Two years ago I bought a plant at Home Depot that I had not seen for sale before. It was a new cultivar of Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) called ‘Purpleicious.’ At first it looked to be one of those plants that would be too good to be true. Society Garlic with purple leaves? No way. So I decided to purchase one plant in order to test it in my garden and see if it had the same hardiness and carefree growing style as the more common garden variety of Society Garlic. Some cultivars of plants can become weaker than the parent plants as they are developed over time. Hybridizers choose color or appearance over hardiness in those cases. Another thing I wanted to test was whether or not the purple coloration was stable. I have purchased different colored plant cultivars before only to watch the colors fade or revert to the more common cultivar forms over time.
Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) is a clumping perennial with narrow, garlic-scented leaves and fragrant lilac flowers. Society Garlic is an armchair gardener fan favorite thanks to its decorative uses plus pest and disease-free hardiness. Society Garlic ‘Purpleicious’ is a wonderful new cultivar of Tulbaghia violacea and most closely resembles Society Garlic ‘Silver Lace’ (Variegated Society Garlic). What separates Society Garlic ‘Purpleicious’ is the purple leaf margins verses white in Society Garlic ‘Silver Lace.’
Plant Type: Grass-like, Perennial Accent Plant
Mature Size: 12-18 Inches High and 24 Inches Wide
Water Requirements: Low: Drought Tolerant
Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Flower Color: Lilac Pink
After growing the plant shown below in my garden for two years now, I can say with great confidence that the purple leaf margins that make this new cultivar so appealing are indeed stable. Coloration is best coming out of winter and heading into spring. From below, you can see that when paired with ‘Silver Lace,’ ‘Purpleicious’ really stands out and earns its name.
Landscape Use: This attractive ornamental plant from South Africa is a very versatile perennial for almost any garden theme. It works just as well in a rock garden as it does in a more tropical setting. It has become the #1 go-to accent plant in my garden. The purple and green leaves of Society Garlic ‘Purpleicious’ make it work well with many different kinds of companion plants.
Bloom: Star-shaped, lilac pink flowers at the end of long stems. Long flowering period from early spring through late fall. Looking at the flowers of Society Garlic ‘Purpleicious’ you would assume they are delicate; instead, they are tough and long-lasting.
Longevity: The perfect perennial for those weekend gardeners without a green thumb. As a pest and disease-free perennial, Society Garlic ‘Purpleicious’ can live for decades in the garden. I have some Society Garlic ‘Silver Lace’ growing that were first planted in my garden 12 years ago.
Drought Tolerance: Once established, Society Garlic ‘Purpleicious’ proves to be very drought tolerant, growing and flowering with just once a week waterings in summer. Water can be completely shut off during the winter.