Local newsNewsOpinion

OPINION: Polianthes – the indulger’s indulgence

It’s that intoxicating smell of sweetness when you pass it in a garden; its rich, languorous aroma in the evenings, and freshly fragrant, highly floral green notes in the mornings.

It must have been the plant’s scent that first attracted the Aztecs. They used it in their Ayurvedic medicine, believing it to open the crown chakra, improving psychic abilities, while also enhancing emotional depth, stimulating creativity and encouraging serenity. It was also utilised for its anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties – and as an aphrodisiac! It’s no wonder that the Aztecs, having discovered the joy of the cacao bean in the middle of the Amazon over 4 000 years ago, added extracts of the tuberose in the cacao beverages they subsequently made with these beans.

Polianthes – the tuberose – should be planted in spring for flowers in summer. Plant these tuberous roots in well-composted, well-draining soil, 5cm deep and 10cm apart, in a spot that receives full sun to semi-shade. Every now and then, it may be worth coating the soil with bulb food for extra nourishment. Water this soil deeply every three to four days and you’ll soon have a wonderful aroma circling your garden from the blossoming white blooms, their waxy flowers generally forming loose clusters atop narrow lance-like to strap-shaped leaves.

When the flowers have all died and the leaves have turned yellow, you can choose to either leave the bulb dormant in the ground, no longer watering it, or you may lift it in early winter and keep it stored for spring planting. Most South African gardens are suited to these bulbs remaining in the ground, as they’re able to withstand light frost and winter rainfall. However, be aware that if you have planted offsets, not all of them will produce results every season, as the smaller ones will rather spend their time enlarging in size. It’s the medium-to large-sized ones that will produce flowers, although large offsets from large plants may rather concentrate on producing their own offsets, so will also not flower. For this reason, you are encouraged to grow a variety of bulbs in different sizes, so that their tendency toward alternate-summer flowering is taken into account.

Thank goodness chocolate and perfume are available all year round!

Content provided by Hadeco Bulbs.

Related Articles

Back to top button