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How to Grow Lisianthus – Eustoma

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Lisianthus, botanical name Eustoma, produces broad, bell-shaped, satin-textured flowers in shades of blue, rose, pink, purple, and white. Flowers appear in summer on long stalks either singly or in clusters above oblong gray-green leaves.

Flowers appear singly or in clusters; they gradually open from slender, furled buds. Flowers appear gray-green foliage in summer and are long-lasting. Plants will rebloom if old blooms are cut off.

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There are just three species in the Eustoma genus. All are tap-rooted biennials usually grown as annuals. Eustoma is native to the prairies and fields of the central United States.

Eustoma grandiflorum
Eustoma grandiflorum

Get to know Lisianthus

  • Plant type: Biennial usually grown as an annual
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 8 to 11
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Height and width: 15 to 20 inches (38-50cm) tall; 12 inches (30cm) wide
  • Foliage: Ovate to oblong-lance-shaped leaves are stalkless
  • Flowers: Ivory, pink, and purple deeply cup-shaped blooms on long, sturdy stems
  • Bloom time: Mid- to late summer
  • Uses: Cut flower; cutting garden; some varieties have double blooms
  • Garden companions: roses, snapdragons, delphiniums
  • Common name: Lisianthus
  • Botanical name: Eustoma grandiflorum (Lisianthus grandifolia)
  • Family: Gentiananceae
  • Origin: Prairies of North America

Where to plant Lisianthus

  • Plant lisianthus in full sun; in not summer regions plant lisianthus in partial shade.
  • Plant lisianthus in average, well-drained soil.
Lisianthus, Eustoma grandiflorum
Lisianthus, Eustoma grandiflorum

When to plant Lisianthus

  • Set established plants in the garden in spring after all danger of frost is passed.
  • Sow seed in autumn or late winter.

Planting and spacing Lisianthus

  • Space Lisianthus 12 inches (30cm) apart.
  • Seeds are dust-like; sprinkle seeds on the surface of the soil and don’t cover them.

How to water and feed Lisianthus

  • Lisianthus requires ample moisture.
  • Fertilize lisianthus every 4 weeks or add a 9-month, slow-release fertilizer at planting time.

Lisianthus care

  • Mulch around lisianthus to conserve soil moisture.
  • Pinch out tops at planting time to encourage bushier growth and more flowers.
  • Remove spent flowers to encourage more flowers.
  • Lisianthus is usually pest-free.

Lisianthus pests and diseases

  • Lisianthus is often affected by virus diseases, gray mold, stem cankers, and Fusarium wilt.

Lisianthus [ropagation

  • Sow seed in warm soil in autumn or late winter; seeds are dust-like and do not need soil cover; transplant them at the four-leaf stage.
  • Seedlings are initially slow-growing.

Lisianthus varieties to grow

  • Eustoma, grandiflorum, lisianthus: clumps of gray-green foliage send up 18-inch stems topped with tulip-shaped, 2 to 3-inch flowers in purplish-blue, pink, or white; plants bloom all summer; dwarf cultivars grow 6 inches tall; grow tall cultivars for cutting; cultivar ‘Flamenco’ is drought tolerant.

Lisianthus frequently asked questions

Q: What kind of care does Lisianthus require?

A: Plant Lisianthus in full sun in average garden soil with good drainage. Add aged compost or an organic planting mix to the soil. Feed Lisianthus every other month during the growing season. Lisianthus can tolerate heat, drought, and rain. It prefers warm summers.

Q: Can I grow Lisianthus from seed?

A: Lisianthus is slow to grow from seed. It takes seven months from seed sowing to bloom. To grow Lisianthus from seed, start the seed in a warm sport indoors. Barely cover the seeds.

Q: Are there both double- and single-flowered forms of Lisianthus?

A: Yes. Lion is a double-flowered series with blooms of blue, white, or pink. Yodel has single blooms in the same colors as well as lavender.

Q: Lisianthus tends to flop over in my garden. Any suggestions?

A: If kept compact, Lisianthus will not fall over. Pinch seedlings as soon as they are transplanted and again when two to three more inches of growth come. This will keep plants compact and the stems strong and they will not require staking.

Q: How long does Lisianthus last as a cut flower?

A: Lisianthus will last up to fourteen days.

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. Harvesttotable.com has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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