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Society Garlic, Pink Agapanthus

Tulbaghia violacea

Family: Amaryllidaceae (am-uh-ril-id-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tulbaghia (tul-BAG-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: violacea (vy-oh-LAH-see-uh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round

Suitable for growing in containers


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer




Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)

Anniston, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Goodyear, Arizona

Kingman, Arizona

Paradise Valley, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Anaheim, California

Aptos, California

Bakersfield, California

Beaumont, California

Castro Valley, California

Clayton, California

Concord, California

Elk Grove, California

Fairfield, California

Fresno, California

Garberville, California

Gilroy, California

Hesperia, California

Huntington Beach, California

Le Grand, California

Los Altos, California

Martinez, California

Menifee, California

Merced, California

Oak Park, California

Oak View, California

Oakland, California

Palm Springs, California

Redwood City, California

Ridgecrest, California

Riverside, California

Roseville, California

Sacramento, California

Salinas, California

San Diego, California

Temecula, California

Vista, California

Wildomar, California

Parker, Colorado

Auburndale, Florida

Bartow, Florida (2 reports)

Big Pine Key, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Gibsonton, Florida

Hobe Sound, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida (4 reports)

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lake City, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Miami, Florida

Miami Beach, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

Orange Springs, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Satellite Beach, Florida

Shalimar, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Braselton, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Mililani, Hawaii

French Settlement, Louisiana

Lafayette, Louisiana

Ruston, Louisiana

Scott, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

Florence, Mississippi

Mathiston, Mississippi

Henderson, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Roswell, New Mexico

Charlotte, North Carolina

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Grassy Creek, North Carolina

Jacksonville, North Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Florence, South Carolina

Ladson, South Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Collierville, Tennessee

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Alice, Texas

Anderson, Texas

Austin, Texas (2 reports)

Baytown, Texas

Blanket, Texas

Boerne, Texas

Brownsville, Texas

Bulverde, Texas

College Station, Texas

Colleyville, Texas

Conroe, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)

Georgetown, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

Houston, Texas (5 reports)

Irving, Texas

Leander, Texas

Lufkin, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

New Caney, Texas

Odessa, Texas

Pearland, Texas

Pinehurst, Texas

Port Lavaca, Texas (2 reports)

Richmond, Texas

Rockport, Texas (2 reports)

San Antonio, Texas (3 reports)

Willis, Texas

Manassas, Virginia

Blakely Island, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 12, 2016, DesertTrip from Kingman, AZ wrote:

This was the very first plant we put in on our bare desert property when we moved in. Someone recommended it as a deterrent to pests, and for the cats to chew on.

The cats chewed on it once and never again. Now in it's 3rd summer, it is still growing nice and thick, and yet not taking over. It blooms almost all summer into early fall. The leaves die back in our coldest weather, so I do cover it when it is 20* and below but I read I don't need to.

Some complain about the smell. I like it. It is a subtle garlic scent and I only notice it when I water it.

As far as watering, I put what is left of my nightstand water on it every morning and an occasional deep watering. It's a pretty plant by my backdoor and I am glad to have it.


On Jan 15, 2015, Emma60 from Grassy Creek, NC (Zone 6a) wrote:

I grew this plant last year for the first time and absolutely loved it. Yes, it does have an odor, and that's why it has "garlic" in the common name, but it doesn't travel all that far and the long-blooming violet flowers make up for it in abundance. I'm not sure yet if it will survive Zone 6b, so I dug up a bulb to overwinter just in case.


On Aug 9, 2014, gumsie from Aptos, CA wrote:

We have a number of Society garlic in our yard and find them virtually care free. Recently we have had a problem with the centers of the plant dying. Our yard man thinks the gophers are eating them. We are in a drought area and try our best to save as much water as possible. Has anyone had such gopher problems? Thanks from Aptos,CA.


On Aug 13, 2012, Bakersfield from Bakersfield, CA wrote:

Here in the central California valley area, zones 8-9, landscapers use the dainlty-looking, but tough, Society Garlic as an accent plant. It tolerates our long, blistering-hot summers better than Agapanthus, which burns and yellows. You've probably discovered another great benefit of using these dainty gems in your landscape: "Society" Garlic makes snails, slugs, and all your neighbors' well-fed dogs and cats positively UNsociable. They wander into your flower bed, take a whiff, turn up their delicate little noses (antennae), and make a beeline for your next-door-neighbors' flower beds, instead.


On Jan 10, 2012, atn2002 from Pasadena, CA wrote:

This plant smells bad ALL the time. The smell is similar to SKUNK with some raw SEWAGE tossed in. When the plant is wet with rain or irrigation, the smell is worse. We had them ripped out and discarded. For an alternative, check out tulbaghia fragrans.


On Oct 8, 2011, imadunloggin from Angels City, CA wrote:

We live in lovely home that we rent. There are three society garlic plants in the front yard along the driveway. We have now lived here for over a year and they just flat "STINK" year 'round! When guests come to visit they always ask "what is that awful smell?". The plants do seem to keep the deer away but we are thinking about removing them because the aroma is just too awful all the actually makes us nauseous!!!!


On Oct 2, 2011, 2QandLearn from Menifee, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I've been wondering about how its flowers are pollinated, or if they ever are, a mine have never had seeds . . . Maybe they don't self-pollinate, & all of mine are from the same clump!

Anyway, I found this comment about the pollination of Tulbaghias:

". . . Most of the species of Tulbaghia are adapted for moth pollination and have dull flowers that become sweetly scented at night. T. violacea seems likely to be pollinated by butterflies and bees as they are scented during the day. . ."

The flowers of my clumps of Tulbaghia are 'dull' during the day, & I've never seen either bees or butterflies o... read more


On Dec 1, 2010, julia42 from Pearland, TX wrote:

It really does stink. I assumed it would just smell strongly of garlic, so I plucked some pods to collect the seeds, as it is a pretty little plant. I'd say the smell is more of a combination of garlic + skunk. I'm still not sure whether I really want to plant such a smelly plant, even at the back of my garden. I might - I hear it's a good companion plant as pests don't really want to go near it either...


On Apr 30, 2010, Elisabbeth from Jacksonville, NC wrote:

Continuous blooms to frost here in zone 8a, humid coastal NC. Loves the drought in clay, very little fertilizer needed. Neat and tidy, can handle the wind. what could be this great without a problem?
The months of continuous, no bother blooming is WORTH IT for a day or two of stink when it freezes or you cut it.
No muss, no fuss, several years now in my front garden.


On Dec 12, 2009, cam2 from Houston, TX wrote:

This is a really great plant! I take the flowers and sprinkle them on potato soup, chili or a fresh salad. They add a really nice little crunch and a mild garlic burst.


On Nov 23, 2009, dordee from Silex, MO wrote:

i am neutral because i haven't grown it yet. i am in zone 5, microclimate slightly warmer. so far this winter, we have had 29 degrees and my mini roses, geraniums and petunias are still going strong. matter of fact, so are my mandevillas and impatiens. my question: if i cut down in winter and mulch heavily with oak leaves (in middle of oak/hickory forest so hve lots of them) would they make it thru the winter or should i just put them in pots and bring them in for the winter?


On Jun 20, 2009, flaflwrgrl from Allthingsplants, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have it in my xeri yard, both in full sun and part shade; it does well in all locations. Tough, pretty, not bothered by pests or disease. I don't mind the odor at all & neither does my dog. In fact, I rather like the smell of it when I'm in that area.


On Jun 7, 2009, weatherguesser from Salinas, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have two clumps of Society Garlic -- one growing in semi-shade and one in nearly full shade, and both doing quite well, so the Full Sun caveat might not be strictly true. Both clumps bloom reliably every year and neither seems to be bothered by our (admittedly relatively mild) winters in Zone 9B. That includes the major freeze three winters ago that did in many of my other plants.

I use rubber gloves when deadheading and removing dead leaves; otherwise my hands pick up the smell and it takes a couple of weeks to get rid of it completely. Other than the aroma, however, it's a nice plant that takes little maintenance and has nice blooms reliably for most of the late spring and summer here.


On Sep 19, 2008, JCS1 from Lake Mary, FL wrote:

I recently moved to Florida, and was unfamiliar with deer on my property. Society Garlic was recommended by a local landscaper to repel deer. I started using it as a companion plant (AWAY from the house!) for hibiscius, and other flowering plants that deer have a liking for, and have kept out of the neighborhood. This plant really works as a deer repellent. It also tolerates both standing water (for up to a few weeks), and drought, and it is easy to divide. I wouldn't recommend planting it for close up viewing of the flowers, as you want to keep a distance between you and the plant. I even hide it in the middle of outdoor containers to protect container plants located a distance from the house.


On Oct 31, 2007, Michaelp from Glendale, UT (Zone 5a) wrote:

I eat the leaves like Garlic Chives, in my salad, it has not made me sick. -I wonder --Has any one here actually been sick from eating this? I would like to know others experience.


On Jun 20, 2007, tutulady from Vancouver, WA wrote:

I bought this plant twice..first in a specialty plant store then this year as a water I am trying to get info on how to keep this as a water plant..any suggestions?


On Jul 13, 2006, greenbud from Houston, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Low maintenance, drought tolerant, pretty purple flowers, clumping gradually spreading growth habit. I love having it in my front yard flower bed. But it >stinks


On Jul 7, 2006, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I made the mistake of using some Society Garlic in a flower arrangement once -- gosh, what a stinking floral creation that was! In my garden planting, I only notice the smell if I am working in close proximity of the plant and disturb its foliage. I am also growing the white flowered variety of Society Garlic. These plants are drought resistant and totally easy care, dependable performers in my climate. It is often used for commerical landscaping around businesses and office buildings.



On May 31, 2005, sharikamp from Marietta, GA wrote:

I like this pretty plant, even though it's kinda stinky at times. When it froze last winter it smelled like something died in my backyard. But all was well when I figured it out and cut it back to the ground. Back again pretty as ever this spring!


On Sep 19, 2004, catfishred2000 from Fresno, CA wrote:

I love this plant grows quick pretty does not take over. Its a must for a garden. I plant it around my roses and spots i want the dogs to stay away. I just sep a clump thats 2 years old.... i got 8 starts and ya can't tell i did any thing to the plant!!!.


On Jul 11, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I strongly suggest that you do not plant this along a walkway in your garden, even if you do like the smell of garlic.


On Jul 10, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love the way they look, my neighbor has some variegated once mixed in with the regular ones, Personally, I have a love/ hate relationship, I have it in the back of my garden, bordering my Rose of Sharons, I only have to smell it at the end of the season when I trim the spent flowers, it is a very hardy plant here, no care! full sun. And don't get me wrong, I love GARLIC.


On Jul 10, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

I remember that I brought home the bulb of this plant. Not knowing what it was, I kinda dissected the bulb. The smell was strong, and it persisted in my room for weeks. I still can recognize this smell right away.


On Oct 1, 2003, JenniferG from Shalimar, FL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I've been growing this for 13 years. I had it in full shade at first where it did well and bloomed well. The site was near the pool and the garlic smell was overpowering. So I moved it to the edge of the yard near the street. It's very hot by the asphalt and doggies visit, too. But it blooms very well. You can still smell garlic walking by. The stems of spent flowers turn tan and need to be trimmed off to keep the plant attractive. An all-season job. After winter I prune the old leaves to the ground. A good plant for the right site.


On Aug 16, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, TX
This is a low maintenance plant that produces flowers (1.5 to 2.0 feet above the plant) continuously from March to November. It flowers more abundantly in full sun or morning sun and filtered afternoon shade. The blooms are among the longest lasting (from time of opening to time of fading)in my gardens. The foliage is a beautiful texture and serves as a filler among my other perennials. When the plants look a little shabby if planted in pots, repot into a larger container and/or divide and repot. Being one of my favorites, I am now dividing them and planting them in many areas of my yard. An excellent xeriscape plant!


On Jun 9, 2002, signal20 from Orlando, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Used as a low border, continous blooms during the warm season. Low-maintenance plant. I have grown it in sand, wet loam, and containers. Very drought tolerant, however will have reduced blooms until next heavy watering. Fertilize as needed to produce blooms. Produces thick "straws" when bloom dies, cut these out for a better looking plant.


On Jun 6, 2001, dave wrote:

The name "Society Garlic" comes from an ancient belief that this garlic can be eaten without causing bad breath. Some sources have reported that it may cause vomiting and should be grown only for ornamental purposes; other sources indicate the leaves can be eaten like chives.

Supposedly it helps repel bugs from the garden, so this is a likely candidate to be used as a companion plant for vegetables.