How to grow a tuberose

Updated November 21, 2016

Polianthes tuberosa, whose common name is tuberous, is a flowering plant grown for its intensely fragrant waxy, tubular flowers. The flowers may be white, pink or red and appear atop tall scapes that may be upward of 4 feet tall. Tuberous flowers in the summer. The plants are hardy from USDA zone 8 through 11, but in zones 5 through 7 they should be planted in the spring, lifted in the fall and stored through the winter, as they are injured below 10 degrees Celsius.

Find a warm, sunny site with well-draining soil.

Amend and loosen soil with organic compost or other type of organic matter. This will improve drainage and enrich the soil -- tuberous is a heavy feeder.

Plant rhizome clumps 2 to 3 inches deep and 8 to 10 inches apart if growing tuberous in its hardiness zone. If you're planting it farther north, plant the clump slightly deeper, at a depth of about 4 inches.

Water the rhizomes generously, soaking the soil at planting. Continue to provide regular, weekly moisture throughout the growing season.

Mulch the plants when they appear. Mulch will help conserve soil moisture.

Water plants until the foliage turns brown. Up until that point, even though the flowers have died, the plant is accumulating and storing energy for the following season and water is still necessary.

Lift the rhizomes in the fall with a gardening fork. Let them air dry for about 10 days then pack them in vermiculite or peat in a paper bag or box. Store them someplace where the temperature doesn't fall below 21.1 degrees Celsius until spring when the rhizomes can be replanted.


The Pearl is a variety that produces double flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Gardening fork
  • Vermiculite or perlite
  • Paper bag or box
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About the Author

Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Dannah Swift has been writing since 2009. She writes about green living, careers and the home garden. Her writing has appeared on various websites. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of New Hampshire and is currently pursuing a certificate in paralegal studies.