How to Grow Garlic Indoors? Growing Garlic Bulbs and Scapes in Pots

Don’t have a garden or a yard and want to grow Garlic indoors? This is possible but with a catch.

Often Garlic is grown indoors in pots for harvesting its scapes. Growing Garlic for bulbs is possible but can be a bit challenging as you need to take care of sunlight, soil, etc.

Indoor garlic growing has picked up among apartment-dwelling people. It is a space-saving modification used by many American households. 

These Garlic scapes are edible and can be used as a garnish like spring onion leaves. The good news is they will be ready to harvest in just 2 weeks! Go ahead and grow it in a pot indoors where you can keep a watchful eye on it!

Garlic grown to harvest garlic bulbs is usually done outdoors, although it is possible to grow them indoors as well. It is a long process that will require full sunlight and a time of 8 to 9 months to harvest them. 

Let us first look at how to grow Garlic Scapes indoors.

How to Grow Garlic Scapes Indoors?

Garlic Scapes are the first tender green shoots of garlic that will form the stem from where the flowers will shoot. They are edible and have a mild garlic-like taste. They add a delicate garlic flavor to salads, soups, and sauces.

Material Required for growing Garlic Scapes indoor

  • A small, clear container preferably of glass
  • Unpeeled fresh garlic cloves
  • Water

Steps to grow Garlic scapes indoors are

  1. Place the garlic clove at the bottom of the glass with the basal end (flat root end) pointing downwards.
  2. Add just enough water so as to cover the bottom of the garlic clove.
  3. Keep this container near to sunshine like on windows.
  4. You should see the scapes in a few days. Woo hoo!
  5. Let the scapes grow until they’re a few inches tall, then cut from the top.

Is Garlic a vegetable or herb –

Now let us look at a slightly tricky question of growing garlic bulbs instead of garlic scapes.

Materials Required for growing Garlic indoors

Let us look at the requirements to grow garlic indoors.

Indoor garlic growing requirements are basic and you will have a few of the items at home already. If you do not have any, your local gardening shop should have them. 

  • Potting mix (nutrient-rich premixed soil)
  • Healthy bulb of garlic
  • Flowerpot of appropriate size (not too small)
  • Small garden pick/spade
  • Paper filter

Steps to follow to grow Garlic bulbs indoors

Once you have collected all the materials above, follow the below steps to prepare, plant, grow, and harvest your garlic stems and bulbs. 

Step 1: Select a pot/container 

Garlic should not be water-logged or else the bulb/clove will rot! For this reason, a clay pot with drainage holes is most suitable. Whichever pot or container you select, make sure there is good drainage. 

If you can’t find one, you can also add drainage holes yourself with a drill. Though it is recommended to buy a pot that already has holes pre-made making your work easy. 

Excess water might rot your garlic which is why drainage holes are mandatory. 

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Step 2: Prepare the soil

Garlic has certain nutrient requirements.

These are mostly the usual ones, Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and other micronutrients. If required, these may be added to the potting mix prior to planting. Lack of nutrients can lead to stunted growth or weak growth of an unhealthy garlic plant.

Garlic prefers soil with a pH ranging from 6 to 7. You can easily create this pH by adding a liming agent. 

Also, the soil must be mixed and made to a crumbly texture. This aery texture will facilitate the growth of the garlic bulbs. Make sure the soil is moist and not water-logged. 

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Step 3: Place the paper filter over drainage holes

To avoid the soil from pouring out while watering the garlic, you will need to cover these holes. Do it in such a way that it allows excess water to escape but not the soil. 

Completely covering these holes or using the wrong material will lead to too much water being retained. Porous materials such as paper towels or filter papers make the best option.

Garlic Pot

Add the potting mix after you cover all the holes thoroughly. Fill the container to 2 inches from the container top. 

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Step 4: Selecting Garlic Cloves

As garlic lacks seeds, you will be planting garlic cloves to propagate a new garlic plant. Take a large healthy garlic head that is dry and not discolored. Discoloration and softness are a sign of infection or decay. 

Take the garlic head and apply pressure to separate the individual clove segments. Try to not remove too much of the outer papery white skin.

Avoid splitting the garlic head too long in advance. This could negatively affect their growth and can leave the cloves vulnerable to infections and degradation. 

Step 5: Planting the garlic cloves

The pointed end of the clove will shoot into a stem while the flat end will develop roots. That said, plant the garlic cloves with the basal end (flat root end) pointing downwards.

If the container is large, place a few cloves inside, and make sure there is adequate spacing between each clove. Take some more potting mix and place a final layer that is around ½ an inch thick. 

To remove large air spaces, pat the soil down to settle the soil. Do not push it down hard as this will cause the soil to compact. Now you can give the garlic their first watering, and pour water into the pot until you see it leaking out from the bottom. 

If you notice the garlic has surfaced after watering, add some more potting mix to make sure the garlic is covered. 

Step 6: Caring for your garlic

Now that planting the garlic cloves is over, you need to take care of them till they grow. Garlic has two main requests, moist soil, and sunlight (if you want large garlic bulbs). You should use your judgment and water the garlic just that much so that the soil is moist but not soaked. 

Allow the pot to get good sunlight for long periods of time to stimulate the plant’s growth. The first shoots should appear through the soil after just 7 days. Give the shoots more time to grow to a decent length. 

Once the shoots are tall enough, they can be snipped off and used for edible purposes. Do not cut off the entire shoot. Leave an inch or two to promote the continuous growth of the garlic stems. 

Step 7: Garlic bulb harvesting

To form large garlic heads, the garlic plant will require several months in desirable conditions (sunlight). This is around 8 to 9 months from the time of planting. You might as well forget about them for half the year and then come back to harvest the garlic bulb!

Many people wonder when is the right time to harvest garlic. The answer to this foxing question is quite simple. When the leaves are drying and appear brown, this is usually a sign that the garlic is ready to harvest. Once you notice the leaves turning brown, stop watering the plant. 

Harvest the garlic bulbs by pulling firmly on the shoot portion to dislodge the bulb from the container after loosening the soil. 

Good companion plants for Garlic –

Important Garlic Growing Tips

Growth time depends on what you are growing the garlic for, green stems will arise much faster in a few weeks while garlic bulbs will take months to grow. According to the final product, stems, or bulbs, you will have to provide certain additional requirements.

Tips for growing garlic bulbs

  1. Plant only one or two cloves in a container if you want garlic bulbs.
  2. The container should be placed in a spot that gets the most sunlight throughout the day. Face it outwards to help it receive the best light. 
  3. Water the pot when it is dry. You will know the pot is dry when you stick a finger into the pot and feel the soil.
  4. Garlic bulb growth requires additional nutrients, you will need to supply a fertilizer that is preferably water-soluble. 

Grow Garlic Scapes (Flowering Stems): 

Cultivating garlic indoors just for the stems is easy and has limited requirements, much less than garlic bulb requirements. So much sunlight is not mandatory although good watering routines are a great way to assure the growth of the stems. 

Unlike garlic bulbs, these garlic stems do not require additional fertilizer. This adds to their “low maintenance” tag. 

Slow shooting? Do not worry as all gardeners should expect this with garlic. Slow growth or a lack of its growth could be a sign of some unfavorable conditions.

It could be due to the low quality of garlic cloves. Full sunlight is essential if you want the bulbs to fully develop and attain maximum size. 

When to plant garlic –

How to Store Garlic?

Initially, after harvesting the garlic heads, you should dust off the heads and leave them in a shady place. This is to cure the garlic and dry them, this helps to increase the longevity of the garlic. 

Any garlic bulb showing signs of black, brown, or yellow coloring should be kept separate from the rest. The garlic should be kept away from moisture as this can degrade the quality of the garlic and promote infection and rotting. 


Can you grow garlic indoors year-round?

Yes, you can grow garlic indoors year-round. Although garlic is a fall/ winter crop, it is less sensitive to weather when grown indoors. More importantly, garlic is a perennial crop. This means it is capable of continuously shooting and regrowing for a period of two years. 
That also means that if you pull out your garlic bulbs but forget one, it will shoot and grow into a full garlic plant. 

How long does it take to grow garlic from cloves? 

Growing garlic from cloves is a lengthy but rewarding process. The full garlic growth cycle is one that extends for 6 to 7 months and maybe even 8 to 9 months when considering full harvest time. 
During this time, the stems will be available for harvesting several times throughout these months. You can cut off the scapes if you want to promote bulb growth since scapes take energy and resources for growth.


Growing garlic indoors for garlic scapes is not so hard. You will be able to get a few harvests of these stems. After that, you will be able to harvest the bulbs and store the garlic for later use. Garlic home gardening is fun and even saves money as you will no longer have to purchase garlic!