How to Grow Garlic from a Clove – Step-by-Step Guide

In this article, we explain why you can’t grow just any garlic clove, and not in just any position, as long as you want to get a good garlic crop.

If you have one or several cloves of garlic, and you want to grow them to have your own harvest or simply to experiment with the crop, you must follow a series of steps that we tell you in this article to learn how to grow garlic from a clove.

Any Garlic Clove Will Do

All healthy garlic cloves are capable of sprouting, but not all give good harvests.

If you want the garlic plant to be vigorous and very productive, you should select to plant only the garlic cloves located on the outside of the head, the largest ones. The inner ones are best used for cooking because, although they will also sprout, they will give rise to weak plants that will form small bulbs.

When to Grow Garlic from a Clove?

When to grow garlic from a clove? The growing season and how long it takes to grow a garlic clove depend on the climate. If you live in cold areas, you should plant garlic at the end of winter, otherwise, the garlic may freeze. If you live in a more temperate zone, you can plant it from the beginning of winter until it is close to the end. For example, garlic cultivation in the Northern Hemisphere can be done from November to January.

Thus, garlic harvesting in the Northern Hemisphere begins in April or May and lasts until early August, depending on the weather and when it was planted. Its growth lasts about 3-5 months. Garlic is a rather rustic plant, which adapts well to different climates and tolerates the cold of winter well, but it would not withstand a dry and hot August. Therefore, it is usually best to plant it in November.

when to grow garlic from a clove
When to Grow Garlic from a Clove? Depending on which hemisphere you live in (North or South) the time to plant garlic will be different. Grow garlic from cloves in Australia between the months of April and July.

How to Grow Garlic from a Clove Step by Step

You should grow garlic from a clove either in the ground, in the soil of a vegetable garden, or in a pot with a capacity of 0.8 to 1 Gallon (3 to 4 liters). You could plant them in a smaller one but, surely, the plant would not develop optimally.

The substrate or soil must have a good balance of nutrients, but they don’t need to be very fertile. Garlic is undemanding in this aspect, it develops well with the nutrients that remain in the soil after harvesting other crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, etc. The loose, slightly gritty texture promotes drainage and also promotes the growth of the garlic clove.

Wood ash is a very interesting amendment to add to the soil in which we will grow garlic from a clove. It is very good for them, but we should not overdo it with the quantity, especially if the soil is already very alkaline. To ensure the pH of the soil, we must measure it correctly.

grow garlic from a clove
Always remember to place the garlic cloves in the correct position as we mentioned in the paragraph and can be seen in the image.

A handful of wood ash, well mixed with the substrate, for a pot of 1 Gallon (4 liters) is enough. In the garden, we sprinkle it on top of the soil and then stir to mix well.

The garlic clove should grow with the pointed area upwards, which is the place where the sprout of the plant will come out. The garlic clove will be born the same if it is planted in another position, but the turn that it will have to give to rise to the surface, will make the future “stem” of the plant present a very unaesthetic curve, and also this simple fact has an important influence on the development of the plant.

A garlic clove can be planted at a depth of about 1.2″ to 1.6″ (3 or 4 cm) to ensure that it will have enough moisture when it emerges. It can also be planted at a shallower depth, but make sure that the soil remains moist (not waterlogged) in that area all the time until the plant is about 6″ to 8″ (15 to 20 cm) deep. If the garlic clove is already sprouted, it is better to bury it very little, so that the green sprout remains in the light.

If more than one garlic clove is to be planted, they should be spaced at least 4″ (10 cm) apart, so that the future plants have enough space and adequate ventilation and light. It can be planted at any time of the year and in any place.

It should be placed in a sunny spot as much as possible and, in the case of the orchard, on ridges if the soil tends to become waterlogged with rain or irrigation.

Once these steps have been completed, the only thing left to do is to wait for it to sprout. You have to be patient, it can take quite some time to sprout from the ground.

garlic clove sprouted
How to Grow Garlic from a Clove. Garlic sprout growing.
Video about how to grow garlic from a clove.

How to Grow Garlic from Cloves in Australia

As we commented in the previous paragraph, to grow garlic from cloves, you have to see the time of year. For example, to grow a clove of garlic in Australia, we must plant it in the months of April and July.
In the same way, to grow a clove of garlic in New Zealand, we must also plant it in the months of April and July.

How Much Garlic Needs to be Watered

Since it is planted in winter, garlic does not usually need watering, since it is a cold season in which humidity is well maintained, and it usually rains abundantly. However, in very dry winters or springs, it is advisable to water them a little, depending on the severity of the drought. It is good to moisten the soil, but never water too much, as the bulb could rot.

Otherwise, there is not much more to care for garlic. This plant usually has few problems with pests or diseases, although some larvae can invade the bulb. To avoid these problems as much as possible, the ideal is to do preventive treatments from mid to late April, which is when mild temperatures and high humidity begin.

garlic plant in the crop
How to Grow Garlic from a Clove.

When Harvest Garlic

When harvest garlic? Garlic is pulled off when the leaves of the plant have withered. They are left to dry in the sun for a few days and then braided. The braid is hung in a dry and airy place, this will help preservation.

It is important for the conservation of the garlic heads to keep them in a dry place with good ventilation. Garlic heads can be stored for about a year, depending on growing and storage conditions. Loose teeth and damaged heads don’t last long.

garlic harvest in a crop
Garlic Harvest in a Crop.
when harvest garlic
When Harvest Garlic?
About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgans, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.