Growing lisianthus, also known as Texas bluebell, prairie gentian, or prairie rose and botanically called Eustoma grandiflorum, adds elegant, upright color to the summer garden in all USDA hardiness zones. Lisianthus plants also brighten mixed container plantings. Lisianthus flowers are popular in cut flower arrangements too. The showy lisianthus flowers, similar to a rose, not only come in shades of blue and lilac but pink, pale green, and white as well. Blooms may be single or double. Some plants have ruffled edges and darker coloration on the edge and in the center. While some information about lisianthus plants says it is not recommended to mix colors together when growing them in containers, most resources say the opposite provided that you choose similar types, as there are varieties that may grow too tall for containers. Plants reach 24 to 30 inches (61-76 cm.) in height unless growing one of the dwarf varieties, which are most suitable to grow in pots.
How to Grow Lisianthus
Lisianthus plants can grow from tiny seeds if you have the right environment, but are most often bought as bedding plants. Growers report that seed grown plants may take 22 to 24 weeks to develop, so when planning to grow lisianthus in the home garden, make it easy on yourself and purchase already growing seedlings. Don't delay when transplanting purchased seedlings of lisianthus plants, as becoming root bound and remaining in the small container may permanently stunt growth. Planting time for the lisianthus plant varies according to where you live. In areas with freezing temperatures, plant them when the danger of frost and freezing is past. In warmer southern zones, plant as early as March. Lisianthus care includes planting small bedding plants into well-draining soil in a sunny area. Plant 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) apart to allow the multi-branching stems to support one another. Lisianthus care may also include staking heavily blooming plants that become top-heavy.
Growing Lisianthus for Cut Flowers
If you have this happy situation when growing lisianthus, don't hesitate to remove the top flowers for indoor bouquets. Cut flowers of the lisianthus plant last up to two weeks in water. The popularity of their use as cut flowers allows one to find them year-round at many florists. When growing lisianthus in the home garden, you may be happily surprised at how long the blooming season is for healthy plants. Keep the soil moist, but avoid overwatering and cease watering when the plant is dormant. Learning how to grow lisianthus is a joy in the flowerbed and provides exotic, long lasting blooms for the indoor arrangement.
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Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.
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