Tuberose (Polianthes) is one of the most pleasing, fragrant plants you can have in your garden. Because of the enticing aroma this plant is perfect for planting near your door, patio area or anywhere where people congregate in your garden.
This is a South American flower however because of its intoxicating scent it has been cultivated in Southern France for centuries for the perfume industry. FYI – just one oz of the essential oil will cost you $600 or more!
Classified for zones 8 & up but this doesn’t mean those of us in colder climates can’t grow it. You can either plant it as an annual or dig up the bulbs in the fall and store in a dark cool place until you replant them in the spring.
Tuberoses love the sun and do require planting in a full sun area of your garden, however do not let them dry out. Using a 3″ layer of mulch will help to keep the moisture in. Plant the bulbs about 6″ apart and cover with a couple inches of soil. They can be heavy feeders so apply a slow release granular fertilizer at the beginning of the season. Tuberose will bloom for you from mid to late summer and did I mention they smell amazing!
The foliage is grassy in appearance, similar to daylilies. Each stem carries a dozen or more white blooms. Note: in oppressive heat the blooms may stay closed so if your summer temps tend to be 35ºC or higher on a regular basis you should probably plant them where they can have some afternoon shade. They are great propagators and each stem will give you 5-10 bulbs. They do tend to bend towards the light but pinching off the top buds will avoid this.
Tuberose makes for an excellent cut flower as the blooms will last 7-14 days and they will make your house smell heavenly! When using them in a flower arrangement, they look great when combined with pale lilac and white amaryllis. For bouquets; cut when the first flowers are starting to open. Flowers are available in single and double forms. Single Mexican variety is the easiest to grow and blooms early. Double Pearl variety has shorter plants, the flowers have blush tips and the blooms are fully double.
All in all Tuberose is a wonderful addition to your garden. With just a little TLC you will enjoy these blooms for many years to come!