Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Tuberose ( Polianthes tuberosa )




This is a plant I lusted after up north and one of the first ones I planted down here. The first year it did nothing. So I moved it to a sunnier location. Late its fall it bloomed its first bloom and only bloom for the year. When the weather got cold I cut the bloom and kept it inside for several weeks. Again the next year one and only one bloom, but it arrived a bit earlier and the plant is spreading.

The first few years it would bloom in January, then the blooms would die from the cold. Last winter was much colder than normal and it was late July before the tuberose reappeared. Now it is early Aug and the tuberose has been up and blooming for a couple of weeks. It took almost 5 years for this plant to settle in and sync with the local seasons.

The bottom looks much like society garlic, just smooth, soft grass. The scent of the flower is why it is grown, it is used in Channel No. 5 and other perfumes. The scent is amazing.

Flowers are on tall stalks, I’ve had to stake them, reaching about 3′ tall they can reach 4′ if conditions are right. I’ve only had 1-3 flower stalks in any given year. It blooms in January and flowers are frequently damaged or drop if we get a cold spell.

Tuberose wants lots of sun to bloom which it will do very late summer, early fall.

I’m told it does not like to be too wet, so plant it somewhere it will get good drainage during our rainy times. It will need to be thinned out and divided every few years.

Tuberosa is native to Mexico, the Aztecs cultivated the plant. It is one of the first plants brought to Europe. Victorian gardeners loved them and no garden was complete without one.