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Products > Tulbaghia violacea 'Savannah Lightning'
 
Tulbaghia violacea 'Savannah Lightning' - White Society Garlic
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Perennial
Family: Alliaceae (~Amaryllidaceae)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Lavender
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: 1-3 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Tulbaghia violacea 'Savannah Lightning' (White Society Garlic) - A clumping evergreen perennial with fat, tuberous roots from which emerge flexible green grass-like 1 foot long by 1/4 inch wide blue-green leaves. From spring into fall, and sometimes longer in frost free areas, arise slender stalks to 18 inches high topped by an umbel of about 10 to 20 small pure white flowers. The foliage has a strong garlic-like odor on warm days and when bruised by touching or from frost. Plant in coastal full sun to light shade (this variety prefers more shade than others) with occasional to regular irrigation - somewhat drought tolerant but always looks better with more regular watering. Should prove hardy and evergreen to around 23F and root hardy to around 0F and useful in USDA Zone 7 and above. Will make a nice low border plant or for the edge of the lawn, a pond. Keep in mind the foliage smell as it can be very strong and some find it objectionable. This smell is noted to keep animals (cats, dogs, deer away and perhaps even snails and slugs) but use rubber gloves when deadheading and resist the temptation to use the flowers indoors for flower arrangements. The leaves and flowers can be used raw or cooked in food preparation. This species comes from southern Africa (KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Province) where it grows along forest margins and stream banks and was used for food and medicine by the indigenous Zulu tribes. The genus was named to honor Ryk Tulbagh (1699-1771) the early governor of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and the specific epithet means violet-like in reference to the color of the flowers. It is called Society Garlic, possibly because the scent is not quite as strong its relative, true garlic (Allium sativum). It was introduced by Fisk Horticulture of South Africa and is being marketed in the US by Star Roses and Plants. The image on this page courtesy of Frisk Horticulture.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Tulbaghia 'Savannah Lightning'.