Growing garlic from cloves? You need this tip from Gardener Scott for success

Wondering how easy growing garlic from cloves actually is? Gardener Scott has this tip for guaranteed success growing this crop

Sowing three garlic cloves into a container with a dibber in autumn
(Image credit: Alamy)

If you'd like to try growing garlic from cloves, you need this top tip from Colorado-based master gardener Gardener Scott. Learning how to grow garlic is similar to learning how to grow many other crops – it needs sun, good soil, and regular watering. Having said that, growing garlic isn't like growing a tomato, say, because you're growing from the clove not seed. And the key to success here is paying attention to the quality of the cloves you'll be using.  

In a video dedicated to growing garlic, Gardener Scott gives this one very important tip for having success with this crop: if you're planting up a variety where the cloves in the bulb vary in size 'depending on where they are in bulb', 'try to focus on bigger cloves for planting' and save the smaller cloves 'to actually use in the kitchen.' The bigger cloves will grow into 'a much bigger and better bulb next year.' 

It seems obvious, but just planting all the cloves regardless of their size and quality won't give you a good yield of garlic. 

how to grow garlic

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Moreover, Scott cautions against using cloves that are damaged 'or look like they're starting to rot or have dried out', 'don't even attempt to plant these cloves – they're best just to throw in the compost pile.' 

And if you come across a garlic clove that looks fuzzy, as if it's covered in 'spiderweb-looking filaments', discard it completely and don't even put it on your compost, as it's likely to introduce pests into your compost. You can learn how to compost in our easy guide. 

garlic grown in raised beds

(Image credit: Beth Murton/Future)

Finally, once you've chosen the best, plumpest garlic cloves to plant, don't forget to plant them the correct side up – that is, pointy side up, flat side down. 'The garlic will begin to put down roots pretty quick after planting', and will grow even better if you mulch your raised garden bed ideas with straw, to keep moisture in and keep the cold out during the winter. 

Anna writes about interior design and gardening. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, and many other publications. She is an experienced outdoor and indoor gardener and has a passion for growing roses and Japanese maples in her outside space.