Polianthes tuberosa ‘Pearl’,
Pearl double tuberose     1870

Pearl double tuberose heirloom bulbsPearl double tuberose bagtag

Just as blissfully fragrant as ‘Mexican Single’, ‘Pearl’ is a bit shorter, later-blooming, and double, with pale pink buds that open into flowers like tiny gardenias. Discovered by NY nurseryman John Henderson in 1870, it became a Victorian favorite, often sold under the name ‘Excelsior’. Hardy in zones 8a-11b, elsewhere it’s handled like glads (in the winter, just put the pot in the basement). We send big bulbs, sure to bloom!


ZONES   8a-11b or in pots

HEIGHT   30-40”

LIGHT   full sun


Tuberoses are easy to bloom if you start with our big bulbs and give them a long hot summer. To store till planting, just open the bags and set in a cool, dim, dry spot. 55-70° F is ideal, but close will do.

In the NORTH, we recommend growing them in pots. You can start them inside 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. Set them close together and so their tips are barely covered with soil. Water and put them in a warm spot, maybe with a little bottom heat (a greenhouse heating-mat works great). Keep moist but not soggy. Once leaves emerge — which can take up to a month! — water and fertilize regularly. When nights stay in the 60s reliably, move the pot outside to a spot that’s as hot and sunny as possible — but where you can keep them well-watered. Continue to water often — probably daily — and fertilize regularly. Once they get growing, tuberoses need FULL SUN, CONSTANTLY MOIST SOIL and PLENTY OF NUTRITION to do their best. If blooms don’t appear by the time the weather cools in latest summer, bring the pot indoors to a sunny window and enjoy the blooms there.

In the SOUTH, you can bloom them successfully in the ground, where singles tend to do better and bloom earlier. Plant bulbs in early summer, in a hot, sunny spot with well-drained soil, 4-8 inches apart with about 2 inches of soil over their tips. Water once but unless it’s very dry wait till leaves emerge before watering again. Then keep soil moist and fertilize regularly. Tuberoses need LOTS OF SUN, CONSTANTLY MOIST SOIL, and PLENTY OF NUTRITION to do their best.

WINTER CARE — In zones 9 and warmer (lows to 20° F), tuberoses can be left in the ground year-round.

Elsewhere keep them growing as long as you can in the fall but eventually reduce watering till the foliage dries up or there’s a hard frost. Dig and store as glads (see above; no need for a fungicide dip), or dry and store them right in their pot.

In the spring, dump out the rhizomes. Each will have produced a cluster of daughter bulbs. Experts say that once a tuberose bulb blooms, it won’t bloom again, but any of the daughter bulbs that have reached the size of your thumb or so will bloom, and often smaller ones will, too. So add new soil to your pot and either replant the whole clustered bulb-clump or break off the largest daughter bulbs and replant only them.

An even simpler way that works well for us is to just leave the rhizomes right in their pot the second year and water and feed them heavily through the summer. However, by the third year they will have grown too crowded and you must repot. No matter what you do, regular fertilizing is always important to assure re-bloom.

Learn more about growing and enjoying tuberoses at our Spring Diverse Newsletter Archives.