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Plant Profile: Tuberose (Polianthus tuberosa aka Agave amica)

Native to Mexico, this tender perennial is in the asparagus family, Asparagaceaea, that also includes bluebell, yucca, and hosta. With a tuberous rhizome, the plant grows 2-3′ tall and forms a clump of grass-like, dull green leaves up to 18″ tall.  In late summer, elongated spikes of funnel-shaped, waxy, white to yellow flowers appear. Each flower is about an inch long and is intensely fragrant. Tuberose is suitable for beds, borders, and containers and should be sited where the outstanding fragrance can be enjoyed. The flowers remain fragrant and are good in the vase. The genus name, Polianthus, comes from the Greek words πολιός (poliós) meaning white, and ἄνθος (ánthos) flower. The specific epithet, tuberosa, is the Latin word meaning swollen and refers to the root system.

Type: Tender herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Elongated spikes of funnel-shaped, waxy, white to yellow flowers in late summer.

Size: 2-3′ H x 2-2.5′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Organically rich, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7 (with protection)-10

Care: Reduce watering as the foliage turns yellow in the fall; when foliage is dead, lift and store for the winter; divide every 3-4 years to maintain flowering

Pests and Diseases: None of significance; aphids, thrips and gray molds can be a problem

Propagation: Seed, offsets

Companion Plants: Dahlia, Crocosmia, petunia

Outstanding Selections:

‘Marginata’ (miniature variegated)

‘Mexican Single (single flowers)

‘The Pearl’ (double flowers)

Photo Credit: Aruna at ml.wikipedia