QHow did tuberoses get their name and where do they come from? My clump produced one stem with a few small drooping pink/ blue flowers. It was meant to be highly scented but I didn’t think it was. BERNICE OLSEN, MASTERTON
AThe common name tuberose is a contraction of the botanical name
Polianthes tuberosa. Polianthes means many flowers; tuberosa refers to the thick fleshy roots and bulb – all very confusing as it is not a tuber.
They are widely used in perfume as they’re so fragrant, especially at night. I find the scent very strong – to the point of being overpowering – even during the day.
Native to Mexico, tuberoses are now grown in many warmer parts of the world.
Each bulb produces only one flower on a tall (60-70cm) stem, high above a fairly dense cluster of leaves.
Tuberoses take a good five months from planting to flowering. Bulbs planted in early November do not flower until mid-March. They must have warmth and a full-sun position, on the sunny side of a house, or even in a greenhouse.
There are two main forms: the original single and the much more commonly sold double form
Polianthes tuberosa ‘The Pearl’. Flowers of both forms are pinkish in bud, opening to cream with an overpowering fragrance.
The flower described doesn’t sound like a tuberose. Perhaps something else seeded in the clump of tuberoses which haven’t flowered yet or maybe the bulbs were mislabelled.