Once spring arrives, it’s time to start thinking about your summer color display while enjoying the gorgeous blooms of your spring bulbs. What comes next? For a start, you can plant up some tuberoses!
The gorgeous, soft shades of pink, lilac, lemon- cream yellow and white are just what you need in the heat of the summer. As for the fragrance, it’s so superb that these plants are even used in the perfume industry! Tuberoses also make elegant cut flowers, allowing you to bring the scented blooms indoors.
The blooms of Polianthes tuberosa smell wonderful during the day, but the scent intensifies by night – wonderful for summer evenings when the weather is just right for lounging around outdoors.
Which cultivar should I choose?
Plant a harmonious mixture of colors or you can also select single colors for a more formal look.
Including the flower stems, your plants will reach a height of 20-30” – very effective for mid-border plantings or on their own. They’ll start blooming in mid-summer and they’ll keep on flowering until the early frosts arrive. That’s quite an extended blooming period!
How about some growing tips?
There’s surprisingly little you need to know. Simply plant your bulbs at the correct depth (2 – 4”) and leave 6-8” of space between each bulb. They like well-composted, freely draining soil and a sunny position.
Try growing them in large pots on a sunny patio, they thrive in containers. Imagine an attractive terracotta or glazed ceramic pot choc-full of gorgeous tuberoses – simply stunning!
When the bulbs are dormant (the foliage will yellow and die back), you will probably have to lift them, but gardeners in USDA zones 9 – 10 can leave them in place if they prefer. Leave them to dry for a few days, dust off any soil that is still clinging to the bulbs and store them in a well-ventilated place. Re-plant your bulbs in spring and you’ll be enjoying the scent of tuberoses next summer, too!
Some interesting facts about Polianthes
This plant was first brought to Europe from Mexico during the 1500’s. The Spaniards fell in love with the beautiful colors and above all, the divine scent of the blooms, and the rest is history. Today, people all over the world plant tuberoses in their summer flower gardens.
It may come as a surprise to hear that these precious plants are now thought to be extinct in the wild. Thank goodness for gardeners who love flowers, or the Tuberose might have been lost and forgotten.
In India, the scent of the tuberose is particularly prized, and it is a favourite flower for wedding garlands. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine believe that the scent of the tuberose promotes relaxation – they are probably quite right about that! They also say that the seductive scent improves sexual function – so the tuberose is sexy too!