plant of the month
syn. Lisianthus russellianus
Prairie gentian, Texas bluebell
Lisianthuses have showy (2-inch diameter) bell-shaped blooms with ruffly edged petals. Single-flowered and double-flowered varieties are the most common as pot plants.
Single-flowered varieties resemble poppies, tulips or Campanulas (Canterbury bells) while double-flowered varieties are often mistaken, especially by consumers, for roses.
These plants have thin branching stems that, as pot plants, typically range from about 4 to 10 inches in height (because of growth retardant application); however, without growth retardant, they can grow as tall as 24 inches, especially when planted outdoors. Leaves are oval in shape and gray-green in color.
Blue-violet, purple, pink, rose, white and bicolors are the most common hues in potted Lisianthuses.
Indoors, these plants can last from 14 to 21 days, depending on maturity at the time of purchase, care received and environmental conditions (see “In-Store and Consumer Care”).
As pot plants, Lisianthuses are mostly available from April through September; however, some producers report growing them year-round. Check with your favorite suppliers.
in-store and consumer care
Potted Lisianthuses prefer bright light including at least six hours of direct sunlight every day.
These plants require moist soil at all times, but avoid letting pots stand in water.
Feed potted Lisianthuses with an all-purpose fertilizer one to two times per week, following the dosage instructions on the package.
Lisianthuses like humidity, so you can mist plants frequently—but only when they are in a sunny, temperate environment with good air circulation (see “Challenges: Diseases,” right).
Pinch off blooms as they fade for aesthetic reasons and to promote continued blooming.
Getting these plants, which are grown from seed, to flower more than one time is difficult, so most horticulturists recommend discarding them after they fade. Technically, they are perennials, but they are grown as annuals or biennials.
Botrytis (gray mold), a fungal disease which appears as gray patches on leaves and petals, can occur when these plants are kept too moist/damp, air circulation is inadequate, temperatures and/or light levels are too low, or any combination of these conditions.
Flower buds often do not develop into open blooms indoors, especially if these plants don’t receive enough sunlight.
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(See “Cut Flower of the Month”)
Some information provided
Chain of Life Network® ,
Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, The, by Barbara Pleasant
Houseplant Encyclopedia, The, by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Krüger
House Plant Expert, The, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
SAF Flower & Plant Care, by Terrill A. Nell, Ph.D., and Michael
S. Reid, Ph.D.
Spring-Flowering Bulbs, by Dr. A.A. De Hertogh