This plant's long spikes studded with intensely fragrant white flowers have made tuberose a long-time garden favorite. Native to Mexico, tuberose can be grown outdoors in warm areas or started in pots and then moved to the garden when the weather warms in colder places. Tuberose prefers rich, slightly acid soil and constant moisture. When they are first planted, the tubers are highly susceptible to rot, so it's important to avoid over-watering at this time. With proper care, the tubers can be easily dug and stored, providing year after year of beauty and fragrance in your garden.
Prepare a partly shaded place in the garden in early spring. Enrich the soil with organic compost or manure. If the soil is alkaline, lower the pH by adding peat moss or chicken manure.
Choose firm, healthy tubers, which show a tiny green growing tip. Fill the 1-gallon pots with potting soil, and plant the tubers 2 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart, with the green tips pointed upward. Keep the potted plants warm and protect them from drafts. In frost free areas you can plant the tubers directly in the prepared bed using the same spacing. Water tubers thoroughly at planting time, but do not water again until after the first leaves appear.
Plant your young tuberose plants in the garden when the danger of frost has passed. The tubers will be injured at temperatures below 50 degrees F. Keep them well watered, and feed them monthly with liquid fertilizer made for acid-loving plants.
Stop giving the plants food or water when their leaves begin to turn yellow in the fall. Dig up the tubers with the hand trowel before the first frost, gently brush off the soil and dry them in the shade for a few days. Place them in a paper bag filled with sawdust or dry peat moss, and store them over the winter in a warm place. In frost-free areas, tuberose can remain in the ground year-round.