There has been a lot of talk about fragrances in the garden, and specifically a plant which has a nice fragrance, tuberoses. Who doesn't love fragrance? My friend Geri gardens pretty much based SOLELY on fragrance. I think that is kind of funny but it is her passion. She should get some of these pretty flowers several of you readers have talked about. Lola first mentioned them, Nina grows them and Dawn with Peaches would like to buy some. Nina found a source at Dutch Gardens, (item number 62854).
Growing instructions as provided by Lola, say you need a very well drained area. Tuberoses, botanically known as Polyianthes tuberosa, are described in The Southern Living Garden Book as southern heritage plants. They need a warm season to grow with at least 4 months before flowering. Set rhizomes in the ground two inches deep in a well drained area after the soil has warmed, or start indoors in pots.
The Southern Living Garden Book also says that if temperatures remain above 20 degrees all year, rhizomes may be left in the ground. In Tennessee you will need to remove the rhizomes each year because our temperatures usually dip below 20 degrees. Wait until the leaves have yellowed then dig the rhizomes, allow to dry for a few days then store in peat moss or sawdust in a dry area which remains above freezing, such as a garage. Full sun is required for successfully growing these flowers.
Flowers are described as extraordinarily fragrant and cutting fresh flowers is highly encouraged. Tuberoses are heavy feeders and will require regular applications of a balanced fertilizer throughout the growing season.
A most commonly grown variety of tuberose is 'The Pearl', pictured above. Sure is beautiful. I have never heard of these but would not mind trying it out-even if I have to dig the rhizomes! This variety is the same Nina pointed us to at Dutch Gardens.
Nina sent me some of her tuberoses and I will potting them up soon. She tells a story about her sister being in a garden club here in Tennessee where the welcoming present is a gift of tuberoses. Apparently they multiply well and so the ladies wanted to share. I am looking forward to mine multiplying so I can share as well.
Nina also sent me storage instructions for my northern readers and maybe even some Tennesseean gardeners who want to err on the side of safety. Dig the tubers carefully while keeping as much soil as possible, let the soil dry then store the tubers in a box with peat moss, sawdust or perlite for the winter. Do not allow the bulbs to freeze.
in the garden....learning from you fellow commenters so much more than I ever imagined.