Eustoma - common name: Lisianthus

My father is wonderful at growing plants from seed and under lights. One year he brought me a plant I had never heard of: Lisianthus (pronounced lizzie-ANN-thus).

What a beauty!! It looks like a rose and lasts for weeks as a cut flower.

The true name of Lisianthus is Eustoma, and it is a genus of the Gentianaceae family. It is commonly found on the American Prairie and in the Southern United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and northern South America.
Here it is grown and planted as an annual, growing 18-24" tall. Often, there are many blooms on a single stem. I do stake them because they will bend in bad storms.

Lisianthus come in a variety of colours. This year I have a mauve-blue, white and bi-colour.

Lisianthus can be challenging to grow. As I said, my Dad grows them from seed but they must be started very early, not just several weeks before planting. The seeds are tiny and therefore hard to see. But he has been successful year after year and they are now a staple in mine and his garden.

They enjoy being planted in rich fertile soil. They like moist soil but dislike being over-watered. They tolerate drought very well.

Other common names include Prairie Rose, Texas Bluebell and Prairie Gentian.

If you feel that trying to grow them from seed would be too frustrating and time-consuming, look for some started plants at your local nursery next spring. They truly are a satisfying, beautiful annual to have in your garden and in vases within your home.

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