These perennial weeds grow from underground bulbs. They are easily recognized by the garlic or onion odor of their crushed leaves. The slender, hollow leaves grow 10 to 15 inches tall. Greenish-purple or white flowers bloom from May to July. Bulbs and bulblets form in the summer. Some germinate in the fall; others remain dormant in the soil for a year or two before germination. Wild garlic and onion thrive in heavy soil and tolerate wet soil. They are hardy to both cold and drought. They spread rapidly and are difficult to control.
Hand-digging is impractical in hard soil because any bulbs left behind will sprout into new plants. Onions and garlic can be successfully hand-pulled after a rain or in soft soil.