Edible Society Garlic Sweet Smelling
How to Plant and Care for Society Garlic
Society garlic or Tulbaghia violacea is an ornamental plant with violet or purple flowers and leaves with garlic smell. The plant gets its name society garlic from the clump-forming nature and the garlic smell of the leaves. The blossoms of the plant, however, lack the pungent smell. These plants are also known as pink agapanthus and they belong to Alliacea, the onion family. The plant is indigenous to Southern Africa, but is naturalised in other parts of the world like Tanzania. This clump-forming perennial can be used as borders, in garden beds, rock gardens or as edging plants in gardens. They will last for days when used as cut flowers. The fragrance of flowers will attract bees and birds. Controlling the growth of the plant is easy as they are non-invasive.
The clump of society garlic grows to a height of 30 cm. The leaves are strap-like and greyish green in colour. Lilac or purple flowers are star-shaped and flowering season is from early summer to autumn. Flowers are produced on a leafless stalk, which are 1 to 2 feet tall. Each stalk will hold 7 to 20 flowers. You can grow society garlic in containers if there are space limitations. They are drought tolerant frost resistant perennials that will grow almost anywhere.
How to grow?
It is easy to grow this plant in a garden bed as they can withstand different soil conditions. They can tolerate heat and drought conditions and can withstand cold conditions to a certain extent. These plants require consistent moisture during the growing period. These plants produce abundant flowers when placed in areas with bright light and a well-drained sandy mixture of composted soil. The foliage of the plants gets easily damaged by coldest parts of Australia, a temperature below minus 4 C. When planting the bulbs, make sure that a space of 8-12 inches is provided between them so that the plant can spread. Plant the bulbs just below the ground level. Potted plants can be placed outdoors during summer and can be brought into the building in areas experiencing extremely cold weather. Plants placed in shady areas may not flower properly. The plant does not require much feeding. Fertilising the plant occasionally with diluted liquid fertiliser is enough to ensure proper blooming.
Propagation of society garlic can be done using the division method. The clumps can be divided in spring or autumn and can be planted in new areas. Before dividing, the clumps trim the leaves and separate the bulbs. Dividing the clumps roots once in every two years will improve the vigour of the plants and will result in more number of flowers. Propagation by seeds is a time taking process.
Apart from the use of this plant as an ornamental plant and as cut flowers, the leaves of the plant are used in adding flavour to food items such as soups, white sauces, stir-fries, and salads. The flowers of society garlic are edible and are used with their sweet smelling petals to garnish in salads. The flowers look wonderful in large landscaping projects. For years and right now they are popular and getting a lot of exposure through councils, planted in the hundreds around roundabouts, traffic islands and they look very affective. When the leaves of the plant are rubbed on the skin, the garlic smell will repel mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, etc.