How To Grow Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) In Your Garden

Tulbaghia violacea, or Society Garlic / Pink Agapanthus, is a clump-forming perennial. It has narrow, linear leaves and carries clusters of fragrant, lavender-pink flowers. These bloom from midsummer to autumn.

Society Garlic plant typically reaches 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) in height and spread.

Tulbaghia violacea plant, the Society garlic.
Tulbaghia violacea photograph by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.

Tulbaghia violacea is great for adding texture and color to borders, rock gardens, and containers.

Its aroma, akin to garlic, is known to deter pests.

This plant thrives in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10 and RHS zones H3.

How to Grow Tulbaghia violacea in the Garden

Growing Tulbaghia violacea requires a sunny or lightly shaded location with a well-drained soil. It can adapt to a wide range of soils, but prefers moderately fertile, sandy loam.

Planting time is in the spring. Dig a hole as deep as the root ball, place the plant in it, and then fill the hole with soil. Once planted, water generously.

Although drought-tolerant, Tulbaghia violacea benefits from moderate watering, but reduce to minimal during the winter.

Society Garlic flowers
Society Garlic image by CALChux; CC.

Plants will benefit from a balanced liquid fertilizer. Provide this during the growing season.

It is generally free from serious pest and disease problems, but watch out for slugs. Remove any visible pests and regularly inspect the plant for signs of attack.

Tulbaghia violacea is a strikingly beautiful and aromatic plant that can enhance the appeal of any garden space.

The fragrance, long flowering period, and low maintenance requirements make it a beloved addition to many gardens.

Society Garlic's texture and color help provide a visually pleasing aesthetic throughout the growing season. Through offering a suitable location, appropriate soils, and basic care, you can easily grow this beautiful and fragrant plant in your garden.

Quick Tulbaghia violacea Growing and Care Guide

Scientific Name: Tulbaghia violacea.

Common Name(s): Society Garlic, Pink Agapanthus.

Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 7-10. RHS hardiness H3, hardy in mild areas.

Best Used For / Garden Location: Border plants, rock gardens, containers, and herb gardens.

Plant Details

Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial, herbaceous.

Plant Height: 18-24 in (45-60 cm).

Plant Spread: 12-18 in (30-45 cm).

Blooms: Summer to autumn.

Flower Details: Fragrant, lilac, pale purple, or pink flowers. Star shaped.

Leaf Foliage: Narrow, grayish-green, garlic-scented leaves.

Fruit: Non-showy, seed capsules.

Growing Conditions and Location

Best Light Conditions: Full sun to partial shade.

Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained, sandy or loamy soil.

Sowing, Planting: Plant in spring, space 12-18 in (30-45 cm) apart.

Germination Time: Typically 2-3 weeks at 70°F (21°C).

Propagation: Division or seeds in spring.

Watering: Water regularly but do not overwater.

Container Growing

Growing in pots and containers: Suitable, ensure good drainage.

Growing as a Houseplant: Suitable with good light, avoid overwatering.

Further Information

Miscellaneous: Attracts butterflies, resistant to deer and drought. Tolerates seacoast conditions.

Pests and Diseases: Generally pest-free, but watch for aphids and thrips.

Common Cultivars / Varieties: 'Silver Lace' has variegated leaves, 'Fairy Star' has darker purple flowers.

Family: Amaryllidaceae, the Amaryllis family.

Native: Southern Africa.

References and Further Reading: Gardener's World; RHS guide to Society Garlic; Singapore National Parks Flora and Fauna.

Common Questions

Does Tulbaghia violacea make a good garden plant?

Tulbaghia violacea is an excellent garden plant for mild areas. It has attractive clumps of gray-green leaves and lavender flowers, and provides consistent color and texture to the garden.

Is Tulbaghia violacea a fragrant plant?

Yes, it is a fragrant plant. Its leaves and flowers emit a garlic-like scent when crushed, which can help to deter pests.

What is the perfect location to grow Tulbaghia violacea?

Society Garlic loves to grow in full sun, but can tolerate part shade. It prefers well-drained soil and is tolerant of drought, making it an excellent choice for dry, sunny borders. It is hardy in USDA zones 7-10.

Is Tulbaghia violacea invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Presently, Tulbaghia violacea is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Tulbaghia violacea from my garden?

To remove Tulbaghia violacea, cut back the plant and carefully dig out the entire clump, ensuring to remove all the bulbous roots to prevent regrowth.


Society Garlic, also commonly known as Society Garlic, is a bulbous perennial plant that flourishes in well-drained soil and full sun. Known for its grey-green leaves and clusters of lilac flowers that bloom in summer, it brings a burst of color and fragrance.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to grow Tulbaghia violacea. You may also enjoy the following Amaryllis family growing guides: How to grow Allium Globemaster, Agapanthus africanus, Zephyranthes, and Amaryllis plants in the garden.

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