Polianthes tuberosa

Common Name: tuberose 
Type: Bulb
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Known only in cultivation
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy, Fragrant


Winter hardy to USDA Zone 7 with protection. Grow in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. To grow plants in the ground in the St. Louis area, plant rhizomes 2” deep and 6-8” apart in spring after the last frost date. Provide consistent moisture throughout the growing season. When foliage begins to yellow in fall, taper off watering. Lift rhizomes after foliage dies back, dry and store covered in a dry medium such as peat or vermiculite. For growing in pots or containers, rhizomes may be started indoors in early spring with pots brought outdoors to a sunny location after threat of frost has passed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Polianthes tuberosa, commonly called tuberose, is probably native to Mexico although it is not known to exist naturally in the wild today. It is considered to be a cultigen and has a long history of cultivation dating back to pre-Columbian times. Growing from a tuberous rooted rhizome, it is perhaps best known for the extremely intense fragrance emitted by its waxy white funnel-shaped flowers that appear in elongated spikes atop scapes rising to 30” tall in late summer. Grass-like basal green leaves to 18” long form a grassy foliage clump. Tuberose is a very popular commercially grown cut flower.

Genus name comes from the Greek words polios meaning whitish and anthos meaning a flower.

Specific epithet means tuberous.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids.


Locate plants near patios, walks, decks or other living space so that the fragrant flowers may be enjoyed to the fullest.