Plant of the Month: August 2013


Society Garlic

This aromatic clumping perennial smells and tastes like garlic--even its edible flowers!

This aromatic, clumping perennial smells and tastes like garlic — even its edible flowers!

Tulbaghia violacea


  • Plant Form: Perennial Flower
  • Water Use: Low – Moderate
  • Mature Size: 1 foot tall (with 2-foot flower stalks), 2 feet wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Bloom Time: April – November
  • Native to: South Africa
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 20° F


Society Garlic is a fast-growing, clumping perennial with many narrow, blue-green leaves from a central point. Clusters of star-shaped, rosy lavender flowers rise above clumps on 1-2 foot long stems, with peak flowering in spring and summer. May be frost damaged at 20° F, but quickly recovers. The whole plant has a garlic odor, making it bad for bouquets but good for seasoning. Besides its value as a decorative, heat-loving ornamental, the leaves can be used like garlic chives and its bulbs like garlic. Its name is said to come from a notion that you don’t get bad breath from eating it. Its sweet-scented, edible flowers are beautiful in salads. Survives extended droughts, and needs well-drained soil. Tolerates shade, but with little flowering. Ideal plant to dress up an herb garden or rock garden, as well as along borders or in containers.