How To Plant Garlic In Pot [ Full Guide ]

Garlic is a versatile and flavorful addition to countless recipes, and growing your own garlic at home is an incredibly rewarding experience. While many gardeners are accustomed to planting garlic directly in the ground, it is also entirely possible to grow garlic in pots. This article will provide a detailed guide on how to plant garlic in a pot, covering everything from selecting the right pot and garlic bulbs to preparing the soil and planting process.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Garlic In Pot

To plant garlic in a pot, follow these essential steps:

  1. Choose the right pot: Select a pot that is at least 8-10 inches deep and has good drainage holes at the bottom.
  2. Select the best garlic bulbs: Look for large, healthy garlic bulbs from a reputable source or local nursery.
  3. Prepare the pot and soil: Fill the pot with well-draining potting mix and add some organic compost for nutrients.
  4. Planting garlic cloves: Break your chosen garlic bulbs into individual cloves and plant them in the pot with the pointed end facing upward, at a depth of 2 inches.
  5. Maintenance: Water the soil regularly, keep the pot in a sunny location, and watch for signs of growth and readiness for harvesting.

Choosing The Right Pot For Garlic

Selecting the right pot is crucial for successfully growing garlic. When choosing a pot for planting garlic, consider the following factors:

Size And Depth

Garlic requires a sufficient amount of soil for its roots to grow and develop. Therefore, choose a pot that is at least 8-10 inches deep to accommodate the depth of the garlic roots. A deeper pot allows for better root growth and stability, which is essential for producing healthy garlic bulbs.

Drainage Holes

Proper drainage is essential for preventing waterlogged soil, which can lead to rot and other issues. Select a pot with adequate drainage holes at the bottom to ensure excess water can escape easily. If the pot you choose doesn’t have drainage holes, you can drill them yourself or place a layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot to improve drainage.


Pots can be made from various materials, including plastic, terracotta, ceramic, or metal. Each material has its own advantages and considerations. Terracotta pots are porous and allow for better air circulation to the roots, while plastic pots retain moisture well and are lighter in weight. Consider these factors when choosing the material for your garlic pot.

Selecting The Best Garlic Bulbs For Planting

Selecting high-quality garlic bulbs is crucial for successful cultivation. When choosing garlic bulbs for planting, consider the following factors:

Bulb Size And Quality

Look for large, firm, and healthy garlic bulbs with unbroken skins. Avoid using small or damaged bulbs, as they may not produce robust and healthy garlic plants. Larger bulbs generally contain larger cloves, which are preferable for planting.

Organic And Local Sources

Opt for organic garlic bulbs from a reputable source or a local nursery, as they are more likely to be well-suited for your specific growing conditions. Local varieties often adapt better to the local climate and soil, which can improve the chances of a successful harvest.

Varietal Considerations

There are two main types of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck garlic varieties often perform better in cooler climates, while softneck varieties are suitable for milder climates. Consider the specific needs of the garlic variety when choosing bulbs for planting.

Preparing The Pot And Soil For Planting

Proper preparation of the pot and soil sets the stage for successful garlic growth. Follow these steps to prepare the pot and soil for planting:

Pot Preparation

  1. Clean the Pot: If you’re using a used pot, ensure it is clean and free from any contaminants or residues that could potentially harm the garlic plants. Wash the pot with mild soap and water, and rinse it thoroughly before use.

  2. Add Drainage Material: If the pot doesn’t have adequate drainage holes, add a layer of small rocks, pebbles, or broken pottery pieces to the bottom to facilitate drainage.

  3. Select the Potting Mix: Choose a well-draining potting mix specifically designed for container gardening. Avoid using garden soil, as it can compact easily and may not provide adequate aeration for the garlic roots.

Soil Preparation

  1. Loosen the Soil: Before filling the pot, loosen the potting mix to ensure it is light and airy. Break up any clumps and remove debris or foreign objects from the soil.

  2. Amend with Compost: Add a generous amount of organic compost to the potting mix to enrich it with nutrients. Mix the compost thoroughly into the potting mix to ensure even distribution.

  3. Filling the Pot: Fill the pot with the prepared potting mix, leaving a few inches of space from the rim of the pot to allow for easy watering without spilling over the edges.

By following these preparation steps, you will create an optimal environment for your garlic to thrive and grow into healthy, flavorful bulbs.

Planting Garlic Cloves In Pots

Planting garlic cloves is a straightforward process, but it requires attention to detail to ensure the best results. Follow these steps to plant garlic cloves in pots properly:

Separating The Cloves

  1. Select Bulbs for Separation: Choose the largest and healthiest garlic bulbs for separating into individual cloves. Avoid using damaged or sprouted cloves, as they may produce weaker plants.

  2. Prepare the Bulbs: Gently separate the cloves from the bulb, ensuring that each clove is intact and free from damage. Handle the cloves delicately to avoid causing any bruising or injury.

Planting Depth And Spacing

  1. Placement of Cloves: Plant the garlic cloves with the pointed end facing upward. The pointed end is where the shoot will emerge, and it should be positioned at the top.

  2. Planting Depth: Place each clove in the pot at a depth of approximately 2 inches. This depth allows the roots to anchor well in the soil while providing ample support for the emerging shoots.

  3. Spacing: Space the cloves approximately 4-6 inches apart from each other to provide ample room for the bulbs to develop without crowding each other.

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Watering And Placement

  1. Watering: After planting the garlic cloves, water the pot thoroughly to settle the soil and provide essential moisture for the cloves to begin establishing roots. Ensure that the soil is consistently moist but not waterlogged.

  2. Sunlight and Temperature: Place the pot in a location that receives plenty of sunlight, as garlic plants thrive in full sun. Avoid areas with excessive wind or strong drafts, as these can stress the plants.

By following these planting guidelines, you will give your garlic cloves the best possible start for robust growth and development.

Planting garlic in a pot allows you to enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own garlic even in limited gardening spaces. With the right pot, high-quality garlic bulbs, and proper preparation, you can successfully cultivate flavorful garlic at home. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, following the steps outlined in this guide will set you on the path to a bountiful harvest of aromatic and delicious garlic cloves. By carefully selecting a suitable pot, preparing the soil, and planting the garlic cloves with care, you can look forward to a rewarding gardening experience and a plentiful supply of fresh garlic for your culinary endeavors.

Watering And Fertilizing Garlic In Pots

Growing garlic in pots is a convenient and space-efficient way to cultivate this versatile plant, especially for those who have limited gardening space or live in urban areas. Garlic not only adds flavor to a variety of dishes but also has several health benefits. By following the proper techniques, you can successfully grow garlic in pots and enjoy a fresh harvest.

Proper watering and fertilization are crucial for the healthy growth of garlic plants in pots. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Choosing A Suitable Pot

Select a pot that is at least 10-12 inches deep and has good drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. A wider pot will provide more room for the garlic bulbs to develop. The pot can be made of plastic or terracotta, whichever you prefer.

2. Soil Preparation

Use a well-draining potting mix to ensure proper root growth and prevent rot. Avoid using garden soil, as it may be too heavy and compact for potted garlic plants. Mix equal portions of peat moss, perlite, and compost to create a loose and nutrient-rich soil mix for your garlic.

3. Planting The Garlic Cloves

Break apart the garlic bulb into individual cloves, ensuring that each clove has a firm and intact outer skin. Place the cloves with the pointed end facing upwards, about 2 inches deep in the soil. Space the cloves 4-6 inches apart to allow room for growth.

4. Watering Frequency

Keep the soil evenly moist, but not saturated. Garlic plants prefer slightly moist conditions, so water whenever the top inch of the soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering as it can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases.

5. Fertilizing Routine

Garlic plants require adequate nutrients for healthy growth and bulb development. Apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer when planting the cloves, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, incorporate a liquid fertilizer into your watering routine once every two weeks during the growing season to provide ongoing nourishment.

Caring For Garlic Plants In Pots

Garlic plants kept in pots require regular care to ensure optimal growth and harvest. Here are some essential care practices to follow:

1. Sun Exposure

Place the pot in a location that receives full sunlight for at least 6-8 hours a day. Garlic plants thrive in bright light and need this exposure to develop strong and healthy foliage.

2. Temperature And Humidity

Garlic is a cool-season crop that prefers temperatures between 55-77°F (13-25°C). During the winter months, you may need to protect your potted garlic from severe cold by bringing it indoors or providing some insulation. Garlic plants also prefer moderate humidity levels, so avoid placing them in excessively dry or humid environments.

3. Mulching

Mulching helps conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and maintain a more even soil temperature. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the garlic plants, taking care not to cover the foliage. This will also provide additional nutrients as the mulch breaks down over time.

4. Providing Support

As garlic plants grow, their foliage may become top-heavy and flop over. Providing support, such as a tomato cage or bamboo stakes, can help keep the plants upright and prevent damage to the leaves and bulbs.

5. Regular Maintenance

Remove any yellow or dead leaves to promote air circulation and prevent diseases. Garlic plants can be susceptible to fungal diseases, so keeping the foliage dry and well-spaced can help minimize the risk. If necessary, use a fungicidal spray according to package instructions to prevent or treat fungal infections.

Managing Pests And Diseases

Like any other plant, garlic can be susceptible to pests and diseases. However, with proper care and preventive measures, you can minimize the risk. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Common Pests

a) Aphids: These small insects suck the sap from the leaves, causing them to wilt and deform. Use an insecticidal soap or a strong stream of water to dislodge and control aphids.

b) Onion thrips: Thrips are tiny insects that cause silver-speckled leaves and deformed bulbs. Apply an organic insecticidal soap or neem oil to control thrips infestations.

c) Nematodes: These microscopic worms can damage the garlic roots, leading to stunted growth and poor bulb development. Ensure that your potting mix is sterilized to prevent nematode infestations.

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2. Diseases

a) White rot: White rot is a fungal disease that manifests as white fluffy growth at the base of garlic plants. To prevent white rot, avoid planting garlic in the same potting mix or location where infected garlic or other Allium family plants (such as onions) were previously grown.

b) Downy mildew: Downy mildew causes yellow spots on the leaves and a fuzzy, mold-like growth on the undersides. Ensure good air circulation and avoid overhead watering to prevent downy mildew.

c) Fusarium rot: Fusarium rot is a soil-borne disease that affects the garlic bulbs, causing rotting and decay. Ensure proper drainage and avoid overwatering to prevent this disease.

Harvesting Garlic From Pots

After months of care, it’s time to harvest your garlic crop. Here is how to determine when your garlic is ready for harvest and how to do it properly:

1. Timing

Garlic is typically ready for harvest when the foliage turns yellow or brown but still retains some green color. This usually occurs around 8-9 months after planting. Avoid waiting too long, as overripe garlic may split and not store as well.

2. Lifting The Bulbs

Carefully loosen the soil around the bulbs using a small trowel or fork. Lift the bulbs gently to avoid damaging them. Take care not to pull on the foliage, as this can cause the bulbs to detach or break.

3. Curing

After harvesting, it’s essential to cure the garlic bulbs to enhance their storage life. Hang the harvested bulbs in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area for about 2-3 weeks. The curing process allows the outer skins to dry and harden, protecting the bulbs.

4. Storing

Once the bulbs are fully cured, trim the foliage to about an inch above the bulb and brush off any excess soil. Store the garlic in a cool, dry, and dark place with good air circulation. Garlic bulbs can last for several months if stored properly.

Growing garlic in pots is an excellent way to enjoy fresh homegrown garlic, even if you have limited garden space. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully plant garlic in pots, provide proper care, manage pests and diseases, and ultimately harvest a bountiful crop.

Remember to choose a suitable pot, use well-draining soil, water and fertilize regularly, provide adequate sunlight, and protect your plants from pests and diseases. With patience and diligence, you will soon be able to enjoy the flavorful and nutritious garlic you grew in your very own pot garden.

Storing Garlic Bulbs For Pot Planting

Garlic is a versatile and flavorful ingredient that is valued in the culinary world for its aromatic qualities and potential health benefits. While many people associate garlic with large garden beds, it can also be easily grown in pots, making it an accessible option for those with limited space or no outdoor garden.

Planting garlic in pots can be a rewarding experience, as it allows you to have a fresh supply of garlic right at your fingertips. In addition, growing garlic in pots offers the advantage of better control over soil conditions, protection from pests, and the ability to move the pots around to optimize sunlight exposure.

To start growing garlic in pots, you will need to acquire high-quality garlic bulbs specifically meant for planting. Avoid using garlic found at grocery stores, as they are often treated with chemicals to prevent sprouting.

  1. Purchase garlic bulbs from a reputable garden center or order them online from a reputable supplier. Look for bulbs labeled as "seed" garlic, as these are grown specifically for planting.

  2. Select large, firm, and healthy bulbs. Avoid bulbs with soft spots or signs of mold.

  3. Before planting the garlic bulbs, they need to go through a process called "curing." Curing helps stimulate the bulbs to sprout by mimicking the conditions they would experience in the ground. It also assists in eliminating any diseases present on the bulbs.

  4. To cure the bulbs, tie them in small bunches using twine or string. Hang the bunches in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated area, such as a garage or basement. Make sure the bulbs are not exposed to direct sunlight.

  5. Allow the bulbs to cure for about two weeks. During this time, the outer layers of the garlic cloves will dry and the sprouting process will be initiated.

  6. After curing, remove any excess dirt from the bulbs and separate them into individual cloves.

  7. Choose the largest cloves for planting, as they will produce larger bulbs. Smaller cloves can be used for cooking.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

1. Insufficient Soil Drainage

Problem: Garlic bulbs are prone to rot when the soil does not drain properly.

Solution: Before planting garlic in a pot, ensure that the pot has adequate drainage holes at the bottom. Fill the pot with well-draining potting mix. Avoid using heavy soils or garden soil, as they can hold too much moisture. Adding perlite or coarse sand to the potting mix can improve drainage.

2. Overwatering

Problem: Overwatering can lead to root rot and fungal diseases in garlic plants.

Solution: Garlic prefers moist soil, but it does not tolerate waterlogged conditions. Water the potted garlic only when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Provide a deep watering, making sure the excess water drains out of the pot. Avoid letting the pot sit in a tray filled with water.

3. Lack Of Sunlight

Problem: Insufficient sunlight can result in weak and stunted garlic plants.

Solution: Place your garlic pot in a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. If you are growing garlic indoors, consider using supplemental grow lights to ensure adequate light exposure.

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4. Pests And Diseases

Problem: Garlic can fall victim to various pests and diseases, such as aphids, onion maggots, white rot, and rust.


  • Inspect your garlic plants regularly for signs of pests or diseases. Remove any affected leaves or plants immediately to prevent further spread.
  • To deter pests, you can plant garlic alongside companion plants such as marigolds, which have natural pest-repellent properties.
  • If necessary, use organic insecticides or pesticides specifically formulated for garlic plants. Follow the instructions carefully and avoid using harsh chemicals that may harm beneficial insects.

Advantages Of Planting Garlic In Pots

  1. Space Efficiency: Growing garlic in pots is an excellent option for those with limited space or no outdoor garden. Pots can be placed on patios, balconies, or even windowsills, allowing anyone to enjoy fresh and homegrown garlic.

  2. Better Soil Control: Growing garlic in pots provides greater control over soil quality. You can customize the potting mix to provide ideal conditions for garlic growth, ensuring it receives the right amount of nutrients.

  3. Mobility: Potted garlic offers the advantage of mobility. You can easily move the pots to optimize sunlight exposure, protect the plants from harsh weather conditions, or create space for other plants when needed.

  4. Reduced Pest Risk: Garlic planted in pots is less susceptible to pests and diseases compared to those grown in the ground. The limited space and controlled environment of pots help minimize the risk of infestations.

  5. Extended Growing Seasons: With pot gardening, you can extend the growing season of garlic by moving the pots indoors when temperatures drop. This allows you to enjoy fresh garlic year-round.

Tips For Successful Garlic Pot Gardening

  1. Choosing the Right Pot: Use a pot with a diameter of at least 12 inches and a depth of 8-10 inches. Ensure that the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.

  2. Quality Potting Mix: Use a well-draining potting mix specifically designed for container gardening. Avoid using garden soil, as it tends to be heavy and may not provide adequate drainage.

  3. Planting Depth: Plant garlic cloves 2-3 inches deep in the potting mix. Place them with the pointed end facing upward.

  4. Spacing: Space individual garlic cloves about 4-6 inches apart. This allows for sufficient air circulation and prevents overcrowding.

  5. Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Water the garlic whenever the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid watering from overhead, as this can lead to fungal diseases. Instead, water at the base of the plants.

  6. Feeding: Garlic plants benefit from a balanced fertilizer application during the growing season. Use a slow-release fertilizer or apply a liquid fertilizer every few weeks following the package instructions.

  7. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the base of the garlic plants. Mulching helps conserve moisture, suppresses weed growth, and regulates soil temperature.

  8. Harvesting: Garlic is typically ready for harvest when the tops start to turn yellow and begin to dry. Gently loosen the soil around the bulbs and lift them from the pot using a garden fork or trowel. Allow the harvested garlic bulbs to cure for 2-3 weeks in a well-ventilated, shady area before storing.


Growing garlic in pots provides a convenient and rewarding way to have a fresh supply of this versatile culinary ingredient. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully plant garlic in pots and enjoy the benefits of homegrown garlic in even the smallest of spaces.

Remember to choose high-quality garlic bulbs, provide adequate sunlight and water, and address any pest or disease issues promptly. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of flavorful garlic that will enhance your culinary endeavors. Happy garlic pot gardening!


What Type Of Pot Should I Use To Plant Garlic?

It is best to use a pot that is at least 8-10 inches deep and has drainage holes in the bottom. A clay or ceramic pot is recommended, as it provides good air circulation for the garlic.

When Is The Best Time To Plant Garlic In A Pot?

Garlic is typically planted in the fall, about 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes. For planting in a pot, the ideal time is 4-6 weeks before the last expected frost so that the garlic can establish its roots before the winter.

How Do I Prepare The Pot For Planting Garlic?

Start by filling the pot with a good quality potting mix, leaving about 2 inches of space at the top. You can also add compost or aged manure to the mix to provide extra nutrients for the garlic.

How Should I Plant The Garlic Cloves In The Pot?

Break apart a garlic bulb into individual cloves, making sure to keep the papery skin intact. Plant the cloves root side down, 2 inches deep and about 4 inches apart. You can also gently press them into the soil to make sure they are secure.

Can I Keep My Potted Garlic Indoors Or Do I Need To Move It Outside?

Garlic requires a period of cold temperatures to develop properly, so it is best to keep the pot outside during the fall and winter months. However, you can move the pot indoors when it starts to warm up in the spring, just make sure it gets enough sunlight.