How to Grow Garlic in Water

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If you’d like to grow some garlic but don’t have the space for a garden or a large potting container, you can try growing garlic in water. Growing garlic in water is a great way to have fresh garlic available whenever you like, without the hassle and expense of going to the grocery store. Be aware that when you grow garlic in water, you won’t be able to grow entire new cloves. Rather, you’ll be able to grow leaves (also called garlic sprouts) out of the top of a garlic clove. These sprouts have the texture of green onions but with a mild garlicky flavor.


EditPlacing the Garlic in Water

  1. Purchase 1 or more garlic cloves that have begun to sprout. When garlic sprouts, the clove—still covered in its protective white wrapping—will produce a small green sprout out of its top.[1] Inspect a few different cloves until you find some that have sprouted. While you can try growing un-sprouted garlic in water, you’re more likely to be successful if you use cloves that have sprouted.
    Grow Garlic in Water Step 1.jpg
    • You can find suitable garlic cloves at your local grocery store. However, for higher-quality garlic that will produce larger and more flavorful sprouts, visit your local farmer’s market.[2]
  2. Set the sprouted clove in an glass jar. Orient the garlic so that the sprouting end of the clove points upward.[3] It’s best to grow the garlic sprouts in a container made of clear glass, so that you can watch as the garlic puts out roots and begins to grow.
    Grow Garlic in Water Step 2.jpg
    • If you don’t have a glass jar, you can use a drinking glass or a shot glass instead, if that’s more convenient.
  3. Pour water into the jar until the bottom of the garlic clove is covered. You can use lukewarm tap water. Depending on the size of your garlic clove, you’ll need to put about of water into the jar.[4] Avoid using extremely hot water, or you will damage and maybe kill the clove.
    Grow Garlic in Water Step 3.jpg
    • If you completely submerge the garlic under water, it will die and rot.
  4. Leave the jar on your windowsill for 4-7 days. Make sure that the sprouting garlic clove gets plenty of sunlight.[5] If the tops of the growing garlic sprouts start to turn brown or wilt, move the glass out of the sun for 1-2 days.
    Grow Garlic in Water Step 4.jpg
  5. Change the water if it turns murky brown. Brown, clouded water will be unhealthy for the garlic and may stunt the sprouts’ growth. To change the water, take the garlic out of the jar with 1 hand and use your other hand to dump out the water from the jar. Then, place the clove back into the jar and refill it with water. Make sure not to over-fill the jar with water.[6]
    Grow Garlic in Water Step 5.jpg
    • You should only need to change the water 1 or 2 times before the sprouts are ready to harvest.

EditHarvesting the Sprouts

  1. Let the garlic sprouts grow until they’re at least tall. Keep an eye on the garlic as the green sprouts start to emerge from the top of the clove. The thin sprouts will emerge and grow quickly. When the sprouts are between , they’re ready to harvest.[7]
    Grow Garlic in Water Step 6.jpg
    • If you harvest the garlic sprouts prematurely, they’ll be bitter and have an unpleasant taste.
  2. Cut off the top 1/3 of the garlic sprout with a pair of kitchen scissors. So, if your sprout is tall, snip off the top . This will be the tastiest and least bitter part of the garlic sprout.[8]
    Grow Garlic in Water Step 7.jpg
    • In most cases, you’ll only be able to harvest garlic sprouts once. It’s unlikely that the garlic clove will grow new sprouts after the harvest.
    • Only cut off the amount you’re planning to use for a specific meal. If you try to store already-cut garlic in your fridge, it will dry out and lose its taste.
  3. Add the garlic sprouts to savory dishes. Once you’ve harvested the tops of the garlic sprouts, use your scissors to snip them into small pieces. Then, add the sprouts to any savory dish you’d like, including baked potato, soup, or scrambled eggs.[9]
    Grow Garlic in Water Step 8.jpg
    • Also try adding raw cut-up garlic sprouts to salads, salsas, or dips.[10]


  • Growing garlic in water also makes a great assignment for grade-school age kids, as they can see the garlic cloves begin to sprout and grow.
  • The idea that sprouted garlic is bad and should be thrown away is incorrect. In fact, garlic that has sprouted has more antioxidants than garlic that hasn’t yet sprouted.[11]


  • Be careful when using sharp scissors so that you don’t accidentally cut yourself.

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Sprouted garlic cloves
  • glass jar
  • Water
  • Scissors

EditSources and Citations

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