How to Grow Polianthes Plants

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Tuberose, Scent of the Night, and King of Fragrance

Polianthes are a genus of half hardy perennials. They can reach from between 20 cm and 1.2 m (8 inches to 4 feet) in height.

Although they are perennials, many people like to grow them as annuals in the garden, for best results in cooler areas.

Tuberose by Faeparson; creative commons.

They bloom from late on in the summer until autumn, when Polianthes carry white fragrant tubular flowers.

A common name for the Polianthes plant is Tuberose.

Polianthes tuberosa
Polianthes tuberosa by Flowerfreak, creative commons.

Polianthes Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Tuberose, Scent of the Night, King of Fragrance, Spice Lily.
Life Cycle: Half hardy perennial commonly grown as a half hardy annual by gardeners.
Height: Usually 18 to 36 inches (45 to 90 cm).
Native: Americas, Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 6 to 10. As a perennial in zones 9 and 10.

Flowers: The end of summer and autumn.
Flower Details: Grey, white. Fragrant. Waxy. Tubular. Lily-like.
Foliage: Long lily-like leaves. Strap/Sword-like clasped leaves.

Sow Outside: Bury tubers 3 inches (8 cm) deep. Mid -spring: temperature should not drop below 60°F (16°C). Spacing 7 to 8 inches (18 to 20 cm).

Requirements: Full sunlight. Soil pH 6 to 7. Soils rich in humus. Provide support. Regular watering and fortnightly feeds from spring until the end of the growing season in summer. Bring tubers indoors in for the winter in cool areas. Propagate: tubers can be divided in the spring.
Family: Asparagaceae.
Miscellaneous: The latin word Polianthes has the meaning Grey flower. Plants from this genus are often used in perfumery.

How to Grow Tuberose

It is best to grow tuberose from tubers. These should be buried at about 8 cm (~2.5 to 3 inches) in mid to late spring.

The Tuberose tubers should be spaced at about 15 to 20 cm (6 to 8 inches) apart. Locate in a sunny area of the garden.

Idealistically, Tuberose should grow in a soil rich in humus and of pH 6 to 7.5.

Caring for Tuberose and other Polianthes species

If you require more Tuberose and other Polianthes plants in you garden, then they can be propagated by dividing their tubers in the spring time.

Members of Polianthes are easy to care for. They should be watered frequently, and fed with liquid fertiliser every couple of weeks.

Common Questions

How many members does the Polianthes genus contain?

The Polianthes genus contains about 15 species.

Do Polianthes members make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Polianthes are appreciated for their tall, elegant flower spikes and their strong, sweet fragrance. They make excellent border plants.

Which Polianthes species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown species is Polianthes tuberosa (Tuberose). Its highly fragrant, white flowers are a favorite in many gardens.

Are Polianthes plants fragrant?

Yes, Polianthes tuberosa is known for its strong, sweet fragrance, which is particularly noticeable in the evening and at night.

What is the perfect location to grow Polianthes?

Polianthes prefers a sunny spot with well-drained soil. They thrive in a location with full sun and can tolerate some partial shade.

Is Polianthes invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Polianthes species are not listed as invasive in the USA. However, gardeners should always monitor these plants for signs of aggressive growth.

How do I remove Polianthes plants from my garden?

To remove Polianthes, you can dig up the plant, ensuring to remove all of the bulb and root system to prevent regrowth.


The Polianthes genus belongs to the Asparagaceae family. It comprises perennial plants commonly known as tuberoses, distinguished for their elegant, highly fragrant flowers on tall spikes.

Polianthes plants thrive in full sun and prefer well-drained soil. Plant the bulbs in spring after the danger of frost has passed. They are a great addition to flower beds or containers, filling the garden with their intense, sweet fragrance.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Polianthes plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Brodiaea, Actinidia kolomikta, Edelweiss, and Yucca plant.