71025Some flowers are better left in the garden rather than cut and brought in. Society garlic, Tulbaghia violacea, looks like it would be an ideal cut flower, with nice bare stems. The aroma suggests otherwise. It smells something like a strongly aromatic combination of onion and garlic. Even in the garden, it might be a good idea to keep it at a distance. Deer and rabbits do not mess with it.

Society garlic is sometimes known as pink agapanthus because it has similar foliage and flowers, only much smaller. The tiny flowers are really more lavender pink than pink, and bloom in round clusters on stems about a foot and a half tall in late summer or early autumn. The narrow leaves are only about a quarter of an inch wide, almost grassy, but more rubbery like those of agapanthus.

Mature plants form dense clumps of foliage at least two feet wide. Variegated plants stay much smaller, but are also very likely to revert to green (non-variegated) growth, which if not removed, overwhelms and replaced variegated growth. Society garlic is very easy to divide for propagation. It likes full sun or slight shade. Although somewhat drought tolerant, it prefers regular watering.

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2 thoughts on “Society Garlic

    1. They are actually edible, and some people eat them like onions. I just left that part out because my gardening column has limited space (and because I do not particularly like society garlic). I believe that they work something like strongly flavored green onions. They do not form significant bulbs, just narrow white bulbs.

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