Growing garlic (Allium sativum) indoors may seem like a daunting task, but with the right care and conditions, it is not only possible but also rewarding. While garlic is an easy vegetable to grow, growing it indoors requires some special care. In this article, we will explore how to grow garlic indoors and how to take care of it.

Choosing the Pots

The first step in growing garlic indoors is preparing the container for planting. Choose a container that is about 20 cm wide with at least the same depth. In a pot of this size, one or two bulbs will comfortably fit, but if you want to grow more, choose a pot that allows for at least 10-12 cm between each bulb.

A minimum depth of 20 cm is ideal for the bulbs to have space to form underground without being cramped by the roots. If possible, a depth of 30 cm is even better.

Make sure it has proper drainage holes. Garlic bulbs rot easily if the soil is too wet.

Preparing the Pot for Growing Garlic Indoors

The growing medium you choose is a very important decision as it will be your garlic’s support for the next 9 months. Potting soil bags are ideal for growing garlic as they have a good texture, do not compact, retain water well, and can be easily found in many stores.

Topsoil is not recommended for container gardening as it compacts easily, retains water, and creates an unsuitable growth environment.

You can also use soil from your garden, but make sure to mix it with a generous amount of compost. Since garlic will be in the pot for a long time, adding compost is an investment worth considering.

Choosing the Best Garlic Bulbs

You can buy garlic from a reputable seed company or you can grow it from bulbs you bought at a store or supermarket. Garlic from seed companies has the advantage of being certified seeds. This garlic will likely have better germination and growth. If you purchase from a local nursery, you also have the advantage of buying garlic that adapts well to the specific climate of your area.

Make sure you purchase certified organic bulbs and, if possible, look for bulbs that already have a small green sprout. These will give you less trouble in getting them to grow. If you can’t find them, choose bulbs that appear younger and fresher.

Planting Garlic in Pots

Now that you have your garlic and your pot ready, it is time to plant the garlic.

Expose the garlic to cool temperatures before planting it. This is because garlic grows better when it has been chilled for a few months in a process called vernalization. Without this exposure to cold, most garlic cloves will not develop properly, and you will not get good bulbs.

To simulate vernalization, place the garlic cloves in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks, but up to 2 months is even better.

Note that this is necessary only if the cloves you are planting do not already have green shoots. If they do, you do not need to do this process, you can plant them directly.

Plant Each Clove

You can start growing garlic indoors if the temperature is at least 10 degrees Celsius. At first, remove the easily detachable outer layers from the cloves, but make sure to keep the skin intact as it will protect them as they grow.

Dig a hole about 5 cm deep for each clove you are planting. Place the clove in the hole with the flat side down. Cover it with soil and make sure it remains upright.

Water lightly to moisten the soil, but be careful not to create puddles. We will now discuss the care of indoor garlic.

Taking Care of and Growing Garlic Indoors

Now it is time to grow your garlic and watch it grow. Growing garlic indoors is quite easy, but here are a few things to ensure a healthy plant and a bountiful harvest.

Ensure your garlic has adequate lighting. Garlic needs full sun to grow, or at least 6-8 hours of natural light per day. It is preferable to place the garlic near a bright window to receive as much natural light as possible. However, the light that filters through a window is not as strong, especially if you are growing garlic during winter when the sunlight is weaker. In this case, you will need to provide artificial light for your garlic. There are many affordable special plant lamps available for purchase, or you can make your own lamps with LED daylight or fluorescent bulbs.

Water regularly. The amount and frequency of watering your garlic will depend on several factors such as local climate, amount of sunlight received, and indoor temperature. Remember that the soil in pots dries out much faster than garden soil, so you don’t want the soil to dry out or the garlic to wither and die. But you also don’t want to overwater as it can cause damage. A good rule of thumb is to water the garlic when the top 2.5 cm of soil is dry. Add water only until excess begins to drain from the drainage holes.

Watch out for insects. By growing indoors, you are protected from most pests that can invade your garden. Additionally, the strong smell of garlic discourages most insects and rodents from entering your home. However, garlic is not immune to pests, so if you see signs of infestation, deal with them quickly before they become a problem.

Harvesting Garlic Indoors

After about 9 months of careful cultivation, you are ready to harvest your garlic bulbs. Many people believe that by cutting the leaves, they force all the energy into the roots to grow a larger bulb, but this is not true. By cutting the leaves, you remove the foliage that supports life and deprive the plant of valuable nutrients. The larger and healthier the garlic leaves, the bigger and healthier the bulbs will be. Once the top green portion starts to dry up and die, the bulbs should be ready for harvest. Pull the bulbs and remove any dirt stuck to them. Let them dry in the air and shade, a process known as curing, by placing them on the kitchen counter for 7-10 days or you can hang them in your kitchen for a more decorative look. Once the bulbs are dry, you can store them in a dry, well-ventilated place for about 6 months (if you don’t consume them earlier).


Growing garlic indoors is a lengthy process, but it is worth the effort. It is always a joy to grow your own food, even if it is just a single garlic plant in your kitchen. Each time you grow a new bulb, you can save one or more cloves to replant, and you will have a continuous supply of freshly grown garlic at home.