I recently opened my cabinet and noticed that a clove of garlic that I had was sprouting some roots. In my infinite need to experiment, I decided "Hey, I'll toss this in a mason jar with a little bit of water and see what happens!" Well much to my surprise, it's been a week since I did that and now the stalk of the garlic is shooting out the top of the jar and the little "tentacle" looking things, which I assume are roots are about an inch long.

So to my question: If I leave the garlic in the jar with no soil and just a little bit of water (about an inch), will I end up with usable garlic?

2 Answers 2


Garlic can be grown hydroponically with artificial light and a substrate. However you have to work against the normal life cycle of a bulb which is to grow, flower and have a dormant period. I planted garlic bulbs from the fridge and they grew very quickly, so quickly, they exhausted their stored reserves in the bulb and died.

To actually get a harvest from a bulblet you need good light, a hydroponic fertilizer in the water solution and a substrate for it to grow in.

A good hydroponic store can help you with this. If you were hoping to grow garlic without a strong light source or some preparation I think you will be disappointed.


"If I leave the garlic in the jar with no soil and just a little bit of water (about an inch), will I end up with usable garlic?"

In a word - NO. There is only enough energy stored in a typical garlic clove to get the new plant off to a good start on producing its first set of leaves and roots. If you do not give it access to more nutrients, either hydroponically or by planting the clove into good garden soil, then the garlic clove will use up its small store of sugars in short order and will not have enough "oomph" to go on to produce a full-size set of healthy leaves and roots, and then later on, a new head of garlic.

It can be nice, however, to have garlic greens to snip now and then for seasoning, so if you don't want to bother with planting it, you might consider enjoying it in that manner for however long it lasts.

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