Smart & Sustainable, Green Garden Design, Coaching & Seasonal Maintenance

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Plant Profile: Tulbaghia violacea, Society Garlic

Tulbaghia violocea, a Flickr photo by IngaMun

A South African native, society garlic is a garden trooper! You probably won't find it on many lists of favorite plants, and yet it looks good and flowers for an incredibly long time! It does have a smell of onion or garlic, but that doesn't deter me from admiring this easy plant. It looks fine without maintenance (deadheading spent flowers) from a distance, but will look fresher up close and produce more new flowering shoots with a wee bit of TLC.
Dense clumps of straight, narrow, evergreen leaves send up slim, 1 - 2 ft. stems  topped by clusters of small, trumpet-shaped, pinkish lavender flowers Suffer frost damage at 20 - 25 degrees F, but recover quickly. Start plants from containers or divisions at any time (though early spring or early fall is best in hot-summer areas). (Sunset Western Garden)
While the flowers are the same color, its evergreen leaves are available in a few different colors, the main one being green, my favorite being, 'Variagata', which has a white stripe down its middle.

One of my favorite uses of society garlic is in a big planting, like in this garden at the Getty Center in August,
Tulbaghia violacea, 'Silver Lace'

or, this bed with the cool sculpture at the Rancho La Puerta in September
Tulbaghia violcea, the green one

society garlic clipped to ground in the winter
A buzz cut in the winter keeps this Starbuck's bed of society garlic and fortnight lily behaving (mostly for the benefit of the fortnight lily, which can get downright ratty if allowed to run rampant!) ...

the border rebounds!
... and, here they are at the end of June.

Try this in your garden and I think you'll find your thumb feeling a bit greener!

Whether you need garden design, coaching, seasonal maintenance or planting, Geno's Garden can help!
Call me at (916) 764-5243, or email

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog...this has been a wonderful garden tour-thanks for sharing!