Growing A Lisianthus Flower
Tips and Tricks to Cultivate Long-Lasting and Exquisite Blooms
The lisianthus flower belongs to the family Gentianaceae and originates from the warm regions of Mexico, Southern United States, the Caribbean and the northern parts of South America. This is a popular ornamental plant that is also commonly used as a cut flower.
The lisianthus flower is also known as Texas Bluebell, Praire Gentian, Tulip Gentian, Lira de San Pedro and Bluebells.
Lisianthus plants are herbaceous annuals that grow to about 15-60 centimeters tall. Their leaves are bluish green in color and their flowers are funnel-shaped. Lisianthus are usually found in grasslands and areas of disturbed ground like farmlands or construction sites.
Lisianthus flowers are long-lasting comprised of wide ruffled petals. The flowers come in shades of pink, white, lavender, purple and bi-colors like violet-blue.
There are both double and single lisianthus varieties that are available today.
Single forms of the lisianthus flower are very similar to full blown poppies or tulips, while double forms are reminiscent of roses or peonies.
This plant is very difficult to start from seed so it is recommended to just buy plants to be transplanted. Seedlings are also available in most nurseries. Lisianthus can also be propagated from tip cuttings once flowering has ended.
To propagate from seeds, follow these simple steps:
- Lisianthus seeds are very fine so it’s best to start them indoors then transplant outdoors after about 10-12 weeks. For optimal growth, the seeds need to be in a room about 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature.
- Scatter the seeds in a potting medium. For best results, use fine peat vermiculate. Once the seeds are spread in the medium, use a plastic wrap for cover. Secure the plastic cover with a rubber band in order to hold in the moisture.
- The seeds need light in order to germinate. They should receive about 15 hours of light daily until the seedlings emerge in about 2 weeks. Substitute natural light with a grow light if necessary. The seeds should be sown from mid-December to January around 16 to 22 weeks before the last frost.
- Remove the plastic covering once the seedlings start to grow. Add only a limited amount of water keeping the medium moist. Feed the seedlings with calcium fertilizer once a week.
- After about 7 to 8 weeks when the seedlings have already developed, they should be transferred into 4-packs. This will help them develop properly. Be very careful when transplanting because the roots are very sensitive. Watering should be done from the bottom to avoid damage.
- Lastly, when the plants have reached around 4 inches in height with 3 to 4 sets of true leaves, they are ready to be transplanted outdoors.
How to Grow A Lisianthus Flower
If you opt to buy from your local nursery, select lisianthus plants with no signs of wilting or disease. The plants should have stocky stature and lush foliage. A good tip is to look for those that don’t have flowers. This is because these plants usually have better root development.
When choosing the place to plant your lisianthus, choose a site that has full sun to partial shade. The lisianthus flower prefers moist and well-drained soil. During planting time, it is advisable to work some compost into the soil. This will ensure optimal growth of the plant. Remember to plant after the last frost date in the area. Space the plants 6 inches apart and water very thoroughly, keeping the soil evenly moist. Applying mulch is also a good idea which can help the plant’s growth.
To promote longer blooms, trim faded flowers. Add some fertilizer every 4-6 weeks or use a slow-release fertilizer when planting. Lisianthus plants are usually sown in raised beds because good drainage is very important for these plants.