By Heather Rhoades
The tuberose is noted not only for its beauty but for its delightful fragrance as well. It has been commonly used in the perfume making industry for hundreds of years. Tuberose bulbs also do well when planted in pots and containers. They can be used as accents in mixed beds, planted en mass or used for borders in your garden.
Tuberose Plant Info
Tuberose flowers grow on spiking stems that stalk up to three feet high. The beautiful, white, ten-inch tubular shaped flowers grow between sword-shaped leaves. There are both single and double flowering varieties to choose from.
Tuberose is a member of the Agavaceae (Agave) family of plants. It’s scientific name is Polianthes tuberosa. It is a Mexican native and is mostly grown in the southern hemisphere but can do nicely in the north if planted in a protected sunny location. They are slow growers and you will need to have patience while waiting for them to pop out of the ground. That being said, these tropical beauties are well worth your time.
How to Grow Tuberose Flowers
Plant tuberose bulbs in spring after all danger of frost is gone from your area. These flowering bulbs like high temperatures and cannot be left in the ground year round, unless you live in zones 8 and above.
Plant tuberose bulbs in a spot where they will receive a full day of sun. Growing tuberoses prefer to be kept on the dry side and need rich well-drained, somewhat sandy, soil. They won’t do well if their feet are stuck in the mud all day. Before planting, watch your chosen location for any puddling after heavy rainfall.
Tuberose bulbs need to be planted at a depth where they will have two inches of soil above their heads and spaced approximately eight to ten inches apart.
Care of Tuberose Bulbs
When caring for your growing tuberoses, water thoroughly after planting and then at regular intervals if natural rainfall doesn’t occur weekly. Also, tuberose is a big eater and needs plenty of 8-8-8 fertilizer during the growing season to do well.
Your tuberose flowers will bloom in mid to late summer. Tuberose plants make lovely scented, cut flowers for use in bouquets and vases. Cutting the flowers will not damage your plants as long as you use a sharp pair of shears during their removal.
After the bloom is gone from your tuberose plants, leave the foliage intact until it dies back naturally and continue watering as usual. The foliage provides nutrition for the bulbs and if cut back, your bulb will not flower next year.
Once the leaves of your tuberose plant have turned yellow, it is safe to cut them back. After the first light frost of the season (in zones 8 and under) carefully dig up your tuberose bulbs to remove them. Let them air dry for about a week before packing them away in a cool, dry place for winter storage. A paper bag filled with peat moss makes an appropriate bed for overwintering your bulbs.