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Dividing tuberose bulbs

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

My tuberoses need to be divided and the clumps are like cement. The sections don't come apart - am I supposed to cut through them?

Cullowhee, NC(Zone 6b)

Do you see daughter bulbs? Are you sure you can't break one off?

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

There are plenty of daughter bulbs but when I try to break one off instead of separating cleanly the bulblet actually snaps at the base so that the basal plate (not sure of that's the right term LOL) where the roots would develop is still attached to the mother bulb. You can see this on the center bottom of the bulb on the right. The white circle is the bottom part of the bulblet where it snapped.

Thumbnail by NoH2O
Northwest, MO(Zone 5a)

My tuberose look just like NoH2o's.....Do I just plant them as is, or do I break them apart and plant. Also...mine did not bloom much in they like to be crowded? I also had mine in partial shade.

Thanks, Debbie

Moss Point, MS(Zone 8b)

Mine normally separate just like garlic. I would take a small sharp knife and cut some basal plate with the bulblet if it wants to break off. You can usually take lots of small ones off, plant them separately and the following year they'll bloom.

Mine are in full sun and bloom in late July or August. I feel like the sun dries out the blooms very fast. I hope someone will tell us that they can take part sun and I'll move mine.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

I'll need to devide my tuberoses in a few days, as I move them back outdoor. I'm glad to have found your thread. I haven't had experience with these bulbs. But one thing I've learned is that when they're over crowded, they don't bloom real well. Mine has been out in the sun, I meant full sun the past 2 years I had them -- even here in zone 7b. And we can get real hot and humid here.

Lanexa, VA(Zone 7b)

I am new to tuberoses but have had good success this summer with some I bought on Ebay. They bulbs came from "Tennessee Tuberoses". I think you can find them on a search. They were very reasonably priced and I can't wait until I can divide mine and get more! I have the single ones and they are extremely fragrant--even the neighbors across the street asked about them because they could smell them over at their house. I wish there were more of them around here. So far no problems at all--no wilting in the heat, disease, bugs, nothing. Love 'em!

Do you plant in ground or in a pot?
What care do you give them?
Thanks for any & all info.

Lanexa, VA(Zone 7b)

Hello Christmas cactus,
I put my tuberoses in well prepared soil--I added manure, compost and some bone meal and alfalfa pellets and pine bark mulch. They are in a bed with hydrangeas and some roses I am growing from cuttings. The soil is good and I did water during the drought. They seem to be multiplying -- there are many leaf blades coming up around the flowering stalks. ??? I will dig some in the spring and replant. I never noticed any stress or insects or disease on them and suspect that even if I had not watered so much they would have done OK. They seem to be very happy. I don't have much experience--only this spring/summer. So far I am very happy and surprised that I have had success with so little effort. :)

clanross,Thank you so much.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Christmascactus, it dependents on our location. Here in my zone tuberoses surives outdoor over winter but very short-lived. The majority of mine are treated as tropical (kept in container -- and overwintered indoor). I didn't do so well with mine this year. They're refused to bloom when over-crowded!

Lily,I'm in the same zone as you-7b/8a.
This is the first time that I try growing tuberose.
I bought mine in a coop & had high hopes of them doing good. Less than half lived & those few that did; didn't bloom :(
Is tuberose that hard to grow or is it me?
I do so much want to have these to live & bloom.
I have heard they have a wonderful fragrance & that is the reason I bought them.

Copperas Cove, TX(Zone 8b)

I had mine in pots for the first couple of years and they didn't bloom until right before frost so this year I planted them in the ground. I just cut the large root bound container in quarters and hoped for the best. All four bloomed beautifully. Now if I can just figure out how to keep the grass from sprouting through them I'll be happy, lol. I covered them with mulch and uncovered when I saw some shoots forming and they did fine. The only thing I noticed was pill bugs eating them while covered with mulch so I poured soapy water on them and they left them alone after that.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

From my experience, these tuberoses don't tolerate rootbound condition well. They refuse to bloom in such confined situation. I remember having seen them being planted on a well drained hills with well admended soil for them to bloom profusely. Oh they were in full sun. And yes the perfume is rather strong. If they demand too much care, and one has alot of shade in our zone. I opt for Gardenias, the shrub blooms in the spring, and repeat blooms this time of year.

Sand Springs (Tulsa), OK(Zone 7a)

I just got some bulbs this spring. I planted the 'better looking' ones in a large pot, and put the 'leftovers' in the ground. Nothing special, just plain dirt. They very quickly put up 4 shoots and bloomed beautifully, but that was it. I don't know if they only bloom once a year or what. The ones in the pot FINALLY put up one shoot and flower this month, but I think that pot is overcrowded. The ones I have in the ground are in part-sun and did better than the ones in full sun. I guess it is going to be a trial and error finding where to put them and how far apart to plant them.

Duxbury, MA(Zone 7a)

One more vote for tuberoses not doing well crowded into a pot. Mine only sent up one flower stalk this year, and the pot was full of leaves. Next year I'll chop them apart and plant in the ground.

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

I divided mines a couple of years ago - and repotted some, and put others in the ground. Lots of greenery, but nary a sign of any blooming stalks. Had them in 5 different places with different sun exposure. Sigh.

Northwest, MO(Zone 5a)

I didn't have any blooms this year either. The pot may be to think???

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

Keep in mind that tuberoses only bloom every other year. Being crowded will diminish blooms, and being moved will likely set them back a season. A lot going on to keep them from blooming!

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Tuberoses only bloom every other year???? Interesting news.

Sand Springs (Tulsa), OK(Zone 7a)

Every other year???? I'd never heard that. I just got mine this spring and got blooms.

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

I was reading all of your posts and got curious, so I got out a book I have on bulbs by John Bryan called, appropriately, "Bulbs." He states under the "Cultivation" heading for Polianthes tuberosa that "Tuberose plants flower every other year; once a crown has flowered it splits, and another season of growth is required before flowering. If plenty are planted, however, there will be some that do not reach flowering size the first year, and these will flower the next year. They must have high summer heat to mature."

Mary and Gary Irish, in their book "Agaves, Yuccas and Related Plants," state re Polianthes tuberosa blooms: "If... the winter is cold or too damp, the plants may not reliably bloom the next summer. During the summer growing season the plants should not be allowed to become excessively dry."

This message was edited Sep 27, 2010 9:42 PM

Sand Springs (Tulsa), OK(Zone 7a)

Thanks so much for your information. I guess, according to Mary and Gary, if you have cold winters you should dig the bulbs every year? I am in Northeastern Oklahoma. One map said I was in 7a, but another sight where I put in my zip code, said I was in 6, so I'm not really sure where I am. ;-( Thanks again.

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

You're very welcome. While none of my references specifically address USDA zones, I think we can figure out the answer to your question by reading the following passages from the books written by the Irishes, Bryan and Staff of the L.H. Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University.

Here's what the Irishes say: "It currently is grown over much of the tropical and temperate world.... Because it requires a moist but warm soil, it generally is grown as a greenhouse plant in northern Europe and in the cold parts of the United States. Where soils do not stay cold and damp too long, such as in the warmer parts of the southeastern United States, it can be grown outdoors.... The plants should generally be given full sun, but partial shade would be best in very hot and sunny climates. In more northerly areas with warm summers, such as much of the eastern United States, Polianthes tuberosa can be grown as a summer annual, renewed each year by planting more tubers. In the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic states the tuber can overwinter if covered with mulch to protect it from freezes, particularly when temperatures are expected to go below 10F (-12C)."

Bryan states, regarding Polianthes in general: "[S]ome species tolerate occasional light frost, perhaps to 25F. In mild areas they can remain in the ground to multiply. In colder zones, they can be grown in containers and moved into protected areas during the winter. They are usually offered for sale in late winter or spring and can be treated as summer bedding plants, being replaced each year.... Plant in spring when the ground is warm and night temperatures are above 55F. Where nights remain colder later than May, start plants indoors in pots and transplant carefully to outdoor sites."

Hortus Third states: "They should be dug before frost and stored over winter in a dry warm place."

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