How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Tuberose

As fragrant flowers go, nothing outshines the tuberose. Read on as gardening expert Melissa Strauss explains all you need to know to grow these perfumed beauties in your own garden.

Clusters of tuberose flowers form lush bouquets, their pristine white petals catching the light. Alongside, slender stems and delicate buds add depth to the arrangement. A harmonious blend of fragrance and elegance, captured in nature's meticulous artistry.


You may have seen its name on the labels of the most popular perfumes and skin care products: Tuberose is a highly coveted Agave species with waxy clusters of white blooms that smell like sweet floral decadence. The aroma is often compared to jasmine or gardenia but stronger and with more spicy notes. In perfumes, tuberose flowers are commonly used as the heart note to add warmth to fragrance blends.

This distinctive plant is as beautiful as it is aromatic and surprisingly tough in zones 8 and warmer. Make your garden smell like a perfumery with one of the most intoxicatingly fragrant flowers in the world. Let’s learn how to grow dazzling tuberose plants!

Tuberose Plant Overview

A close-up of a pristine white tuberose flower and red buds, illuminated by sunlight, against a backdrop of lush greenery. The delicate petals of the tuberose stand out against the blurred foliage, capturing the essence of nature's beauty.
Tuberose is a perennial plant belonging to the Asparagaceae family.
Plant Type Perennial
Family Asparagaceae
Genus Agave
Species Amica
Native Area Mexico
Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Height 2′-4’
Watering Requirements Low to moderate
Pests and Diseases Bud borer, grasshopper, fungal rot, bacterial disease, rust
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Rich, loose, sandy, well-drained
Soil pH Slightly acidic, 6.0-6.5

What are Tuberoses?

A slender tuberose stem gracefully bends, adorned with white blossoms in full bloom alongside delicate white and green buds promising future beauty. Behind, a soft blur reveals a verdant backdrop, a tapestry of lush greenery embracing nature's abundance.
The tuberose flower is not a true rose but a relative of the agave plant.

Tuberose may look sweet and innocent, but don’t let its delicate appearance fool you. This is one of the most commonly used florals in perfumery, and it has the power that few fragrant flowers carry. 

For almost 400 years, the scent of the tuberose flower has been utilized in thousands of fragrance formulas. The scent is used to convey seduction, passion, and enchantment. Typically a heart note, the fragrance of tuberose has a rich, creamy, animalistic quality. The scent worn by Marie Antoinette is contained in this bewitching flower. 

In addition to its use in cosmetic fragrances, tuberose is often used as a cut flower. Just one single flower stem can throw its scent clear across the room and has a vase life of two weeks or more. 

Although it shares a common name, tuberose is not a true rose. It is a relative of the agave plant and semi-succulent. These uncommonly fragrant garden plants are easy to care for. They have an unrivaled strength of scent. Even the headiest jasmine or gardenia doesn’t come close.  


White tuberose blossoms with yellow stamens at their center, exuding fragrant elegance. In the backdrop, gently swaying grasses create a soft, blurred frame, emphasizing the floral beauty in full bloom.
The plant tuberose was renamed Agave amica in 2017 after multiple name changes.

The Aztecs, Mayans, and other native Central American people have grown tuberose for ages. In ancient Aztec language, it was called omixochitl, or “bone flower.” It was first discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1600s. They returned with this plant and were the first to introduce it in Europe. 

In 1753, Carl Linnaeus described the plant as Polianthus tuberosa. Freidrich Kaimir later described it as Tuberosa amica. It wasn’t until 2017 that the plant came by its present name, Agave amica.  

Tuberose became very popular as a perfume note in the 17th century. The cut flowers gained a following, culminating in the Victorian Era when they were used for funeral flowers. Today, tuberose remains a highly coveted scent for perfumes, skincare products, and bouquets.

Native Area

A single stem bearing delicate white and green tuberose buds, promising imminent bloom. Behind, a soft blur hints at a verdant backdrop, setting the stage for nature's vibrant symphony.
These fragrant plants originated in the central and southern regions of Mexico.

Due to its cultivation and domestication, tuberose is no longer found growing wild. It is considered to have originated in central and southern Mexico. It is fully hardy in zones 8-12 but will survive with some extra care in Zone 7.


A close-up of delicate white tuberose blossoms, their petals unfurling gracefully under soft sunlight. Behind them, a gentle blur reveals a dance of yellow flowers and swaying grasses, painting a serene backdrop of nature's tranquility.
The plant has slender leaves and tall spikes with white trumpet blooms.

If you’ve not laid eyes on a tuberose plant, its appearance may come as a surprise. As noted, it is a type of semi-succulent agave. This deciduous perennial is winter-dormant and has a summer growing and blooming season. The roots are tuberous bulbs that multiply quickly under the right conditions

The plant consists of a cluster of long, slender, bright green leaves with pointed ends. Smaller, thinner leaves grow part way up the flower stems. The flower spikes are tall and slender, with a cluster of white, waxy, trumpet-shaped flowers on top

While the flowers are attractive on their own, the main appeal is not the physical appearance. Rather, the heady and potent fragrance is what these flowers are most often grown for. 

The tuberose fragrance is singular and memorable. It is often compared to the fragrance of jasmine or gardenia but more multifaceted. It has an underlying spicy, green aroma, which heightens the complexity of the fragrance. The flowers open at night, and the evening is when they release the most fragrance


A tuberose stem with delicate white flowers and buds rests atop damp rocks. Nearby, transparent jars filled with fragrant tuberose oil catch the light, their contents promising the essence of floral elegance and purity.
The flower oil is prized for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory benefits.

This is a many-purposed plant with both practical and ornamental applications. Aside from its use in cosmetic fragrances, it makes a statement as an ornamental landscape element. On top of these, it has many medicinal indications. 

Tuberose oil has a reputation as an excellent moisturizing agent for the skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties, as well. In aromatherapy, this oil has its use as a stress reliever and to promote relaxation. 

Where to Buy

A group of tuberose bulbs rests on a surface, their skins textured with earthy hues. Delicate roots extend like eager fingers, seeking sustenance, anchoring the promise of future blossoms in the earth's embrace.
Order bulbs conveniently online for your garden needs.

Tuberose bulbs and plants are not always available at nurseries. They are tropical plants, so in cooler climates, expect to have to order these. Fortunately, the tubers are readily available from many online retailers. 


A close-up of white tuberose bulbs, resembling elegant trumpets, their delicate petals hinting at fragrant allure. A verdant blur in the background adds depth, enhancing the natural beauty of these floral gems.
Container-grown plants offer simple winter care in colder areas.

The most common way to grow these plants is from tubers, which are bulb-like root structures. It is best to wait until after all threat of frost has passed before planting these outdoors. They are somewhat cold tolerant, but a late freeze will kill new, tender foliage

In cooler climates, grow tuberose plants in containers that you can bring indoors for the winter. Plant your bulbs two to four inches deep in well-draining soil. Choose a spot that receives plenty of direct sun exposure. Space plants six to eight inches apart. 

How to Grow

Tuberose plants are easy to grow and low-maintenance. They multiply quickly but are not invasive. Their semi-succulent nature means that as long you plant them in the right spot, you won’t need to water them or tend to them often.  


A tuberose plant, its slender stalk adorned with pristine white flowers and vibrant green buds, symbolizing purity and growth. In the backdrop, a blur of lush greenery hints at a thriving garden of tuberoses.
Afternoon shade helps retain moisture in hot climates.

In order to reach their full flowering potential, tuberose plants need a lot of sunlight. That said, these plants don’t like to dry out quite as much as other succulents or types of agave. For a healthy tuberose, plant yours in a spot that receives sun most of the day. 

In hotter climates, consider giving your plants some shade in the afternoon. If they get six to eight hours of exposure early in the day, a bit of shade in the afternoon will help to keep them hydrated. A layer of mulch around the base of the plant can also help to retain some moisture in the soil. 


Vibrant tuberose green buds up close, adorned with glistening water droplets, hinting at their freshness and vitality. The blurred green background enhances the focal point, evoking a sense of lushness and tranquility in this natural composition.
They require careful watering to avoid fungal rot and death from over-watering.

These plants are drought tolerant, but not to the extent that some others like it are. Your tuberose plant will tolerate dry weather, but if you want it to bloom well, water it occasionally. Don’t allow your plant to bake in hot, dry soil, or your flowers will fade very quickly. 

If you experience drought during the growing season, you’ll need to water your plant. Give this plant about one to two inches of water per week. It’s important to not over-water this plant. The tuberous roots are vulnerable to fungal rot. Sitting in soggy soil will rot the roots and ultimately kill the plant. 


Brown sandy soil, textured with fine grains, stretches out. Speckled with patches of dried leaves, it evokes a rustic charm, hinting at the changing seasons and the cycle of nature's renewal.
Optimal soil conditions include loose, slightly acidic soil.

First and foremost, tuberose plants need well-draining soil. Their tuberous roots will rot if they remain wet for a long time. These are not the right plants for swampy soil. They need a lot of nutrients, so their soil should be rich in organic matter.

Sandy soil is good for these plants. However, it will need some amending with organic compost or manure to provide the nutrients this plant requires. Loose, loamy soil is ideal, and a slightly acidic pH will keep this plant happy. A pH in the range of 6.0-6.5 is great. It’s better to err on the side of being too acidic rather than alkaline. 

Temperature and Humidity

Tuberose plants stretch across the field, their lush green leaves towering gracefully amidst a sea of pink and white blossoms. Under the golden rays of the sun, the flowers bask, casting a radiant glow upon the thriving foliage.
The plants tolerate cold temperatures but require high humidity.

Tuberose is native to a hot and humid climate. It thrives in environments with tropical conditions and is not highly cold-tolerant. If you mulch heavily in the fall, your tubers should survive temperatures as low as 0° to 10°F (-18° to -12°C) over the winter months. This makes them fine for planting in zone 7, but any colder and your tubers won’t survive the winter. 

These plants are fully cold hardy in zone 8 and have no issues tolerating temperatures in the range of 10° to 20°F (-12° to -7°C). The foliage is very heat tolerant, but the flowers are less so. In temperatures higher than 95°F (35°C), expect your flowers to wither and fade fast. Supplemental water can help in very hot weather. 

Your tuberose will appreciate a normal to high level of humidity. These do not make very good houseplants as they prefer hot, humid weather. They can survive indoors, but they are unlikely to bloom. 


A close-up reveals a clear container brimming with brown fertilizer granules, promising nourishment for plants. Resting on a wooden table, the container exudes an earthy allure, hinting at the organic sustenance it holds within.
Encourage flowering by using a phosphorus-rich fertilizer every 4-6 weeks.

This is a moderate to heavy-feeding species. If you want it to look its best, you’ll need to fertilize. At the beginning of the season, apply a slow-release, granular fertilizer. 

For flowering, give your plant a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus. A 5-10-5 formula is a good place to start.

During the growing season, fertilize your tuberose every four to six weeks. You can also mix some well-rotted compost or manure with your soil at planting time. This will break down slowly, providing your plant with a low level of nutrients for an extended period.


A close-up of fragrant white Tuberose flowers with long, slender, waxy petals emerges from a thick green stem.  The zoomed-in flower's blooms cluster around the top, resembling a single bloom with multiple pointed lobes.  In the background, more Tuberose flowers are seen.
Prune foliage in fall after the first frost or in cool weather.

Maintenance pruning is an ongoing task during the growing season. If you notice yellowing or brown leaves, feel free to trim them off. Do the same for any leaves damaged by disease or pest infestation. 

Deadheading your tuberose is important if abundant flowers are your goal. The more you cut the flowers from the plant, the more it will produce. Whether you cut them for a bouquet or leave them on the plant until they wither, remove them. You will be glad you did! 

In terms of fall pruning, wait until the first frost kills off the foliage before pruning. In warm climates that don’t experience frost, wait until the weather is cool. Then, cut the foliage down to about six inches tall. Make sure to apply a heavy layer of mulch in climates that experience freezing weather. 


Tuberose flowers and buds in close-up, illuminated by the sun's warm rays, showcase intricate details up close, exuding natural beauty. The lush foliage in the blurred background creates a serene backdrop.
Propagate tuberose by lifting it gently from the soil and replanting the largest bulbs.

Tuberose plants are easy to propagate because of the way their roots grow. Like most tuberous plants, you can simply dig up the bulbs and divide them. Separate your bulbs every three to four years to keep them from crowing each other and to promote better flowering. You should do this even if you’re not looking to propagate. 

Gently use a garden fork to loosen the soil and lift your tubers out of the ground. Split the bulbs apart and choose the largest bulbs to replant. These are great plants to share with other plant lovers. 

Common Problems

Most of the issues that you’ll run into with this plant are fungal in nature. Some pests may show up, but for the most part, tuberose is considered pest-resistant


A close-up of a grasshopper rests on a green leaf, its slender body blending seamlessly with the foliage. Its intricately patterned wings are folded neatly, hinting at the agility and power within this small creature of nature.
Deter grasshoppers with baits placed around the tuberose garden.

While pests will typically choose other garden plants to feed on, tuberose isn’t completely pest-proof. You may experience issues with bud borers and grasshoppers. Diatomaceous earth is a good defense against bud borers. Sprinkle it on the ground immediately surrounding your plant.  

Deter grasshoppers by using a grasshopper bait or plant a trap crop of tall grass-like plants. Once grasshopper populations have taken off, the best way to deter them is to give them something else to eat. Then, handpick them or destroy the trap crop.


A close-up of white tuberose flowers, their petals tightly closed, hinting at the anticipation of blooming. The blurred background reveals a lush greenery, kissed by the sun's rays, enhancing the allure of nature's intricate details.
Avoid fungal infections by maintaining adequate air circulation.

While pathogen issues are not limited to fungal diseases, these are the most common issues with this plant. Fungal diseases, including root and crown rot, are common in tuberose plants. The issue stems from poor drainage or overwatering. These plants are very sensitive to overwatering

Poor air circulation is another culprit of fungal disease, especially on leaves. This is a problem in humid climates more than in drier ones. Make sure that there is proper air circulation around your plant, and only water when the surface of the soil is dry. Planting in a location with proper drainage is vital for this reason. 

Lack of Flowers

White tuberose flowers, shaped like trumpets, cluster on a slender stalk, catching the gentle light with their delicate petals. Below, green plants form a verdant backdrop, contrasting with the ethereal blooms above.
They require full sun for 6-8 hours daily to bloom abundantly.

Tuberose plants require a long growing period before they bloom. If you wait too long in the spring, you may not get them in the ground in time. Make sure to plant your tubers as soon as the threat of frost has passed to give them ample growing time. 

Another factor that can inhibit flowering is a lack of sun or nutrients. These plants need full sun to produce flowers. In some hot climates, they will withstand a bit of afternoon shade. In general, they need a full six to eight hours per day for optimal flowering. 

These heavy feeders need adequate nutrients to bloom as well. If you plant them in poor soil or neglect to fertilize, you’re unlikely to see a great deal of blooms. Allowing them to proliferate without dividing them every couple of years will reduce flowering as well.

Here are some unique cultivars of this famous perfumed flower.

‘Chia Nong Pink Sapphire’

Sunlight kisses delicate Chia Nong Pink Sapphire tuberose buds and blooms, their pink hues radiant in the warmth. In the blurred background, slender leaves intertwine, creating a verdant tapestry against the bright, sun-kissed blooms.
This variety blooms with tall spikes of fragrant pink flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Agave amica ‘Chia Nong Pink Sapphire’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

While most people think of white flowers when they hear the name tuberose, pink is a common color for these flowers, too. ‘Pink Sapphire’ has tall spikes of wonderful pink flowers. The flower clusters are large and dense on this variety. They have a strong fragrance and attract lots of pollinators

‘The Pearl’

White blossoms and delicate pink buds of The Pearl tuberose bloom vibrantly amidst a backdrop of verdant green foliage, creating a serene contrast. Glistening water droplets gracefully adhere to the pristine white petals, adding a touch of ethereal beauty.
This variety with creamy white blossoms is ideal for bridal bouquets.
botanical-name botanical name Agave amica ‘The Pearl’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3′-4′
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

This stunning variety has the most gorgeous flowers. They scarcely look real! Soft green stems create a wonderful foundation for double-petaled, creamy white blossoms. The flowers have just a hint of blush, making them ideal for bridal bouquets. This is an elegant and refined variety with a beautiful and strong scent. 


A close-up reveals the delicate beauty of Cinderella tuberose flowers, their purple petals unfolding gracefully. In the background, a blur of lush, deep green plants provides a verdant contrast, enhancing the vibrancy of the floral focal point.
The ‘Cinderella’ tuberose boasts petite yet vibrant trumpet-shaped blooms.
botanical-name botanical name Agave amica ‘Cinderella’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2’
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-10

‘Cinderella’ is a flower fit for a princess. This smaller variety may not have the height of the others, but when it lacks in stature it makes up for in beauty. The trumpet-shaped blooms are multiple shades of pink and lavender. Expect this variety to produce dense flower spikes with an abundance of blooms

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Tuberose Poisonous?

No. Although it will cause stomach upset if your pet ingests the plant, it will not cause any lasting harm. Tuberose oil is commonly used medicinally.

How Long Will My Tuberose Take to Bloom?

Tuberose plants typically require 100-110 days from planting until blooming time. They will then bloom continuously for several months.

What is the Vase Life of a Tuberose Flower?

These flowers are extra long-lasting in a vase. If they are cut fresh and well cared for, tuberose flowers can last two weeks or longer.

Final Thoughts

Tuberose is one of the most intoxicatingly fragrant flowers in the world. It’s no wonder this plant’s flowers are so often used in perfumery and floristry. Plant this beautiful flower in your garden and enjoy the incredible scent of tuberose in the evening. 

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