How to Grow Garlic Scapes Indoors


grow garlic scapes in a shot glass - on your windowsill!

I have a brown thumb. Both figuratively and well, literally (I’m Indian, so my thumb is brown…). The point is, I’m terrible at growing things. I’ve killed nearly every house plant I’ve ever had and last year, when I bought some herb plants for my kitchen, they died within the week. There are very few things that I’ve been able to grow… and garlic shoots aka garlic scapes happen to be one of them. Today, I’m going to tell you how to grow garlic scapes indoors – in a shot glass.

What’s a garlic scape? It’s the stalk of a garlic plant. They look like skinny scallions (green onions) but they taste like garlic – only milder.

[Update: Since I first shared this post in 2014, many of you have told me that these are actually garlic leaves and not garlic scapes. Sorry for the confusion – as I mentioned above I have a brown thumb and was mistaken about this. I was just so excited to see something growing in my kitchen window that I had to share 😂 I hope you still enjoy this post!]

While there are a ton of resources that’ll teach you how to grow your own garlic – if you’re a newbie wannabe grower like me and you don’t have a garden (or even a deck… sigh) and want something fresh and green growing in your kitchen, then this post is for you.

grow garlic scapes in a shot glass - on your windowsill!

All you need:

  • A small, clear container (I used tiny plastic shot glasses so that my glass shot glasses wouldn’t smell like garlic… coconut rum + garlic = gross)
  • Unpeeled garlic cloves (make sure the garlic is from your local farmer’s market)
  • Water

Add a bit of water at the bottom of your shot glass or small container – just enough to cover the bottom of your clove (don’t submerge the clove or it’ll rot). Keep this on your windowsill and after a few days, you’ll have scapes! Let them grow until they’re several inches tall, then cut from the top.

I know for some of my readers with actual gardens, this post might seem silly but if you’ve ever lived in a tiny apartment (or a townhome without a deck), then you know how awesome it feels to have something growing in your kitchen.

Using these homegrown garlic scapes will make ya feel fancy. Snip some off the top and add them to scrambled eggs, a bowl of soup or sprinkle them on top of a baked (sweet) potato. Use these scapes to garnish any meal – and definitely use them when your friends come over – they’ll be super impressed and think you’re trendy/cool. I mean, growing garlic scapes in a shot glass… is way cooler than what shot glasses are actually meant for.

Related Recipes


Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


Subscribe to get our latest content by email. We won't send you spam. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment & Rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Keith says

    Hi everyone, I have some garlic cloves sprouting in water. I wanted to inquire how long will the garlic last growing like this?
    I don’t plan on planting these cloves as I use them for their leaves, sprouts and scapes.
    I have not been able to find any answers on how long the cloves will last just growing in water.
    Is there a time I should remove them from the water and either throw them out or consume them? They have been sprouting for weeks now and I’ve been able to collect from them.
    Thank you for your help on this!

  2. Lyndsey Varela says

    My 5.5 year old son and I just started our little garlic plants 🌱! Can’t wait to see some leaves!

  3. dave kyle says

    What you grew here were garlic leaves. In fact, what people call the stem is in fact more of the leaf. The true scape would take months to appear. I grow garlic commercially but I also sprout cloves this way for a change of pace in the kitchen. As you know, these young leaves are awesome eating.
    You can plant these in a sunny spot in the garden and watch them grow. I start thousands of late garlic this way in my greenhouse every spring. Have fun with this amazing plant!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Dave, thank you for letting me know! I was so excited about what I grew (as I mentioned I have a brown thumb) haha – I have since realized they are leaves – I will add an update to the post though! Thanks for your comment!

  4. DISA says

    Thanks, i grew garlic whatevers in my ref with no light and no water😂i bought peeled garlic from the market, and one day it was rooting, the next day sprouting. Just googled what to do with them 😁Thanks, ill make mini house plants and the bung them in an omlette

  5. Patty Palms says

    Yay ! It worked! Now I clipped off the scales as you mentioned. Do I just plant the clove now ? They have a nice amount of roots! I did 3 in shot glasses ! It was fun to watch them grow! Thanks Patty

      • Albert says

        Dear MHB. I’ve been doing exactly the same as you for a while now. Used to do it with Hyacinths when I was a child. What I’d like to know is that many professionals say not to plant outside in an area that you’ve grown garlic before, why??? This is nice. Cut off some green shoots. Cut a baguette in half. Pop your green shoots between baguette. Heat lightly for 10 – 15mins. Remove from heat. Gorgeous hmmmmm!!!!!

  6. Cory says

    If I start my garlic indoors like your post is suggesting, can I then take those sprouts plant them in my grades, and expect garlic bulbs at harvest?

  7. KAMRAN says

    Hi Ashley, did u ever let the sprouted clove sit in the shot glass of water, for like 2 to 3 months and found out if the garlic clove turned into a bulb?

  8. US Yankee says

    Ashley, it’s not your fault your herb plants died! About a week after you bring them home whether it is Stop & Shop, Shop Rite, Big Y, or the local nursery, around a week later, you will see white flies flying around the plant, and maybe even tiny bugs, smaller than a straight pin crawling around the dirt. The flies will also fly to your other expensive plants and kill them too. I have lost so many plants that way. I’ve tried cayenne pepper, Ivory soap. I’ve tried putting glasses nearby with sweet coffee or wine to drown them with some effect. The best thing is to separate them from the other plants, preferably outside where the white flies fly way! Another way is to buy organic spray from the local nursery.

  9. Wyguy says

    Dern, I had a recipe that looked really great, but it called for garlic scrapes, so I tossed it. Where was I going to get garlic scrapes, now I know where.

    • Keith says

      I am not sure if you meant scapes or scraps. If you meant scapes, you can generally substitute garlic sprouts in recipes that call for scapes.

  10. barb says

    You can regrow pineapples the same way.. take the top, place in water, after about 3 wks put in soil. water frequently. Takes about 8 months for a new pineapple.

  11. KiKi says

    Thanks for the post! After trying a pizza with tomatoe, ham and garlic scapes. I’m in love and have been looking for some tips on growing garlic scapes. This is a cool idea, I’m going to try it.

  12. Lyn says

    Sorry to tell you this, but these are not garlic scapes. They’re garlic sprouts. Scapes are the young seed-head stalks of hardnecked garlic varieties, and they have a very different texture and flavor from a garlic sprout, which you can get out of a clove of hard- or soft-necked garlic. Which is also different from a garlic chive, an entirely different plant 😀

  13. AllieB says

    I wish I could do this! My kitchen has no windows, believe it or not. But I’ve been thinking lately of getting a plant light so that I can have an herb garden on my counter, and this will be added to the mix! Thanks for the post 🙂

    • Keith says

      It is far simpler then this article suggest. I sprout my garlic in a old cottage cheese tub floating in about an inch of water. For the first week, about 99% or more of the energy for the leaves and roots come from the energy stored in the garlic clove. That means you can have sprouts in a week even if they were stored in in the cabinet, although they will not be green. On the other hand, even the little light they get from sitting on the kitchen counter top is enough to turn the leaves green.

      Garlic sprouts are immensely good at killing bacteria and will not rot if you float them an inch of water like I do; especially after removing the peel so there is nothing dead for bacteria to feed on, thus leaving only a super plant that is great at killing bacteria that attack it. If you are one that still worries, you can rinse it daily with fresh water from the tap, as fresh city tap water still has a tiny amount of chlorine to prevent microbes from growing in your pipes.

      • JD says

        I floated mine in a small amount of water, but they look like they may have mold now. That’s why I did a Google search and ended up here. I will start over again, and hopefully there will be no mold. 🙂

        • s.j says

          when i tried and my garlic started turning purple i thought the same thing! but my mom said that it might not be mold so i kept it a bit longer, but when it started to look decayed i decided to throw it out but i forgot about it. but guess what? when i came out to water my other plants, i saw a shoot coming out of one side, and roots on the other!
          so next time, try waiting a few weeks more; you never know!

paneer lababdar

Ashley's Secrets



Favorite tips & tricks to

easy & delicious Indian cooking