyone planting garlic from true seeds.
    – bstpierre
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 15:58
  • At some times of the year, the grocery store garlic comes pre-sprouted, with happy little leaves. Usually that happens when planting outside would kill just about anything, but you can pot them up inside and wait for spring. Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 16:18

Yeah you can put them in almost anything as long as you don't let them dry out totally..

If I remember correctly they are grown by sowing in the fall and harvesting in early summer.

  • 2
    I think a few more words and a bit more explanation will go a long way in your answers. Right now, most of them seem like passing remarks and bite-sized responses that you might casually throw around than actual answers... We're trying to avoid such "answers" and I'd appreciate if you could add some more detail to them :) Commented Jun 10, 2012 at 19:34
  • sorry, just trying to participate... I can talk about how i have grown different varieties of garlic, and the german varieties with fewer cloves do better where i am located, but i don't think that it will be helpful for the OP. Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 15:52

I put an extremely superficial lengthwise cut to the husk on the clove, then leave the clove in shallow water overnight. It sprouts within 24-hours, at which point I move the sprouted clove to the soil ~ 3" deep.

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