Lisianthus, the Prairie Gentian

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Lawn & Garden

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Lisianthus, also known as prairie gentian, is a type of annual flower that produces roselike blossoms which last for several weeks. These plants are known for blooming nonstop, and popular cultivars are hybridized from native prairie gentians.

Lisianthus flowers are available in single or double blooms and come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, lavender, blue, deep rose, and cream. Some types feature white petals with edges in contrasting colors. They grow up to four feet tall and can be planted in the spring, blooming until the fall frost.

When growing lisianthus, it is important to use rich, well-drained soil in full sun. Water young plants regularly to prevent them from drying out, and space them 12 to 24 inches apart. Deadhead or cut blooms for bouquets to encourage growth, and stake tall plants for support.

Most gardeners buy lisianthus plants rather than propagating them from seeds. The seeds are very small and take over three weeks to germinate. It may take several months under lights for the seedlings to reach outdoor planting size.

Lisianthus flowers have a variety of uses. Shorter varieties can be planted in the front of borders, beds, and containers, while taller types work well in masses towards the back of borders. They also make great long-lasting bouquets.

Some popular lisianthus varieties include Forever Blue, an ever-flowering award winner that grows up to a foot tall, Mermaid, which comes in many colors, and Heidi hybrids, which feature huge blooms on taller plants.

The scientific name for lisianthus is Eustoma grandiflorum.

For more information:

  • Annual Flowers. Discover your favorite annual flowers, organized by color, sunlight, soil type, and height to make it easy to plan your garden.
  • Annuals. Learn about all of the annuals that can enhance your garden beyond flowers.
  • Perennial Flowers. Complement your annuals with these delightful perennial flowers, also organized by height, soil type, sunlight, and color.


1. What is Lisianthus?

Lisianthus is a flowering plant native to the southern United States, Mexico, and northern South America. It is also known as Prairie Gentian or Texas Bluebell. The plant produces delicate, bell-shaped blooms in shades of pink, white, purple, and blue.

2. How do you care for Lisianthus?

Lisianthus prefers full sun to part shade and well-draining soil. It is important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage more flowers.

3. Can Lisianthus be grown in containers?

Yes, Lisianthus can be grown in containers. Use a well-draining potting mix and a container with drainage holes. Water regularly and fertilize every two weeks during the growing season.

4. When is the best time to plant Lisianthus?

Lisianthus can be planted in the spring or fall. In areas with mild winters, it can be grown as a winter annual. Plant in well-draining soil and in a location with full sun to part shade.

5. What pests and diseases affect Lisianthus?

Lisianthus is susceptible to aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. It can also be affected by fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and botrytis. Proper care and maintenance can help prevent these issues.

6. How tall do Lisianthus plants grow?

Lisianthus plants can grow up to 2-3 feet tall depending on the variety. Dwarf varieties are also available that grow to only 6-12 inches tall.

7. How long do Lisianthus blooms last?

Lisianthus blooms can last up to two weeks when properly cared for. Deadheading spent blooms can encourage more flowers to bloom.

8. Can Lisianthus be used in floral arrangements?

Yes, Lisianthus is a popular choice for floral arrangements due to its delicate blooms and long vase life. It is often used in wedding bouquets and centerpieces.

9. What is the meaning of Lisianthus?

Lisianthus symbolizes appreciation, gratitude, and charisma. It is often given as a gift to express admiration and thankfulness.

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