Many gardeners believe these to have been native to Mexico, however they are native to Malaysia and the Phillipine islands. They're known by names such as Xinxiao in Singapore ("that on which the moth rests"), Sedep Malam in Malaysia ("Night Fragrant Flower" - belonging to the Javanese Goddess of the Southern Ocean), Rajnigandha in India ("Night Fragrant"), as Azucena in Cuba ("Madonna Lily"; Amaryllis) and by many other names across many cultures throughout the world.
Double-Flowered variety of Tuberose known as 'The Pearl' - while not as strongly scented, 'The Pearl' makes an excellent cut flower
Tuberose are known for their strong, intoxicating fragrance that increases in strength at night and can perfume an entire yard. Here are some quick facts about this plant:
18-36" (45-91 cm)
Late Summer through Fall
Grassy; Evergreen in Frost Free Climates
5-10-10 When Planting; Fertilize before and during bloom period for best flowering
Dividing Tubers/Corms and Offsets
It cannot be emphasized enough to choose carefully where you purchase your bulbs, and Tuberoses are no exception. Ideal bulbs will have several bulblets growing in a clump around the parent bulb. They will look a lot like a whole garlic bulb. Beware of nurseries and sellers online who are selling Tuberoses or any type of bulb and do not have accurate descriptions or photos of their bulbs, or do not describe the size and type of the bulb promised to you. A good source for tuberose bulbs is Tennessee Tuberoses or finding Tuberoses on eBay.
Notice the clumping of all the side bulbs around the parent plant. This is an extremely healthy bulb that will flower very reliably if given proper care. It has been said that the repeat blooming habit of Tuberose is due to the creation of these side bulblets throughout the growing season.
A Tuberose bulbs' first signs of growth emerging from the soil
If you garden in zone 8 or higher (winter temperatures do not drop below 15-20 F / -9.4 to -6.6 C for long periods), Tuberoses can be safely left in the ground. Otherwise, it is recommended to dig them after the first frosts and store them over winter in a frost free place.
LIFTING AND STORING: Work around sides of a clump of bulbs with a fork, lift the clump out, clip off the remaining foliage and remove all soil if you can. Avoid hosing it off.
DRYING: Leave in shade for a few days or spread them out on newspapers in a garage or basement until they seem dry. Depending on the size of the clump, this could take longer. If bulbs are stored damp, they will rot. Store in baskets or cardboard boxes so they get air. If possible, storage with dry peat or coco bark around them is good. Check on them about once per week to be sure none are rotting. Tuberoses like storage temps of 70-75 degrees - but at least keep them where the area is completely dry and the temperature is above freezing.
REPLANTING: After the last frost in Spring, plant the tubers back in the garden about 8 inches apart. Fertilize and water Tuberose throughout the summer if possible. Bulbs can be separated for greatly increased planting for the following year.
Tuberoses have been a garden favorite and celebrated around the world for centuries, and are welcome in any garden situation with proper care and handling!