How to Grow Garlic in a Container Indoors

items for planting new garlic indoors

The Spruce / Michele Lee 

If you feel the urge to grow stuff indoors in winter, or you’re an urban gardener with a need for live green things, growing garlic indoors is perfect. It’s also a great project to do with kids. It's incredibly easy, but can take a while, so patience is necessary.

Garlic greens are delicious—you can snip off the shoots as they grow and have a sweet, garlic-y green to add to salads or as a garnish for soups. They are also great on top of potatoes.

Materials Needed

  • A head of garlic: It’s okay if it has already started to sprout, though you want it to be firm and check that there is no rot
  • Potting mix
  • A container: A coffee can or flower pot works just fine
  • A can opener (or a hammer and a large nail) if you are using a can as your container

Preparing Your Container

If you are using a can or another container without drainage, you will need to make holes so the water can get out. You can make several large holes with a can opener, or use a hammer and large nail to punch them. If you are using a ceramic container that doesn't already have drainage holes, you can drill holes with a special ceramic bit.

terracotta pot with drainage hole
The Spruce / Michele Lee

Covering Container Holes

If your drainage holes are large, you will need to cover them. This will keep the soil in and let water out so your plants don't drown. We recommend using plastic window screening cut to fit (more or less) the bottom of the can. You can also cover the bottom with a paper towel or a coffee filter.

covering the drainage hole with a paper towel
The Spruce / Michele Lee

Getting Garlic Ready to Plant

Fill the container with potting soil so the surface is about 2 inches below the rim.

Split your garlic head into cloves by prying it open. You want to keep as much of the skin on as possible, though it’s okay to brush off some of the dry papery stuff.

splitting the garlic head into cloves
The Spruce / Michele Lee

Planting Garlic Right Side Up

Make sure the pointy part of the garlic clove is facing up and the side that was at the bottom of the head faces down.

pointy part of the garlic facing up
The Spruce / Michele Lee

Planting Garlic Indoors

Plant cloves, pointy side up in your container, poking them about halfway down into the soil. You can plant them fairly close together, but make sure they are not touching. Fill the container with more potting soil until the soil totally covers the garlic by about a half-inch, making sure to fill in all the spaces between the cloves. Pat the soil down gently. Water slowly until water comes out of the bottom. Add more soil if you see any garlic cloves poking through the soil.

planting the cloves pointy side up
The Spruce / Michele Lee

Growing Tips

Water your garlic often enough so the soil stays moist, but not wet. In about a week or two you should see garlic shoots coming through the soil. Wait until they get a couple of inches tall before you start snipping them with scissors. Leave about an inch of shoot on each clove so the shoot will continue to grow.