Herb Profile: Society Garlic
Overview: Society garlic is a perennial, semi-evergreen plant that is native to South Africa. This plant is a member of the amaryllidaceae family which includes other ornamental plants such as amaryllis, daffodil, lily-of-the-valley, snowdrop and spider lily.
Latin Name: Tulbaghia violacea
Common Name: Society garlic, aka wild garlic
Zones: Hardy to USDA Zone 8 with winter protection. Society garlic is susceptible to frost damage if the temperate drops below 25° Fahrenheit.
Mature Size: Mature society garlic plants can grow to be 18 to 24 inches high and 10 inches wide.
Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade in a well-drained soil.
Growing Tips: Society garlic forms dense, grass-like clumps of dark green leaves and is typically grown as an ornamental, landscaping plant. It makes a nice edging plant to grow along borders and walkways. Society garlic produces clumps of star-shaped flowers on the end of long stems. This plant can often be purchased from garden and nursery centers in either a white flowering, or the more common, violet flowering variety.
Starting New Plants: Society garlic can easily be propagated by digging up a clump and dividing it into smaller sections. The smaller sections can be replanted in another location of the garden or planted in containers. Container grown plants can be grown indoors or out. If growing society garlic indoors, make sure that it receives adequate sunlight.
Maintenance Tips: Society garlic is susceptible to aphids, whiteflies and southern blight, which is a type of fungal disease. To avoid these problems, ensure the plants get adequate sunlight and are not over-watered or grown in too shady of a location.
Parts Used: The entire plant is edible and all parts have an aroma and flavor which is like a garlicky onion. The leaves can be harvested and used as a chive substitute. The bulbous portion, at the base of each leaf, can be used as a green onion substitute. The flowers can be sprinkled on top of salads, or finely chopped and added to softened butter.
Storage: Society garlic is best used fresh. The leaves, which are similar to garlic chives, may be frozen if they are going to be added to soups, stews or sauces.
Lynn Smythe of The Creative Cottage
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