How To Plant Sprouting Garlic [ Full Guide ]

Garlic is a versatile and flavorsome ingredient that is not only a staple in many cuisines but also a rewarding plant to grow in your own garden. Planting sprouting garlic cloves is an excellent way to propagate this herb, and it’s a relatively simple process that can yield a bountiful harvest. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the steps involved in planting sprouting garlic, from selecting the right cloves to preparing the soil and creating the ideal planting environment.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Sprouting Garlic

If you’re looking for a concise overview of the planting process, here are the basic steps to planting sprouting garlic:

  1. Selecting the Right Garlic Cloves: Choose healthy, organic garlic cloves with visible sprouts for planting.
  2. Preparing the Soil: Ensure the soil is well-drained, fertile, and enriched with organic matter.
  3. Creating the Ideal Planting Environment: Provide adequate sunlight, water, and space for the growing garlic.
  4. Choosing the Best Time for Planting: In most regions, fall is the ideal time for planting sprouting garlic.

Now, let’s delve into the detailed steps for each of these aspects to ensure a successful garlic planting venture.

Selecting The Right Garlic Cloves For Planting

Selecting high-quality garlic cloves is the first crucial step in the planting process. Here’s what you need to consider:

Freshness And Health

When selecting garlic cloves for planting, it’s essential to choose fresh, healthy cloves. Look for firm, plump cloves with no signs of rot or damage. Avoid using cloves that feel soft or show any mold growth.


Ideally, you’ll want to choose garlic cloves that have already begun to sprout. While it’s possible to plant cloves without sprouts, those with visible green shoots are indicative of the clove’s vitality and readiness for planting. These sprouts are the beginnings of the garlic plant and will develop into the green shoots above the ground.

Organic Garlic

Opt for organic garlic whenever possible. Organic cloves are free from synthetic chemicals and have a higher likelihood of successful growth. If buying garlic specifically for planting, seek out organic bulbs from a reputable seed supplier, nursery, or farmer’s market.

Size And Varieties

Select large, healthy cloves, as they tend to produce bigger and healthier bulbs. Additionally, choose garlic varieties that are well-suited to your specific climate and growing conditions. Softneck and hardneck garlic are the two main types, each with its own unique qualities.

By carefully choosing the garlic cloves for planting, you can ensure a strong start to the growing process and increase the likelihood of a successful harvest.

Preparing The Soil For Planting

Garlic thrives in well-draining, fertile soil that is loose and rich in organic matter. Here’s how to prepare the soil for planting sprouting garlic:

Soil Type

Garlic prefers loamy soil with good drainage. If your soil is heavy with clay, consider incorporating organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve its texture and drainage. Sandy soil can benefit from the addition of organic matter to enhance its water retention capacity.

Ph Level

Garlic grows best in slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. Before planting, it’s advisable to test the soil pH using a simple soil testing kit, which can be purchased from garden centers or online. If the pH is below the optimal range, you can raise it by incorporating lime into the soil.

Organic Matter

Incorporating organic matter into the soil is crucial for providing essential nutrients and improving its structure. Compost, well-rotted manure, or leaf mold can be worked into the soil to enhance its fertility and texture. This amendment also helps in retaining moisture and promoting healthy microbial activity in the soil.

Raised Beds

If your soil tends to be heavy or poorly draining, consider planting garlic in raised beds. Raised beds provide better drainage and allow for easier soil amendment and management. They can also help to warm the soil more quickly in the spring, promoting early growth.

Creating The Ideal Planting Environment

Garlic, like most plants, has specific environmental requirements for optimal growth and development. Here’s how to create the ideal planting environment for sprouting garlic:


Select a planting location that receives full sunlight. Garlic requires at least six hours of direct sunlight each day for healthy growth and bulb development. Choose a spot that is not shaded by tall trees or structures.


Garlic prefers consistent soil moisture, but it’s essential to avoid overwatering, which can lead to rot and disease. During the growing season, aim to keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged. Avoid overhead watering, as excess moisture on the foliage can contribute to fungal diseases.


Plant garlic cloves with enough space to allow for proper bulb development. Space individual cloves 4-6 inches apart within rows, with rows spaced 12-18 inches apart. This spacing allows for good air circulation, which can help prevent disease and encourage strong, healthy growth.


Applying a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or chopped leaves, can help conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Mulch also helps to prevent soil erosion and protects the developing garlic bulbs from direct contact with the soil, reducing the risk of rot or staining.


Garlic grows best in cooler temperatures, making it ideally suited for fall planting in many regions. The cold period triggers the cloves to divide and form bulbs. However, if you live in a warmer climate, you can still grow garlic by planting in late winter or early spring, ensuring that the plant receives sufficient chill hours for bulb formation.

Choosing The Best Time For Planting

The timing of planting sprouting garlic is critical for a successful harvest. While garlic can be planted in both fall and spring, fall planting is typically preferred in many regions. Here’s what you need to consider when choosing the best time for planting:

Fall Planting

Fall planting allows the garlic cloves to establish roots before winter sets in. It also gives the sprouting cloves sufficient time to develop strong root systems and green shoots. Planting in fall also takes advantage of the chilling period required for bulb formation. If planting in fall, aim to do so several weeks before the ground freezes.

Spring Planting

In regions with milder winters or frost-free climates, spring planting is an option. However, planting in spring may result in smaller bulbs compared to fall-planted garlic. The cloves will need to be exposed to cooler temperatures for a certain period to trigger bulb formation, so it’s essential to ensure they receive the necessary chill hours before warm weather sets in.

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Regional Variations

The best time for planting garlic can vary depending on your specific climate and growing zone. Be sure to research the optimal planting dates for your region, taking into account the average first frost date in the fall and the potential onset of warmer temperatures in the spring.

By considering these factors and timing your planting appropriately, you can optimize the growing conditions for sprouting garlic and maximize your chances of a successful harvest.

Planting sprouting garlic can be a rewarding and straightforward endeavor for gardeners of all levels. From selecting high-quality cloves to preparing the soil and creating a suitable environment, each step is essential for ensuring the best possible conditions for garlic growth. By paying attention to the details and providing the ideal growing environment, you can look forward to a bountiful harvest of flavorful, homegrown garlic. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice enthusiast, planting sprouting garlic is a satisfying and enjoyable way to connect with the natural world and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Planting Sprouting Garlic Outdoors

Garlic is a versatile and flavorful herb that is widely used in cooking. Not only does it add a delicious taste to dishes, but it also offers numerous health benefits. While you can easily purchase garlic bulbs from the grocery store, it is also possible to grow your own garlic at home. One method of starting your garlic growing journey is by planting sprouting garlic.

Planting sprouting garlic outdoors is a straightforward process that requires a few key steps to ensure successful growth. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to plant sprouting garlic outdoors:

  1. Prepare the soil: Garlic thrives in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Begin by loosening the soil with a garden fork or tiller to a depth of about 8 inches (20 cm). Remove any weeds or rocks from the area. Adding compost or aged manure can help improve the soil’s fertility, but it is not necessary if the soil is already fertile.

  2. Break the garlic bulb into individual cloves: Separate the sprouting garlic bulb into individual cloves. Be careful not to damage the cloves during this process, as they are fragile.

  3. Choose the best cloves: Select the healthiest and largest cloves for planting. Avoid using any cloves that show signs of rot or disease.

  4. Create furrows: Using a garden trowel or your finger, create furrows in the soil that are about 2 inches (5 cm) deep. Space each furrow approximately 6 inches (15 cm) apart to allow enough room for the garlic bulbs to grow.

  5. Plant the cloves: Place each individual garlic clove in the furrow with the pointed end facing up and the flat side down. Make sure the cloves are spaced about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart to provide enough space for them to grow.

  6. Cover with soil: Gently cover the cloves with soil, making sure they are completely buried and there are no exposed cloves. Firmly press down on the soil to remove any air pockets.

  7. Mulch the area: Apply a layer of mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, to the planted area. Mulching helps retain moisture in the soil, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature.

  8. Water the planted area: Give the newly planted cloves a thorough watering to ensure that the soil is moist. Avoid overwatering as it can lead to rot. During the growing season, monitor the soil moisture and water as needed, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged.

Planting Sprouting Garlic In Containers

If you have limited outdoor space or prefer the convenience of container gardening, planting sprouting garlic in containers is a great alternative. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to plant sprouting garlic in containers:

  1. Choose the right container: Select a container that is at least 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) deep and has good drainage holes. A wide container will allow you to plant multiple cloves.

  2. Prepare the potting mix: Fill the container with a well-draining potting mix. A mixture of potting soil, compost, and perlite or vermiculite works well for garlic.

  3. Break the garlic bulb into individual cloves: Separate the sprouting garlic bulb into individual cloves, ensuring that each clove has a sprout. As with planting outdoors, select the healthiest and largest cloves for planting.

  4. Plant the cloves: Make holes in the potting mix that are about 2 inches (5 cm) deep, spacing them 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart. Place one garlic clove in each hole with the sprout facing up and the flat side down. Gently cover the cloves with potting mix, ensuring that they are completely buried.

  5. Water the container: After planting the cloves, water the container thoroughly until the excess water drains out from the bottom. This ensures that the potting mix is evenly moist.

  6. Provide the right conditions: Place the container in a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Garlic requires full sun to grow and develop properly.

  7. Monitor soil moisture: Check the moisture level of the potting mix regularly, and water whenever it feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.

  8. Fertilize occasionally: Garlic plants benefit from a balanced fertilizer application during the growing season. Apply a slow-release organic fertilizer according to the package instructions or use a liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength every two to three weeks.

Caring For Sprouting Garlic During The Growing Season

Once you have planted sprouting garlic, it is important to provide the appropriate care throughout the growing season to ensure healthy growth and optimal bulb development. Here are some essential tips to follow:

  1. Regularly remove weeds: Keep the area around your garlic plants free from weeds. Weeds compete with garlic for nutrients, water, and sunlight, which can negatively impact its growth. Regularly remove any weeds that appear near your plants, being careful not to disturb the garlic cloves.

  2. Monitor pests and diseases: Garlic is generally a low-maintenance plant and is not highly susceptible to pests and diseases. However, it can be affected by common pests such as aphids, thrips, and onion maggots. Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of pests or diseases, and take appropriate measures to control them if necessary. Organic insecticidal soap or neem oil can be used to combat pests.

  3. Harvest scapes: Garlic scapes are the curly shoots that emerge from the garlic plant. Harvesting these scapes can help redirect the plant’s energy towards bulb development. Once the scapes have formed a loop, use a clean pair of scissors to cut them off about an inch above the leaves. Scapes can be used in cooking and have a mild garlic flavor.

  4. Monitor bulb development: As the garlic plants grow, monitor the development of the bulbs. Garlic is typically harvested when the lower leaves start to yellow and dry out, usually around mid-summer to early fall. It is essential to wait until the outer wrapper of the bulb has fully formed and is intact. This indicates that the garlic is ready to be harvested.

  5. Avoid overwatering: Garlic prefers soil that is moist but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to rotting and disease. To determine if your garlic plants need water, check the moisture level of the soil by sticking your finger about an inch into the ground. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.

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Watering And Fertilizing Sprouting Garlic

Proper watering and fertilization are crucial for the healthy growth of sprouting garlic. Here are some guidelines on watering and fertilizing your garlic plants:

  1. Watering: Garlic requires consistently moist soil. During the growing season, water the plants regularly, aiming to keep the soil evenly moist. However, be cautious about overwatering, as it can cause the bulbs to rot. The frequency of watering will depend on the weather and soil conditions, so always check the moisture level before watering.

  2. Fertilizing: Garlic benefits from a balanced fertilizer application during its growing period. Before planting, you can work compost or aged manure into the soil to improve its fertility. Once the garlic has sprouted and started growing, you can use a granular organic fertilizer according to the package instructions. Alternatively, you can use a liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength every two to three weeks. Avoid excessive fertilization, as it can lead to excessive leaf growth with small bulbs.

  3. Mulching: Mulching is beneficial for garlic plants as it helps retain soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Apply a layer of mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the base of the plants, taking care not to cover the emerging sprouts. This will help keep the soil cool and moist, reducing the need for frequent watering.

Planting sprouting garlic is a rewarding and relatively simple process that can be done both outdoors and in containers. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully plant sprouting garlic and enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh, homegrown garlic. Remember to provide proper care throughout the growing season, including regular watering, fertilizing, and monitoring for pests and diseases. With a little patience and effort, you can enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own garlic and taking your culinary creations to a whole new level.

Managing Pests And Diseases

Planting sprouting garlic is a wonderful way to ensure a bountiful harvest of this versatile and flavorful bulb. Garlic is not only a staple in many culinary dishes, but it also has numerous health benefits. The process of planting sprouting garlic is relatively simple, and with a little care and attention, you can enjoy a successful garlic harvest right in your own backyard.

Like many garden crops, garlic is susceptible to pests and diseases. However, with proper management and care, you can minimize the risks and ensure a healthy garlic crop. Here are some tips to help you manage pests and diseases when planting sprouting garlic.

1. Choosing Healthy Garlic Bulbs

When selecting bulbs to sprout and plant, it is crucial to choose healthy ones. Look for bulbs with intact outer skin and no signs of mold or damage. Healthy bulbs are less likely to have existing diseases or pests that can harm your crop.

2. Preparing The Soil

Before planting, it is important to prepare the soil properly. Garlic prefers well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Remove any weeds or debris from the planting area and loosen the soil to a depth of about 8 to 10 inches. Adding compost or well-rotted manure will improve the soil’s fertility and drainage.

3. Planting Depth And Spacing

Garlic cloves should be planted with the pointed end up and the flat basal plate down. The recommended planting depth is typically around 2 inches. Space the cloves about 6 to 8 inches apart to allow for proper air circulation and minimize the risk of disease spread.

4. Watering

Garlic requires regular watering, especially during the growing season. Adequate moisture is essential for the bulbs to develop properly. Water deeply but infrequently to encourage deep root growth. Irrigate the soil whenever the top few inches begin to dry out. Avoid overwatering, as excessively wet soil can lead to rot and other diseases.

5. Mulching

To suppress weed growth, conserve moisture, and regulate soil temperature, consider using mulch around your garlic plants. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the base of the plants, after they have emerged from the soil. Mulch also helps to reduce some soil-borne diseases.

6. Fungal Diseases

Garlic is susceptible to several fungal diseases, including white rot, rust, and botrytis rot. To prevent fungal infections, avoid overhead watering, as it can promote moisture on the foliage. Instead, water at the base of the plants. Crop rotation is also essential to prevent the buildup of soil-borne diseases. Do not plant garlic in the same spot for consecutive years. Additionally, removing and destroying any diseased plants immediately can help prevent the spread of diseases to healthy plants.

7. Common Pests

Garlic might attract a few pests, such as aphids, onion maggots, and thrips. Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of pest infestation, such as distorted leaves, yellowing, or wilting. If you detect pests, consider using organic pest control methods like neem oil or introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs to prey on aphids. You can also use row covers to physically exclude pests like onion maggots.

8. Harvesting Sprouting Garlic

Knowing when to harvest your garlic is important to ensure optimal flavor and storage longevity. The timing of harvest varies depending on the garlic variety and climate. However, there are a few general indications that can help guide you:

  • The foliage turns yellow or begins to dry out.
  • Approximately 70-80% of the foliage has yellowed.
  • The bulbs have formed several fully developed cloves.

Harvesting Sprouting Garlic

Harvesting sprouting garlic is a gratifying moment for any gardener. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can ensure a successful harvest of flavorful garlic bulbs.

1. Timing The Harvest

The timing of harvest is crucial to ensure well-developed bulbs and long shelf life. Most garlic varieties are ready to harvest when approximately 70-80% of the foliage has yellowed or dies back naturally. It is important to avoid leaving the bulbs in the ground too long, as this can result in the cloves separating and decreasing their shelf life.

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2. Loosening The Soil

Before you start harvesting, gently loosen the soil around the bulbs using a garden fork or trowel. Be careful not to damage the bulbs, as they are still fragile at this stage. Loosening the soil will make it easier to lift the bulbs without breaking them.

3. Lifting The Bulbs

Grasp the foliage near the base of the plant and gently pull the bulbs out of the ground. Hold the foliage, rather than the bulb, to minimize the risk of bruising or damaging the bulbs. If the bulbs are resistant to being lifted, you can use a garden fork to loosen the soil further and facilitate their removal.

4. Curing

After lifting the bulbs, it is important to cure them before storage. Curing allows the garlic bulbs to dry out and develop their characteristic flavor and shelf life. To cure the bulbs, lay them in a single layer in a cool, well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Avoid washing or cleaning the bulbs at this stage, as moisture can impede the curing process.

5. Storing And Using Harvested Garlic

Once the garlic bulbs have been properly cured, you can store them for future use. There are several storage methods you can choose from depending on your preferences and the available space.

A. Braiding Or Hanging

One traditional method of storing garlic is by braiding or hanging the bulbs. To do this, tie the dried foliage together with twine, leaving a long "tail" at the end. Braid the foliage with the tails, incorporating the bulbs and tying them in place. Hang the braided garlic in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. This method not only saves space but also provides easy access to the bulbs.

B. Mesh Bags Or Baskets

Another option is to store garlic bulbs in mesh bags or baskets. This method allows for good air circulation and is ideal if you have a large harvest. Place the garlic bulbs in a mesh bag or basket, ensuring that they are not packed too tightly. Store the bags or baskets in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area. Check the bulbs periodically for any signs of spoilage and remove any that are affected.

C. Refrigeration

If you live in a warmer climate or have limited storage space, you can opt to store your garlic in the refrigerator. Place the cured garlic bulbs in a breathable container, such as a mesh bag or paper bag, and store them in the crisper drawer. Make sure to separate garlic from other produce, as it can impart a strong odor and taste.

6. Troubleshooting Common Issues With Sprouting Garlic Planting

Despite your best efforts, you may still encounter some issues when planting sprouting garlic. Here are a few common problems and their solutions:

A. Poor Bulb Development

If your garlic bulbs are not developing to their full potential, it could be due to inadequate soil fertility. Garlic prefers nutrient-rich soil, so consider amending your soil with well-rotted manure or compost before planting. Ensure that the bulbs receive adequate sunlight, as insufficient light can also impede their growth.

B. Yellowing Foliage

Yellowing foliage can indicate overwatering, underwatering, or disease issues. Check the moisture levels in the soil and adjust your watering accordingly. Additionally, inspect the plants for signs of fungal infections or pest damage. If necessary, treat with organic fungal sprays or pest control methods.

C. Pest Infestations

If you notice pests, such as aphids or thrips, on your garlic plants, consider using organic pest control methods. Neem oil, insecticidal soap, or introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs can help keep pests at bay. Applying row covers during the early stage of growth can also prevent certain pests, like onion maggots, from reaching the plants.

D. Disease Outbreaks

To prevent or manage diseases, ensure proper plant spacing and avoid overhead watering. Practice crop rotation, meaning avoid planting garlic in the same area consecutively. If you detect any signs of disease, such as fungal infections, immediately remove and destroy the affected plants to prevent further spread to healthy ones. Consider using organic fungicides if necessary.


Planting sprouting garlic can be a rewarding endeavor that provides you with a fresh supply of this versatile and flavorful bulb. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this article, you can effectively manage pests and diseases, harvest at the optimal time, and store your garlic bulbs for long-term use. Remember to choose healthy bulbs, prepare the soil properly, manage water and pests, and practice proper curing and storage techniques. With a little patience and care, you’ll soon be enjoying the fruits of your labor in the form of delicious, homegrown garlic.


What Is Sprouting Garlic?

Sprouting garlic refers to garlic cloves that have started to produce small green shoots. This indicates that the garlic is beginning to sprout and can be planted to grow into a full bulb.

When Is The Best Time To Plant Sprouting Garlic?

The best time to plant sprouting garlic is in the fall, when the weather starts to cool down and the ground is still warm enough for the cloves to establish roots before winter.

How Do I Prepare The Soil For Planting Sprouting Garlic?

Before planting, make sure the soil is well-drained and has a pH level of 6.0-7.0. You can also add compost or well-rotted manure to provide necessary nutrients for the growing garlic.

How Do I Plant Sprouting Garlic?

Break apart the bulbs into individual cloves, making sure to keep the papery skin intact. Plant each clove 2-3 inches deep, with the root side down and the pointed end facing up. Space the cloves about 4-6 inches apart.

How Often Should I Water My Sprouting Garlic?

Water the planted garlic deeply once a week, making sure the soil remains consistently moist. However, be careful not to overwater as it can cause the cloves to rot. Reduce watering in the last few weeks before harvesting.