I didn't get some of my scapes trimmed off this year and the flowers have produced little garlic cloves in the flower. It is my understanding that this is not seed but, can I plant it? Will it come back true?
They are called bulbils. Yes they can be planted. It may take 1 year to become a clove of garlic, and 1 or two more to become a bulb. If you have more than one cultivar of garlic, it may be a hybrid or it may come true.
Joseph Lofthouse has taught me that if I plant a tomato seed, I will get a tomato. I no longer worry over varietal purity. However if variety makes a difference to you, use your bulbils in your cooking! They will taste like garlic. Mmmm.
Great thanks. I actually would prefer they do not come back true. I have planted to varieties for the past few years, the names now escape me. So I would like to have something a little more acclimatized to my climate. I will plant these and see what happens. Also thinks for telling me what they are actually called. Google is much more helpful now.
Edited to add: Late to the party and already several cross-posts. Oh well. Here's my belated contribution.
The bulbils are clones of the mother plant, so they will come back true with perhaps minor differences due to environment. For example, the bulbils might not be infected with a virus, bacteria, or insect that infects the mother plant.
Growing bulbils is a great way to really expand a garlic crop. How fast the bulbils mature into full sized garlic is highly variable depending on variety. Two to three years is typical.