TUBEROSE (Polianthes tuberosa)
Planting time: Late winter, early spring.
Tuberose like warmer climates, can be grown in cooler climates but need protection from frost and strong winds. They dislike lime and prefer a soil pH 6.5-7. Attractive white flowers are formed on a spike on stems 60-80cm tall and are renowned for their delightful perfume. Tuberoses flower mid-late summer and make wonderful cut flowers. They can be grown in the garden
or in pots in full sun.
Plant the bulbs in soil heavily enriched with well-rotted organic matter. The bulbs need to be planted about 5cm deep and 15-20cm apart. The soil needs to be moist at the time of planting but keep it fairly dry until green tips emerge, then keep moist during the growing period. Keep the watering up until the foliage turns yellow and dies off. Once growth appears apply a complete fertiliser monthly.
Magnificent flowers are produced, so cutting them and enjoying them inside is ideal. Leave the bulbs in the ground and divide only every 2-3 years. Dig the bulbs around May and June, cut off the old leaves and allow to dry. Shake off dirt and trim the roots. Small bulbs can be separated and should flower in the following season. Once an individual bulb has bloomed it won’t flower again but will produce bulblets, which can be separated in early spring. Occasionally they will not flower in the first year after planting or after being disturbed.