How to grow and care for Society Garlic

Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) is a perennial herb that is native to South Africa. It is part of the onion family (Alliaceae) and has a strong garlic-like aroma and flavor.

Society garlic is named for its mild flavor, which makes it a popular choice for use in cooking without the strong aftertaste of regular garlic that can linger on the breath.

Society garlic is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and maintain. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil, and it is drought-tolerant once established.

Common Name – wild garlic, pink agapanthus, tulbaghia

Botanical Name-Tulbaghia Violacea

Native -South Africa


Height- 12-18 inches (30-45 cm)

Width – 12-24 inches (30-60 cm)


Narrow, strap-like

long – up to 12 inches (30 cm)

wide– 1/2 inch (1.3 cm)

Tips-When planting society garlic, it’s important to give each plant enough space to grow and spread without overcrowding other nearby plants.


Small, star-shaped, and arranged in clusters on long, thin stems that rise above the foliage, delicate, pleasant fragrance.

Flower Color-pale pink to mauve or lavender, white or purple

Bloom time -late spring to fall

Attract– pollinators like bees and butterflies

Flowers-Edible and can be used as a garnish or added to salads.


Society garlic can be propagated through seeds, division, or stem cuttings. Here’s how to propagate society garlic using these methods:

  • Seeds: Collect mature seeds from the plant and sow them in a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil moist and warm, and the seeds should germinate in a few weeks.
  • Division: Dig up the plant and divide the clumps into smaller sections with a sharp knife or garden spade. Replant the sections in well-draining soil, and water thoroughly.
  • Stem cuttings: Take stem cuttings of 3-4 inches in length from the plant, remove the lower leaves, and dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder. Plant the cuttings in a well-draining potting mix and keep the soil moist. The cuttings should root in a few weeks.

Tips-Regardless of the propagation method used, it’s important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and to provide the plant with plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil.


Here are some tips for caring for society garlic:


 Society garlic prefers well-draining soil that is moist but not waterlogged. Water the plant deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, and make sure the soil has good drainage.


Society garlic prefers full sun but can tolerate some shade. Make sure the plant gets at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day.


Society garlic doesn’t require much fertilizer, but you can feed it with a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season (spring to fall).


Prune the plant regularly to remove spent flowers and dead leaves. This will encourage new growth and keep the plant looking tidy.

Pests and diseases:

Society garlic is relatively pest and disease-free. However, it can be susceptible to root rot if the soil is too wet. Keep an eye out for signs of yellowing leaves or wilting, which may indicate overwatering or root rot.

Winter care:

Society garlic is hardy to USDA zones 7-10 and can withstand some frost. However, in colder regions, it may die back to the ground in winter. Mulch the base of the plant in fall to protect the roots from freezing temperatures.


Society garlic has a variety of uses, including:

  • Ornamental: Society garlic is commonly grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and landscapes because of its attractive foliage and fragrant flowers.
  • Culinary: The leaves of society garlic have a mild garlic flavor and can be used in cooking as a substitute for garlic or chives. The flowers are also edible and can be used as a garnish or in salads.
  • Medicinal: Society garlic has been used in traditional medicine for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has also been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive problems, and high blood pressure.
  • Insect repellent: Society garlic has natural insect-repelling properties and can be planted in gardens to deter pests like aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies.
  • Companion planting: Society garlic can be planted alongside other plants as a companion plant to improve soil health and deter pests. It is particularly effective when planted alongside roses, tomatoes, and peppers.

Overall, society garlic is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of ways, from cooking to medicinal uses to pest control.

Common Disease And Pests

Society garlic is generally considered to be a low-maintenance and pest-resistant plant. However, it can occasionally be affected by some diseases and pests, such as:

  • Root rot: This fungal disease can be caused by overwatering or poorly-draining soil. Symptoms include yellowing leaves, wilting, and stunted growth.
  • Aphids: These small, sap-sucking insects can be found on the undersides of leaves and can cause stunted growth and distorted leaves.
  • Spider mites: These tiny pests can also cause damage to the plant by feeding on the sap and causing yellowing and bronzing of the leaves.
  • Whiteflies: These small, moth-like insects can cause damage by feeding on the sap of the plant and transmitting plant viruses.

TipsTo prevent and manage these pests and diseases, it’s important to practice good cultural practices such as providing proper drainage, watering the plant deeply but infrequently, and removing any dead or diseased plant material promptly. You can also use organic insecticidal soaps, neem oil, or other natural remedies to control pests if needed.


There are several varieties of society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea), including:

  • Silver Lace: This variety has variegated leaves with a cream-colored edge and purple flowers.
  • Fairy Stars: This variety has smaller leaves and clusters of pale pink flowers that bloom prolifically in spring and summer.
  • Variegata: This variety has white-striped leaves and pink flowers.
  • John May’s Special: This variety has larger flowers in a deeper shade of pink than the species.
  • Purple Eye: This variety has dark purple flowers with a white center.
  • Tricolor: This variety has green, pink, and white striped leaves and pale pink flowers.

Each variety has its own unique characteristics and can add interest and variety to your garden or landscape.

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