The National Collection of Tulbaghias

Tulbaghias are a genus of mainly deciduous, somethings evergreen, rhizomatous, or bulbous, herbaceous perennials. They are in the family Amaryllidaceae and classified under Alliaceae, along with Allium, Agapanthus and Ipheion.

The foliage varies from strap-shaped to grass-like, and some have the distinctive odour of onions or garlic. The dainty, tubular flowers are carried in umbels of varying colour, most commonly from soft pink, rose pink and white, and form with most having a distinctive trumpet shaped, fleshy corona. Overall, they can resemble a very dainty Agapanthus.

There are 22 species, all native to countries to countries in tropical and temperate Southern Africa. In their native countries they have both medicinal and economic properties.

The majority of Tulbaghias can be pot-grown in a free draining, but moisture retentive, loam-based compost under cool glasshouse conditions. A few species may be grown outside in a sheltered, sunny boarder or rock garden.

The plants become dormant from November until the end of February, and this is the ideal time to divide and re-pot, to remove old soil and dead roots. This will encourage vigour as well as being a reliable form of propagation.

The Collection

Marwood Hill Gardens has held a Plant Heritage National Collection of Tulbaghia since 1991. In 2019 with the aid of a grant from Plant Heritage, a glasshouse was built specifically to display the present collection.

We currently hold 14 species which form the nucleus of the collection with a few different forms and some yet to be identified. They can be seen flowering from spring until Autumn-March-September.

The following is a list of the species, and where they can be found in the wild. Those held in the Gardens are marked with an asterisk*.

VOSA 2000 Synopsis of Classification

  1. CAPENSIS* – Southern Cape Namaqualand
  2. ALLIACEA* – Southern Africa to South Zimbabwe
  3. CERNUA* – Eastern Cape to Northern Transvaal
  4. LUDWIGIANA* – Central and South-East Cape, Natal
  5. DREGEANA – Western Cape
  6. TUNUIOR – North-Western Cape Province and Transvaal
  7. NUTANS – Eastern Cape Province and Transvaal
  8. MACROCARPA – Zimbabwe
  9. TRANSVAALENSIS – North-Eastern Transvaal
  10. ACUTILOBA* – Eastern Cape – Natal Swaziland
  11. SIMMLERI* – Transvaal, Northern Drakensberg
  12. GALPINII – Eastern Cape
  13. LEUCANTHA* – Eastern Cape – Swaziland – Zimbabwe
  14. NATALENSIS* – KwaZulu – Natal
  15. VERDOORNIAE – Eastern Cape, Transkei
  16. CODDII* – Northern Transvaal
  17. MONTANA* – South-Eastern slope of Natal Drakensberg
  18. CAMERONII – Tropical Zambia – Malawi – Tanzania
  19. RHODESICA – Zambia – Southern Tanzania
  20. VIOLACEA* – Natal and Cape Province
  21. COMINSII* – Eastern Cape
  22. PRETORIENSIS – Pretoria (Gauteng Province) South Africa

Please note: Only a limited variety of our Tulbaghia collection are available for sale.