Growing Society Garlic


The first time I planted society garlic Tulbaghia violacea they all withered and died. I had planted them in the garden facing an easterly aspect with a solid wall behind them. When summer began the heat emanating from the brickwork was too intense and I lost the lot.

Undeterred, I set about purchasing some more and repotting the one plant that survived. Now they reside in my front cottage garden and have grown quite successfully.

I’m a big fan of society garlic (though it’s not really a garlic at all – it just smells like one) as it is so adaptable for any garden. Its strappy grey-green foliage contrasts well in a variety of settings and when it blooms the purple flowers dangle from its un-engineered stalks.

Our society garlic has become a permanent resident in our front cottage garden but it could easily suit a succulent garden, a xeriscape planting and would grow equally well as a container plant.

Society garlic needs full-sun but not in a location where it will burn. It flowers from late winter to autumn yet even though the flowers are gorgeous the foliage is the main attraction for the garden planting.

How to Propagate Society Garlic

To propagate society garlic you can divide the rhizomous roots during winter or allow seed to set and dry before harvesting. Dividing this plant is by far the more successful of the two methods and also the quickest. However, if you enjoy a challenge and like propagating from your own seeds then it is still an easy way to reproduce them.

To keep your society garlic looking neat deadhead the petals, including the stalks, once the flowers are spent.

Photo source: hyacinth.willow