How To Plant Garlic That Has Sprouted [ Full Guide ]

Garlic is a staple ingredient in a wide variety of dishes and possesses a range of health benefits. While it is typically planted in the fall for harvesting the following summer, it is not uncommon for garlic to sprout before being used. Sprouted garlic cloves can be successfully planted, allowing you to grow your own garlic. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the process of planting sprouted garlic, from understanding the significance of sprouting to selecting the right variety and creating an ideal planting bed.

Planting sprouted garlic can be a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own organic produce. Many may not realize that sprouted garlic can indeed be planted, and doing so can yield bulbs with robust flavors and nutritional benefits. In this guide, we will delve into the various aspects of planting sprouted garlic, providing step-by-step instructions and insightful tips to help you achieve a successful harvest.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Garlic That Has Sprouted

To quickly summarize the process, here are the fundamental steps involved in planting garlic that has sprouted:

  1. Select the Sprouted Cloves: Choose healthy, firm garlic cloves that have sprouted green shoots.
  2. Prepare the Planting Bed: Ensure the soil is well-draining, fertile, and free of weeds. Incorporate organic matter for optimal growth.
  3. Plant the Cloves: Space the cloves apart and plant them with the sprouts facing upwards, at a depth of around 2 inches.
  4. Provide Adequate Care: Water the garlic regularly, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist. Mulch the bed to retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
  5. Harvesting: Allow the garlic plants to mature and harvest the bulbs once the foliage begins to yellow and wither.

Understanding Garlic Sprouting: Causes And Significance

Why Does Garlic Sprout?

Garlic typically sprouts as a result of environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. Variations in storage conditions can also lead to sprouting. When garlic is exposed to warmth and moisture, it activates the germination process within the clove, causing it to sprout.

The Significance Of Sprouted Garlic

While some may perceive sprouted garlic as past its prime and unsuitable for consumption, it actually presents an opportunity for propagation. The sprouting process indicates that the garlic clove is still viable and capable of producing a new plant. By planting sprouted garlic, you can harness this vitality and grow a fresh crop of garlic.

Choosing The Right Variety Of Garlic

Selecting the right variety of garlic is crucial for a successful harvest. There are two main types of garlic: hardneck and softneck.

Hardneck Garlic

Hardneck garlic varieties are known for their robust flavor and the presence of a central woody stem or "neck." They are well-suited for colder climates and tend to produce fewer, but larger cloves. Popular hardneck varieties include Rocambole, Porcelain, and Purple Stripe.

Softneck Garlic

Softneck garlic, as the name suggests, has a more pliable neck and is often characterized by a milder flavor. This type of garlic is generally more adaptable to a wider range of climates and is known for its superior storing capabilities. Common softneck varieties include Artichoke and Silverskin.

When selecting cloves for planting, it is advisable to choose organic garlic bulbs from a reputable source. Avoid using garlic treated with growth inhibitors, as they may hinder sprouting and overall growth.

Preparing The Planting Bed

The success of your garlic crop largely depends on the quality of the planting bed. Prepare the soil thoroughly to provide an optimal growing environment for the garlic cloves.

Soil Quality

Garlic thrives in well-draining, fertile soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level. Test the soil to determine its pH and nutrient levels, and make amendments as necessary. Incorporating organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure can greatly improve soil fertility and structure.

Weed Control

Ensure that the planting bed is free of weeds before planting. Competing weeds can deprive the garlic plants of essential nutrients and moisture, hampering their growth.

Bed Preparation

Prepare the planting bed by tilling the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches, breaking up any clumps, and removing debris. Create raised beds if the soil tends to become waterlogged, ensuring that excess water drains away effectively.

Adding Nutrients

Incorporate a balanced fertilizer into the soil according to the recommendations based on your soil test results. This will provide the garlic cloves with essential nutrients for healthy growth.

Time To Plant: Selecting The Ideal Season

The timing of planting is critical for garlic as it requires a period of cold temperatures to stimulate bulb production. While garlic is traditionally planted in the fall, planting sprouted garlic in the spring can also yield a successful harvest, albeit with a later maturity date.

Fall Planting

For regions with mild to cold winters, fall planting is the ideal choice. The cloves are planted in the fall, allowing them to establish roots before the onset of winter. This period of dormancy prompts the cloves to develop bulbs, resulting in a harvest the following summer.

Spring Planting

In regions with harsh winters or for those who missed the fall planting window, spring planting is an alternative. While the garlic will have a later maturity date compared to fall-planted garlic, spring planting can still produce viable bulbs. When planting sprouted garlic in the spring, it is essential to ensure that the cloves receive sufficient time to establish themselves before the arrival of warmer temperatures.

Planting sprouted garlic is a straightforward yet rewarding endeavor that allows you to grow your own flavorful and nutritious garlic bulbs. By understanding the causes and significance of garlic sprouting, selecting the right variety, and preparing an optimal planting bed, you can set the stage for a successful garlic harvest. Whether planting in the fall or spring, proper care and attention to the needs of the garlic cloves will contribute to the development of robust plants and flavorful bulbs. With the right knowledge and technique, you can embark on the gratifying journey of cultivating your own homegrown garlic.

Preparing The Sprouted Garlic Cloves

Garlic is a versatile and flavorful herb that is widely used in cooking around the world. Not only does it enhance the taste of various dishes, but it also offers several health benefits. If you have garlic cloves that have started to sprout, you don’t have to throw them away. Instead, you can plant them and grow your own garlic bulb.

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Planting sprouted garlic cloves is a simple and rewarding process that allows you to enjoy the fresh and aromatic flavor of homegrown garlic.

Before planting your sprouted garlic cloves, it is essential to prepare them properly. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Select healthy cloves: Choose garlic cloves that are firm and plump. Avoid cloves that are soft, moldy, or damaged.
  2. Separate the cloves: Carefully separate the cloves from the garlic bulb. Each clove will grow into an individual garlic plant.
  3. Inspect the sprouts: Examine the sprouts on the cloves. Ideally, each clove should have a single sprout. If a clove has multiple sprouts, carefully remove the extras to prevent overcrowding during planting.

By carefully selecting healthy cloves and ensuring each one has a single sprout, you are setting the stage for successful growth and development of your garlic plants.

Proper Spacing And Depth For Planting

Once you have prepared the sprouted garlic cloves, it is important to plant them at the right spacing and depth to optimize their growth and yield. Follow these guidelines for proper planting:

  1. Spacing: Garlic plants need enough space to grow and develop healthy bulbs. Plant the cloves about 4 to 6 inches apart in rows. Leave approximately 12 to 18 inches between each row to allow for proper air circulation and sunlight exposure.
  2. Depth: Plant the cloves with the sprout facing upward. The ideal planting depth is about 2 inches below the soil surface. This depth provides the cloves with the necessary nutrient uptake and stability for root development.

By ensuring the cloves have adequate spacing and are planted at the right depth, you are providing them with the optimal conditions to grow into robust garlic plants.

Nutritional Requirements And Soil Preparation

To ensure the healthy growth of your garlic plants, it is essential to meet their nutritional requirements and prepare the soil accordingly. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Choose a sunny location: Garlic plants thrive in full sun, so select a spot in your garden that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  2. Prepare the soil: Garlic prefers well-draining soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. Start by removing any weeds or debris from the planting area. Then, loosen the soil using a garden fork or tiller to a depth of about 8 to 10 inches. This will improve soil aeration and drainage.
  3. Amend the soil: Garlic plants benefit from nutrient-rich soil. Incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil to enhance its fertility. Aim for a soil that is loose, crumbly, and nutrient-dense.
  4. Balance nutrients: To ensure proper growth, garlic plants require an adequate supply of essential nutrients. Before planting, consider conducting a soil test to determine if any specific nutrients are lacking. Based on the results, you can add fertilizers or soil amendments to meet the plant’s nutritional requirements.

By providing your garlic plants with a suitable location, well-draining soil, and balanced nutrients, you are creating an optimal growing environment that will support their development and yield a flavorful harvest.

Watering And Moisture Management

Watering is a critical aspect of garlic plant care, as it helps sustain growth and prevent issues such as wilting and disease. Here are some important considerations for watering and moisture management:

  1. Initial watering: After planting the garlic cloves, thoroughly water the area to ensure the soil is moist. This will initiate the growth process and help the cloves establish roots.
  2. Regular watering: As the garlic plants grow, monitor the soil moisture levels and water as needed. Garlic plants prefer consistent moisture but dislike standing water. Aim to keep the soil evenly moist, but not overly saturated.
  3. Irrigation methods: To prevent disease, avoid overhead watering that can splash soil onto the leaves. Instead, use methods like drip irrigation or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the soil.

By maintaining proper moisture levels, you are giving your garlic plants the hydration they need to thrive while minimizing the risk of issues caused by excessive or insufficient watering.

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Mulching Techniques To Aid Growth

Mulching is an effective technique to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and provide insulation to the soil. When it comes to growing garlic, mulching can significantly benefit the plant’s growth and development. Here’s how to properly mulch your garlic plants:

  1. Timing: Once the garlic plants have started to grow and are a few inches tall, apply mulch to the soil surface. This is typically around 2 to 4 weeks after planting.
  2. Mulch material: Choose organic mulch materials such as straw, dry leaves, or grass clippings. Avoid using materials that may contain chemicals or herbicides, as these can adversely impact plant health.
  3. Thickness: Apply the mulch in a layer that is about 2 to 4 inches thick. Ensure that the mulch covers the soil surface around the garlic plants but does not touch the stems.
  4. Weed control: Mulching helps suppress weeds by blocking their access to sunlight. However, it is important to monitor the mulched area regularly and remove any weeds that manage to penetrate the mulch layer.

By mulching your garlic plants, you are creating an environment that promotes healthy growth, conserves moisture, and minimizes weed competition, ultimately leading to robust garlic bulbs at harvest time.

Growing garlic from sprouted cloves is a straightforward and rewarding process. By selecting healthy cloves, planting them at the proper spacing and depth, preparing the soil adequately, and providing regular watering and moisture management, you can cultivate thriving garlic plants. Additionally, utilizing mulching techniques can enhance plant growth, minimize weed competition, and conserve moisture.

With patience and care, you can look forward to a bountiful harvest of flavorful, homegrown garlic that will elevate your culinary creations and allow you to enjoy the full benefits of this incredible herb.

Controlling Weeds And Protecting From Pests

Garlic, with its pungent aroma and distinct flavor, is a versatile culinary ingredient that is used in a wide variety of dishes. Besides its culinary uses, garlic has numerous health benefits and is known for its medicinal properties. Growing garlic in your garden can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, and if you happen to come across garlic bulbs that have sprouted, don’t worry! Sprouted garlic can still be successfully planted and grown.

When garlic bulbs sprout, it means that the garlic has started to grow roots and shoots. Planting sprouted garlic allows you to make use of bulbs that might otherwise go to waste.

Before planting sprouted garlic, it is essential to prepare the planting area properly. Follow these steps to control weeds and protect your garlic from pests:

  1. Choose a sunny location: Garlic thrives in full sun, so select a spot in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.

  2. Prepare the soil: Garlic prefers well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. Dig the soil to a depth of 8-10 inches and remove any weeds, rocks, or debris. Incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-aged manure to improve soil fertility and drainage.

  3. Add mulch: After planting the garlic cloves, apply a layer of organic mulch such as straw or shredded leaves. Mulching helps suppress weed growth and conserves soil moisture.

  4. Watering: Garlic requires consistent moisture, especially during the early growth stages. Water the planted cloves thoroughly after planting and continue to water regularly, providing about 1 inch of water per week. Avoid overwatering, as garlic bulbs can rot if the soil remains excessively wet.

  5. Weed control: Remove any weeds that emerge around the garlic plants. Weeds can compete for nutrients and moisture, potentially affecting the growth and development of the garlic bulbs. Be careful when weeding around the garlic plants to avoid damaging the shallow root system.

  6. Pest protection: Garlic has natural insect-repelling properties, but it can still fall victim to some pests such as aphids, onion flies, and nematodes. To prevent these pests from damaging your garlic, consider using natural pest control methods such as planting companion plants like marigold or planting garlic in raised beds. Additionally, you can spray a mixture of water and garlic or neem oil to deter pests.

By taking these measures, you can create a healthy growing environment for your garlic and ensure its successful growth.

Harvesting Guidelines: When And How To Harvest

Proper timing of harvesting garlic is crucial to obtain high-quality bulbs. Here are some guidelines on when and how to harvest garlic:

  1. Timing: Garlic bulbs are typically ready for harvest when the leaves have turned yellow or brown, usually around late spring or early summer, depending on the variety and planting time. Avoid leaving the bulbs in the ground for too long, as they can split or rot.

  2. Inspect the plants: Before harvesting, examine the garlic plants to ensure that a significant portion of the leaves have changed color. This indicates that the bulbs have matured.

  3. Loosen the soil: Using a garden fork or a shovel, gently loosen the soil around the bulbs. Avoid inserting the tool too close to the bulbs to prevent accidental damage.

  4. Lift the bulbs: Carefully lift the bulbs out of the ground, grasping the foliage near the base. If the soil is dry, gently brush off any loose dirt. Avoid pulling or tugging excessively, as this can damage the bulbs.

  5. Cure the bulbs: After harvesting, it is crucial to cure the garlic bulbs to extend their shelf life and enhance their flavor. To cure the bulbs, hang them in bunches in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from direct sunlight. Allow the bulbs to cure for about two to three weeks, or until the leaves and stem have dried out completely.

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Curing And Storing Garlic Bulbs

Curing the garlic bulbs properly is essential to ensure their longevity and preservation. Follow these steps for effective curing and proper storage:

  1. Prepare the curing area: Choose a well-ventilated area with low humidity and a temperature between 60-70°F (15-21°C). A garage, shed, or covered porch can be suitable for curing garlic.

  2. Bundle the garlic: Take a few harvested garlic plants and tie them together at the base using twine or rubber bands. Make small bunches that allow airflow between the bulbs.

  3. Hang the bundles: Hang the bundles in the curing area, ensuring that none of the bulbs are touching each other. The garlic should be suspended in a way that air can circulate freely, aiding in the curing process.

  4. Monitor the bulbs: Regularly inspect the garlic bulbs during the curing process. Discard any bulbs that show signs of rot, mold, or other indications of damage.

  5. Patience is key: Allow the garlic bulbs to cure for about two to three weeks. During this time, the outer skin will dry and the flavors will develop, resulting in more potent and flavorful garlic.

  6. Store the cured bulbs: Once fully cured, trim the roots and cut back the dried foliage to about an inch above the bulb. Store the garlic bulbs in a cool, dry, and dark place, such as a pantry or cellar. Place them in mesh bags or hang them in netted bags to ensure proper air circulation.

By following these curing and storage steps, you can enjoy your homegrown garlic for several months, with the bulbs retaining their flavor and quality.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Growing garlic, like any other plant, can sometimes present challenges. Here are some common issues that garlic growers might face and how to address them:

  1. Garlic not sprouting: If your garlic cloves don’t sprout, it may be because they were stored at the wrong temperature or were planted too deep. Ensure that the cloves are stored in a cool, dry place before planting, and plant them at a depth of about 2 inches.

  2. Small garlic bulbs: Small garlic bulbs can result from several factors, including overcrowding, nutrient deficiencies, or planting the wrong garlic variety. To prevent overcrowding, space the cloves at least 4-6 inches apart. Ensure that the soil is well-nourished by incorporating organic matter before planting. Select garlic varieties that are known for producing larger bulbs.

  3. Yellowing leaves: Yellowing leaves can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies or overwatering. Test the soil to identify any nutrient imbalances and adjust the fertilization accordingly. Avoid overwatering by ensuring proper drainage and watering only when necessary.

  4. Pests and diseases: Garlic is generally resistant to many pests and diseases. However, some issues such as onion flies, nematodes, and fungal diseases like white rot can still affect garlic plants. Practice crop rotation, maintaining proper sanitation, and using natural pest control methods to minimize these problems.

If you encounter any of these issues, take appropriate measures to address them promptly, ensuring the health and productivity of your garlic plants.


Planting sprouted garlic can be a fantastic way to make the most of garlic bulbs that have started to grow. By carefully controlling weeds, protecting from pests, and providing optimal growing conditions, you can harvest healthy and flavorful garlic bulbs. Additionally, following the guidelines for harvesting, curing, and storing garlic will allow you to enjoy the full benefits of your homegrown garlic for an extended period. So, don’t let sprouted garlic go to waste – plant it and enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own flavorful and aromatic garlic!


What Is The Best Time To Plant Garlic That Has Sprouted?

The ideal time to plant sprouted garlic is in the fall, usually between September and November.

Can I Plant Garlic That Has Already Started Growing Roots?

Yes, garlic that has sprouted roots can still be planted and will grow into a mature bulb.

How Do I Prepare The Soil For Planting Sprouted Garlic?

Garlic grows best in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Add compost or aged manure to the soil before planting to improve its texture and fertility.

How Deep Should I Plant The Sprouted Garlic Cloves?

Plant the cloves about 2 inches deep, with the pointed end upwards. The depth is important to prevent damage and ensure proper growth.

Is It Necessary To Remove The Sprouts Before Planting?

No, the sprouts can be left intact and will continue to grow as the garlic develops. Removing the sprouts can damage the cloves and decrease their chances of successful growth.