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Tulbaghia violacea - Harv.

Common Name Society Garlic
Family Alliaceae
USDA hardiness 7-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Forest margins and stream banks[282].
Range S. Africa - Eastern Cape, Transvaal.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Tulbaghia violacea Society Garlic

Tulbaghia violacea Society Garlic


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Tulbaghia violacea is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 7. It is in flower from June to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Root
Edible Uses:

Leaves and stems - raw or cooked. A mild garlic flavour, they are used as a flavouring in soups and salads[183]. A substitute for chives and garlic. Flowers - raw or cooked. They can be added to salads, used as a garnish or flavouring in cooked foods[183]. The flowers are very ornamental, they have a sweet, onion-like heat in the mouth.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

There is some evidence that Society Garlic has antifungal properties. It is used locally as a herbal remedy to treat several ailments.

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
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Other Uses

Companion  Cut flowers

Landscape Uses: Border, Container, Ground cover, Rock garden, Seashore. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native. Suitable for cut flowers. Fragrant flowers. Attractive flowers or blooms. Ornamental. Society Garlic and the cultivars Purple Eye' and 'Silver Lace', with cream-margined leaves, have all gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground Cover  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered position[200]. Hardy in the mildest areas of Britain, tolerating temperatures down to about -10°c, it can be grown as a bedding plant or at the base of a warm wall[200]. Plants succeed outdoors at Edinburgh botanical gardens[90]. Plants grow from a cluster of small bulbs attached to a basal plate that is sometimes regarded as a rhizome[200]. The flowers are very fragrant at night, the whole plant has a garlic-like aroma[200]. There are some named varieties, selected for their ornamental value[200]. 'Silver Lace' is a dwarf clumping plant that grows well in containers and is more attractive with larger flowers than the type[183, 200]. Bloom Color: Lavender, Pink. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Early spring, Late summer, Late fall, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid fall, Mid spring. Form: Upright or erect.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the greenhouse[200]. Sow stored seed in early spring in the greenhouse[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. If planting them outdoors, this is best done in late summer when the plants are dormant. Division of the dormant plants in late summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Pink Agapanthus, Wild Garlic, Sweet Garlic, Spring Bulbs, or Spring Flowers

AFRICA: South Africa, Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal, .

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Tulbaghia alliaceaSociety GarlicCorm0.3 7-10  LMNM20 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

susan   Fri May 19 2006

It is not clear as to whether this plant is evergreen. Can you advise please as I would like to use it near the base of a conifer to disguise some bare branches.

davidn   Tue May 26 2009

I quite like the flavor of the leaves, almost like rubber but in a good way, perhaps a little smoky but they're pretty tough, unless you like chewing they'd have to choped very fine.

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Subject : Tulbaghia violacea  
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