The Q&A Archives: Polianthes Tuberosa

Question: I just purchased Polianthes Tuberosa and would like to know what you can tell me about it. I'm hoping it is what I saw delivered to a hospital patient. It smelled so fragrant. However, I don't know anything about it and neither did the seller.

Answer: Polianthes tuberosa is a tuberous rooted perennial native to Mexico. The plant is noted for its powerful and heady fragrance. The flowers are white, tubular, and loosely arranged in spikelike clusters on stems growing to 3' tall. Plants are mostly grown indoors, but in your gardening region can be grown outdoors, especially in the warm summer months.

Plant 2" deep and 4"-6" apart and feed with an acid-type fertilizer. When the leaves yellow and die, dry out the tubers by withholding water. Then dig and store in a warm place, replanting in the spring after the soil warms.

Polianthes tuberosa grows best in full sun to partial shade, in rich, moist soil, and needs heavy watering during the spring and summer months.

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