Eustoma grandiflorum, better known as lisianthus, is a cut flower that is much loved for its rose-like appearance and extremely long vase life. Native to grassland areas of the USA, it is also known as Texas bluebell, prairie gentian or Japanese rose.
Lisianthus are usually imported as cut flowers to the UK, but it's possible to grow your own from seed or plugs, either for a cut flower patch or a cottage or herbaceous border. Lisianthus come in a wide range of colours, including white, yellow, pink, purple, lilac, apricot and lime green; the flowers can be single or double and some are bi-coloured.
Are lisianthus hard to grow?
Lisianthus have a reputation for being a little tricky to grow – the tiny seeds need heat and light to germinate and high temperatures when the plants are growing on may result in 'rosetting' (stem elongation inhibition).
If you can, buy pelleted seeds as these are easier to sow. Sow seeds in late winter or early spring, onto the surface of moist, well drained seed compost. For the best results, use a heated propagator at around 20-25°C. Do not cover the seeds, as light is needed for germination, which can take up to three weeks. Pot on into individual 9cm pots once around four true leaves have developed and grow on at a temperature of around 18°C. Harden off in spring before planting out in a sheltered, sunny spot after the last frosts, around 20cm apart. The soil should be rich and moist, but well drained. Use twiggy sticks as support. Water well initially, reducing as the plant establishes. Lisianthus can also be grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel.
Where to buy lisianthus seeds online
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