Society Garlic: Not precisely garlic, however nice

Do you like growing edible perennials? You may love garlic chives for their flavor and ability to attract pollinators. Or maybe you want to add a pop of color to one of your herb gardens. If this description suits you, you've come to the right place with social garlic!

A garlic plant (Tulbaghia violacea) makes a great addition to gardens that are managed by people with different plant tastes. Wild craftsmen love to use the leaves and flowers in salads, just as they would use wild garlic. Nuts from regenerative agriculture love it because its hardy tuber roots can withstand almost any type of soil.

Community garlic does not attract pests or pathogens that spread disease. It thrives in bright sunlight and hot weather. And understand this: it won't give you bad breath if you eat it like it does with garlic. Although she loves summer, she is hardy, which means a long growing season is ahead.

What makes society's garlic different from garlic bulbs? And what are the best methods of garlic care society? Read on and you will find it easy.

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Brief instructions for care

The leaves, flowers, stems and even roots of the common garlic are edible. Source: nano.maus

Common name (s) Society garlic, pink agapanthus, spring onions, sweet garlic
Scientific name Tulbaghia violacea
Days to harvest 14 to 21 days to germinate, then one to two years to harvest
Bright Full sun to partial shade
water 1 inch per week
floor Light, sandy, moderately fertile
fertilizer Add compost once a year in the spring
Pests Aphids, whiteflies
Diseases Root rot

All about society garlic

Bee on company garlicBees and other pollinators are attracted to society's garlic. Source: Monkeystyle3000

Society garlic, Tulbaghia violacea, is also known as pink agapanthus, spring onions, and sweet garlic. The common name of society garlic comes from its ability to flavor a dish without the undesirable effects of bad breath. This cluster-forming perennial comes from South Africa and was naturalized in Tanzania and Mexico. Most people in America are familiar with society's garlic plants for their lumpy, green, belt-like foliage that branches beneath fragrant (sometimes sharp) lavender flowers. The flowers are bulbous and grow in clusters. The flower color ranges from white to pink to purple. Some varieties have multi-colored flowers in purple and white.

Their bulbous roots must be established before the company's garlic flowers can be separated and eaten. Interestingly, people who eat society's garlic don't get bad breath, even though the lavender pink flowers smell as strong as skunk in the hot summer sun. Go ahead and enjoy this clumping perennial for at least three years. Flower stalks are topped with tubular flowers that grow up to 3 feet tall. Each lavender flower has six petals that are grouped over narrow leaves.

Society garlic is not garlic. It is found in the same family as garlic and onion (the amaryllis family) and is in the same genus as other South African bulbous plants that are very similar. Unlike regular garlic and onions, it grows quickly, with seeds that sprout within a week or two. However, it takes a year or two for them to bloom. It is used in soups, salads, and dishes, just like garlic-chives. All parts (including roots) add spice to any culinary endeavor.

Tubers have been used medicinally by people in Africa to treat many diseases. The Zulu in the province of KwaZulu-Natal used the plant to season meat and potato dishes. They also plant garlic on the edge of their homes to keep snakes out. And the same generic name comes from the governor of the Cape of Good Hope in eastern South Africa in the 18th century (Rijk Tulbagh).

Kinds of society garlic

Here are a few varieties of community garlic:

  • Silver top company garlic: This variety has clumping white and green narrow leaves with lavender flowers that grow up to 3 feet long and open in spring. They die in summer. It's a great companion plant for hyssop.
  • Colorful Society Garlic: This species is similar to the silvertip, but flowers until autumn. Its purple flowers reach a height of up to two feet and are known for their resistance to deer.
  • Tricolor Society Garlic: Another variegated species topped with white, pink, and purple flowers that open in early spring. With flowers, this plant is 2 feet tall.

Garlic Plant Association

Community garlic should be planted in the spring in a location with full sun to partial shade. Make sure the place you choose is slightly fertile with sandy soil. This can be in the ground or in containers. Direct sowing or transplanting full tubers at this point too. Since a society garlic plant is bulbous, it can be grown in a sufficiently large pot (at least 8 inches deep).


Pink agapanthusThis plant is also known as pink agapanthus. Source: cathexi

Once the garlic society is established, there is not much left to do. Let's cover the basics of caring for society's garlic (Tulbaghia violacea).

Sun and temperature

As mentioned above, community garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) needs full sun to partial shade with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Although it is not hardy outside USDA Zones 7-10, it can be grown in other hardiness zones as long as it is brought in during winter.

Society garlic does not need cold hours and tolerates high heat and cold well. Since this is a perennial, it doesn't need protection from heat or cold when grown outdoors in Zones 7-10, but you're welcome to bring it with you if it's a container plant. Overall, it will work well in moderate frosts and light frosts. It can even survive the first frost of winter.

Water and moisture

When watering garlic plants for your company, water them deeply and slowly. This plant is known to survive prolonged droughts. Still, water regularly using a low and slow method. The best type of irrigation is drip irrigation. If a drip irrigation system is not within your budget in terms of money, space, or resources, regular watering with a hose will do.

Make sure you water it regularly and dry out the soil in between. Let the first one to three centimeters of soil dry out. Since garlic survives long droughts in society, watering every other day may be okay. Reduce watering times, especially when these plants are in bloom. Water while it is blooming will slow down more blooms in your garden.

If it rains a lot in your yard, don't water. The only disease you could risk attracting your society's garlic plant is root rot, and too much water is the main ingredient for this problem.


Plant your community garlic in sandy, slightly fertile, slightly acidic soil. Sand helps society's garlic plants wick moisture away from the canopy where root rot is possible. These plants grow in poor soil as long as they are well drained. Keep this in mind when preparing your containers. The recommended pH range for garlic in the growing society is between 6.8 and 7.5.


These plants can survive and remain edible in extreme conditions, so no fertilization is required. Nevertheless, work in a few centimeters of compost around the plant every spring. This way you can enjoy the beautiful foliage, flowers and organically rich leaves all year round.

If you are gardening in rocky grasslands, rock gardens, or poor soil, some fertilizer can help improve the health of foliage and flowers. This also applies to containers. When adding fertilizer, add a 5-10-10 gritty, slow release type into the top few inches of the soil with your compost.


Aside from harvesting edible leaves, no pruning is required other than removing dead, damaged, or crushed leaves. This can occur after light frosts and moderate frosts. If your society's garlic plants survive prolonged droughts, they may need a haircut afterward.


The easiest way to spread garlic to society is to split lumps as they grow. Dig them up at the tuber and move them around as needed. Transfer them to a container or other part of your rock garden after flowering in summer or late fall. However, be careful where you plant them. In some areas they are considered invasive.

Although the common garlic is a clumping plant, it also reproduces from seeds. Break off the used flowers that contain seeds and let them dry to harvest seeds. Plant them in a seed starting mix or sow them elsewhere if they are grown outdoors. Remember that the site should have sandy soil and bright sunlight.

Harvest and storage

Society garlic flowersThe flowers of the society garlic can be quite showy. Source: Rockstar02

A community garlic plant tastes just like wild garlic and is ready in early summer (sometimes in spring) and in warmer places into winter. Follow this guide to learn best practices for harvesting and storing leaves and flowers.


If you are wondering how to harvest your silver tip or your brightly colored society garlic, it doesn't have to be long to wonder. All parts are edible. Their growing season is from summer to autumn. To harvest green or striped green leaves, cut them to the length you want. During flowering, stems and flowers can be harvested together. Take as much as you need without taking the whole plant.


Use garlic leaves in fresh or dried form. Again, all parts are edible (including flowers). Remember that the common name of society garlic comes from the fact that it won't cause you bad breath, but it tastes just as good as garlic. Properly store your company's garlic crops crops and you'll have the foliage to use in soups, salads, and stews, just like garlic chives.

Hang them to dry for about a week (after washing) and you can enjoy them even in the coldest of winters. Your roots do not need to be dried, but they will keep in the refrigerator with the leaves for a week. Flowers should be consumed immediately. Frozen bulbs and leaves can be kept in the freezer for up to a year.


White Society Garlic FlowersWhite, pink, or lavender flowers are common. Source: Such a Groke

Society garlic doesn't have many problems as it scares off most pests and diseases. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Growing problems

New plants may not thrive if they are not in an area full sun. However, plants of this type of plant are deer resistant. They don't do well in either strong windsalthough they are suitable for rocky grasslands. Remember not to water during the flowering phase. Watering during flowering prevents further flowering.

In cool areas, leaves and flowers that bloom die in your garden in winter. This is not a problem, but an inevitability that you should be aware of.


The only pests these plants struggle with are Aphids and Whitefliesalthough both of them won't do much damage if you catch them early in your yard. Aphids and whiteflies both suckle on the sap. Spray them with a jet of water to finally knock them off your plants. If necessary, a little neem oil or insecticidal soap will also help.


If you overwater you can increase the chances of that Root rot in the company of garlic. Remember to let the soil dry out between watering your plant. Do not water (not even in early summer) if it is raining a lot. If your plant is damaged by root rot, stop watering for a while to see if things improve. Assuming it doesn't, carefully remove the plant and trim off damaged roots, then transplant to another fungus-free location in well-drained soil.

frequently asked Questions

Society garlic plantYoung plants take a while to establish before harvest. Source: Spendpenny

Q: What is society using garlic for?

A: It is used to keep pests out, flavor dishes and for medicinal purposes in South Africa.

Q: Is the Garlic Society Toxic?

On a. Although some results suggest that consuming a ton of the tuber might be toxic, these studies are inconclusive. Just to be careful, limit your intake of the root to small amounts and stick with the leaves.

Q: Why is it called society garlic?

A: It is named after the governor of the Cape in eastern South Africa in the 18th century. This is because, although it is garlic-like, it does not create bad breath. High society loved the fresher breath element of this plant.

Q: Can you eat the society garlic leaves?

Answer: yes! All parts are edible.

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