Society Garlic – Identification

Q: Can the seeds collected from society garlic be planted and, if so, when?

A: As its name implies, society garlic, Tulbaghia violacea, is a member of the onion family. Scott Ogden, author of “Garden Bulbs for the South” considers it a marvelous bulb, noting it has flowers throughout the summer. You can collect the seed whenever the capsule at the top of a flower stem becomes papery. Since the plant is a bit sensitive to cold weather, I would plant the seed in spring. The plant prefers dry shade and could be quite an attractive groundcover in the right circumstances.

Its name comes from the belief that one could eat the bulb and not get bad breath. You would be acceptable in “society”.

Deer, however, are under no such illusions. They avoid society garlic in a garden until almost everything else is eaten.

Society Garlic