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Tulbaghia violacea

Common Name(s):
Society garlic
Edible Plants, Groundcover, Perennials

A tender perennial in the Amaryllidaceae family. Leaves and rootstock have a strong garlic smell when bruised, hence the common name.  The plants have good drought and heat tolerance but do best with adequate moisture during the growing season.  In cooler regions, they grow as annuals in patio or deck containers.  Or they can be brought indoors to overwinter.  They can survive the winter in the ground if provided with protection and adequate mulch. They work well in rock or herb gardens or planted along borders and edges.  This plant is moderately salt tolerant.

Seasons of Interest:

     Bloom: Early Summer to Fall

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problem. Slugs and snails may damage the foliage.

Plants this may be confused with: Garlic chives Allium tuberosum 

Early summer through fall
1-2 ft.
Flower Color:
Zones 7-10
Narrow, strap-shaped, gray-green leaves rises to 12” tall.
Flowering stalks are 20” tall bearing terminal umbels of sweetly fragrant lilac-pink flowers. Each small flower (3/4” long) has a tubular corona spreading to an open star with six pointed tepals. Flowering continues on and off throughout the summer into fall.
Average to organically rich, light, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. They will tolerate partial shade but will not bloom as well.
Tuberous roots
Full sun
South Africa
Flowers and leaves are edible (mild garlic flavor), and may be used in soups and salads.
heat tolerant, salt tolerant, drought tolerant, fragrant leaves, containers, fragrant, deck, patio, rock garden, boarder, fragrant flowers, herb garden

NCCES plant id: 3323

Tulbaghia violacea flowers
Manuel M.V., CC BY - 2.0
Tulbaghia violacea flower close up
Shenghung Lin, CC BY-NC-ND - 2.0