Garlic clove planting

How to Grow Garlic From a Clove in Water?

Garlic, with its aromatic and savory flavor, is a kitchen essential that elevates the taste of countless dishes. Growing garlic from a single clove in water is not only a fascinating experiment but also a practical way to enjoy fresh garlic from your own home. In this easy-to-follow guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of growing garlic using nothing more than a clove and water. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice, this method allows you to cultivate this flavorful herb effortlessly.

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Gather Your Supplies

Before you embark on your garlic-growing journey, it’s essential to assemble the necessary supplies. Fortunately, you won’t need a vast array of gardening tools for this project. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A single garlic clove (opt for organic if possible)
  • A small glass or jar
  • Clean, fresh water

With these basic items in hand, you’re ready to kickstart your garlic-growing adventure. Let’s delve into the details of each step to ensure your success in growing garlic from a single clove in water.

Select a Healthy Clove

To begin your garlic-growing project successfully, it’s crucial to choose a healthy garlic clove as your starting point. Look for a clove that exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Plump and firm: Select a garlic clove that feels plump and firm to the touch. Avoid cloves that appear shriveled or have soft spots, as these may not sprout as well.
  • Unbroken skin: Inspect the clove’s outer layer. It should have unbroken skin without any tears or damage. A intact skin helps protect the inner cloves and promotes healthy growth.
  • Firm cloves: Check that the individual cloves within the garlic bulb are firm and well-formed. Avoid cloves with visible mold or discoloration.
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Choosing a healthy garlic clove sets the stage for successful growth and ensures that you’re starting with the best possible foundation.

Preparing the Clove

Once you’ve selected a suitable garlic clove, the next step is to prepare it for planting. Follow these simple steps:

  • Gently remove loose layers: Garlic bulbs are encased in papery layers. Carefully remove any loose, papery layers from the outside of the clove. You don’t need to peel the clove entirely; just remove the loose outermost layers.
  • Leave the skin on individual cloves: Each garlic bulb consists of several cloves. When planting garlic in water, you’ll plant the entire clove, including the skin. There’s no need to separate the individual cloves at this stage.

With your garlic clove prepared, you’re ready to move on to the next steps of growing garlic in water. These simple preparations pave the way for successful germination and growth.

Place the Clove in Water

Now that you have your prepared garlic clove, it’s time to give it a watery home. Follow these steps:

  • Fill a small glass or jar with enough water to submerge the bottom of the garlic clove. The water level should be just high enough to touch the base of the clove without covering it entirely.
  • Carefully place the garlic clove in the glass or jar with the pointed end facing upward. The base of the clove, where the roots will grow, should be in contact with the water.
  • Ensure that the garlic clove is stable in the water, so it doesn’t tip over or become fully submerged. A stable position will allow the clove to absorb water properly.
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By placing the garlic clove in water, you create the ideal environment for it to sprout and develop into a garlic plant.

Find a Sunny Spot

Garlic loves sunlight, and providing adequate light is crucial for its growth. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Place the glass or jar containing the garlic clove in a sunny location. A windowsill that receives plenty of sunlight is an excellent choice.
  • Ensure that the garlic clove is exposed to natural light for a significant portion of the day. Sunlight provides the energy needed for the clove to sprout and grow.
  • Regularly check the garlic clove to ensure it receives ample sunlight. Rotate the container if necessary to ensure even exposure to sunlight on all sides.

Finding a sunny spot for your garlic clove is essential for successful growth. With proper light, your garlic will begin to sprout and develop into a healthy plant.

Change the Water

Maintaining clean and fresh water for your growing garlic clove is essential to its development. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Every few days, change the water in the glass or jar to ensure it stays clean and oxygenated. This step helps prevent the water from becoming stagnant, which can inhibit garlic growth.
  • When changing the water, be gentle with the garlic clove to avoid damaging the emerging roots or shoots.
  • Use room temperature or lukewarm water when refilling the container. Cold water can shock the plant.

By changing the water regularly, you provide your growing garlic clove with the optimal conditions it needs to thrive.

Watch for Shoots

As days pass, your garlic clove will undergo a transformation. Here’s what to look for:

  • After about a week or so, you should start to see green shoots emerging from the top of the garlic clove. These shoots will eventually develop into garlic leaves.
  • Keep a close eye on the growth progress. The shoots will continue to elongate and develop over time.
  • The appearance of shoots is a promising sign that your garlic clove is germinating successfully.

Watching for shoots is an exciting phase of your garlic-growing project. It marks the beginning of your garlic’s journey from a clove to a full-grown plant.

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Transplant to Soil (Optional)

If you wish to continue growing your garlic into a mature plant, you can transplant it into soil. Here’s how to do it:

  • Select a well-draining pot or a suitable spot in your garden for transplanting.
  • Prepare the soil by adding organic matter or compost to enrich it and improve drainage.
  • Plant the sprouted garlic clove in the soil, leaving the green shoots above the surface.
  • Water the newly transplanted garlic gently but thoroughly.
  • Provide your garlic with plenty of sunlight, ideally at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
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Transplanting your garlic allows it to grow into a mature plant, and you can enjoy a full garlic bulb at harvest time.

Continue Care

Whether you’ve chosen to keep your garlic in water or transplanted it into soil, ongoing care is essential. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Water your garlic as needed to keep the soil or water consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Continue to provide adequate sunlight. If your garlic is indoors, ensure it gets enough natural light or use grow lights.
  • Regularly monitor the health of your garlic, watching for signs of stress, pests, or disease.
  • As your garlic grows, it may benefit from occasional fertilization with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer.

With continued care, your garlic will continue to flourish, and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the satisfaction of homegrown garlic. Whether you decide to grow it in water or transplant it into soil, your efforts will yield flavorful garlic for your culinary creations.

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Harvest Your Garlic

After patiently nurturing your garlic, it will be time to harvest the flavorful rewards. Here’s how to do it:

  • Garlic is typically ready for harvest when the green leaves, also known as garlic scapes, have turned brown and dried out. This process usually takes several months.
  • Carefully dig up the garlic bulb, taking care not to damage it. Use a garden spade or fork to loosen the soil around the bulb, and then gently lift it from the ground.
  • Shake off excess soil and remove any loose, papery layers from the bulb.
  • To preserve your garlic, allow it to dry further in a well-ventilated area. Hanging the garlic in a cool, dry place for a few weeks is a common method.


Growing garlic from a single clove in water is a satisfying and educational experience that brings the flavors of your garden straight to your kitchen. With patience, sunlight, and a bit of care, you can nurture a single clove into a thriving garlic plant, ready to enhance your culinary creations with its aromatic and savory taste. Whether you choose to grow your garlic in water as an engaging experiment or transplant it into soil for a full bulb harvest, the joy of homegrown garlic awaits you.

About the author

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson is a passionate gardener with over a decade of experience in horticulture and sustainable gardening practices. With a degree in Horticulture, she has a deep understanding of plants, garden design, and eco-friendly gardening techniques. Victoria aims to inspire and educate gardeners of all skill levels through her engaging articles, offering practical advice drawn from her own experiences. She believes in creating beautiful, biodiverse gardens that support local wildlife. When not writing or gardening, Victoria enjoys exploring new gardens and connecting with the gardening community. Her enthusiasm for gardening is infectious, making her a cherished source of knowledge and inspiration.

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