Lisianthus: like a rose, however totally different

Roses are red, violets are blue, lisianthus is red, blue, purple, pink, orange, yellow, and even lime green! Forgive my poetry, but the wide range of colors in Lisianthus deserves some recognition. What other flower looks like a rose but can be naturally lime green?

Lisianthus is often used in flower arrangements because of its resemblance to a rose and its longevity. They have a long shelf life in the vase and can last up to two weeks if cut and placed in water, and maybe a little longer if given flower food. Roses only last about a week, which makes lisianthus a cheaper, yet elegant, cut flower option.

Lisianthus is more than just pretty to look at; They make a great garden pollinator! Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds will likely flock to your lisianthus plants all summer. They are a great addition to your garden when you need help attracting pollinators and enjoy cut flowers. Pruning encourages new growth so you can keep them indoors and out throughout the growing season.

Let's find out why you should grow Lisianthus in your garden!

Good products on Amazon for growing Lisianthus:

Brief instructions for care

Rosa Lisianthus is very reminiscent of roses in its appearance. Source: robynejay

Common namesLisianthus, prairie gentian, bluebell gentian
Scientific nameEustoma grandiflorum
familyGentian (Enzianaceae)
Height & SpreadHeight: 1-3 feet (30-91 centimeters), Spread: 9-12 inches (22-30 centimeters)
BrightFull sun in the morning, partial shade in the afternoon
floorLoamy, sandy, well-drained soil
waterAllow to dry between waterings
Pests & DiseasesAphids, thrips, whiteflies, fungal diseases, viruses

Everything about Lisianthus

Two-colored LisianthusSome Lisianthus varieties produce two-tone flowers. Source: robynejay

Lisianthus or Eustoma grandiflorum are flowering plants native to northern Mexico and the Great Plains of the United States. Although it is native to this area, it didn't really become popular in the United States until the 1980s. When it first appeared in seed catalogs, it was called Lisianthus russellianus. When it was later recognized as part of the Eustoma genus, people were used to calling it Lisianthus so the name stayed close. It is also called Prairie Gentian or Bluebell Gentian because it belongs to the Gentian family.

Lisianthus flowers are often planted in gardens to attract pollinators. They come in a wide range of colors so you are likely to see different pollinators in your garden. They are herbaceous and have stems that grow up to 3 feet tall, making them best for growing in the ground or in raised beds in most situations. However, there are dwarf varieties that do not grow more than 1 foot tall and work well in containers on patios.

Lisianthus plants are usually grown annual, but in USDA Climate Zones 8-10 they are biennial, which means they don't flower the first year, but the second year, and then they die. In USDA Zone 10, you will most likely grow them as a perennial that comes back every year.

To grow Lisianthus, you need to plant seeds in winter, probably around January. When you are in the ideal growth zones, you should be able to sow them outdoors. Otherwise, you will need to plant them inside with grow lights and transplant them into the ground in the spring. You will see your plants bloom in early summer and you can keep the flowers in autumn until the first frost. In warmer climates, you may be able to plant seeds in late summer and hibernate the plant for it to flower in late spring or early summer.

However, sowing the seed can be a little tricky. They are extremely tiny, and some strains have been known to take quite a while to germinate. It's best to start these plants indoors before you're likely to need to plant them, just to make sure you have them when it's time to plant them out.


Purple LisianthusPurple flowers stand out particularly in the garden. Source: cdanna2003

Lisianthus has a reputation for being difficult to grow. It may seem like this to beginners, but once you know how to take care of them, it's easy to implement. Be patient when growing lisianthus seeds as it takes a long time for them to show signs of life. They can take up to three weeks to germinate and six months before you see the first flowers.

Light & temperature

Lisianthus is an elegant, but heat-loving plant that is native to USDA zones 8-10 but does not like direct afternoon sun. When planting lisianthus, choose a planting site where it has full sun in the morning and partial shade in the afternoon, when the sun is most brutal. In climates with mild summers like the Pacific Northwest, you may not need as much shade in the afternoon and you may be able to use full sunlight. If you are planting the seeds indoors, growing light is required to produce healthy seedlings as a window has limited sun and they need something that mimics the brightness of full sun for at least part of the day.

The lowest temperature Lisianthus can survive outdoors is -10 ° F (-12 ° C). If you live in zones colder than 8, you will need to move your plants indoors until temperatures rise again. In zone 7, you may be able to save it by next spring with a thick layer of mulch and row covers, but keep in mind that it needs plenty of light.

Water & moisture

Lisianthus prefers an even amount of water, about an inch per week. If it doesn't rain often, the plant needs to be watered. Young seedlings should be kept moist until they are mature, but even when they are mature, the flowers will thrive best if given plenty of water.

Pour lisianthus at the base, being careful not to let the water touch the leaves. In raised beds and in the ground, this is the easiest way to achieve this with soaking tubing. Lisianthus is drought tolerant. So if you miss a watering or two, your flowers should be fine.

Be careful not to water too much, as this can increase the chances of your flowers getting plant diseases. Watering early in the morning is ideal to give the water time to penetrate the soil before the sun evaporates excess moisture. It also gives the soil time to dry out a little before night, which reduces disease. Lisianthus needs well-drained soil so that water can drain off easily and does not form around the roots.

Adult lisianthus need less water in spring and autumn when the temperatures are not that hot. It should be noted that Lisianthus enjoys a hot summer with dry periods in its natural habitat. So when grown in humid climates, they use less water and can even suffer from too much water. As the hot summers fade into the late summer months, you can gradually reduce the need for watering.


White LisianthusCreamy white lisianthus can be stunning in a bouquet. Source: madlily58

Lisianthus needs well-drained soil to prevent water from pooling around the roots. A nutrient-rich, loamy-sandy mixture is ideal. Adding compost or fertilizer will help the plants grow more leaves and make the flowers bloom.

The pH range for Lisianthus flowers is between 6.2 and 6.8. It doesn't grow well in acidic soils, so avoid letting the acidity drop below 6.2. The ideal soil temperature range for growing Lisianthus is 15-23 ° C. They can survive a little cooler or warmer, but this is the area to aim for to make sure your Lisianthus is happy.


One of the joys of growing Lisianthus is that it requires very little fertilizer unless you want it to bloom heavily. You can start by planting it with rich compost and freshening up the soil with more compost once or twice a year.

Applying a high-potassium fertilizer during the growing season will increase the number of beautiful flowers you will have on any lisianthus plant. Using a nitrogen-rich fertilizer will make the plants grow more foliage instead of flowers.


Lisianthus plants are self-seeding, so you can let nature take its course as you fill your flower beds. The plants don't like it when their roots are disturbed, but if you want to move a plant from one place to another, you can carefully dig up seedlings and plant them where you want them.

You can save Lisianthus seeds after the flowers have died and sprinkle them over the earth. The seed needs sunlight to germinate, so press it gently into the soil but don't leave it covered. Try not to plant them in unprotected open areas as the wind can blow away the superfine seeds.


Lisianthus makes great cut flowers and bouquets, so pruning is likely something you will often do if you want beautiful flowers in your home. As soon as the rose-like flowers bloom, cut them off at the bottom of the stem. Lisianthus plants can make multiple tall stems that branch out to make more stems, so only cut the ones you need. Remove the leaves and put them in a vase with water.

Pruning Lisianthus stimulates the plants to grow new flowers so you can cut flower stems all season long so your flowers will grow until the first frost. If you leave the flowers on the plant, remove used flowers to encourage new growth. To dull the old flowers, look for a place under the withered flower for a pair of leaves and cut it right above it to encourage further growth.


Close up of a green lisianthusGreenish-white flowers are not uncommon in Lisianthus. Source: Melnee Benfield

When it comes to pests and diseases, Lisianthus doesn't make a big fuss. Often times, most problems are caused by accidental overwatering or wet leaves.


Lisianthus is prone to hungry insects looking for plant sap to eat. Aphids, whiteflies, and thrips may not kill the entire plant, but they do cause damage that affects the beauty of the flowers and foliage. Repeated uses of neem oil or insecticidal soap will kill them.


Lisianthus can get fungal diseases like botrytis cinerea and downy mildew. Botrytis is a gray mold that can form on flowers, buds, leaves and stems. Downy mildew is a gray spot that starts on the underside of the leaves but can eventually cover both sides. These diseases can be avoided by never watering the leaves and never overcrowding the plants so they have good airflow. Treatment with neem oil or a copper-based fungicide can help with both.

Viruses can be caused by pests and can be transmitted from plant to plant. They usually cause spotted and speckled leaves. It can be prevented by allowing good airflow between plants and fighting pests as soon as you see them. You will need to remove and throw away infected plants as most plant viruses cannot be treated.

frequently asked Questions

Yellow LisianthusEven a yellow lisianthus is possible. Source: Gabludlow

Q: Are Lisianthus difficult to grow?

A: Lisianthus is considered difficult to grow because the seeds take a long time to germinate and it can take up to six months for them to flower. But if you have the patience and can provide the plants with partial shade and adequate water, you will find that they are not that difficult to maintain and make a nice addition to any flower garden.

Q: Do Lisianthus come back every year?

A: Lisianthus will come back in warm climates. In USDA zones 8 and 9, the lisianthus grows biennially, so it lasts for two years. In zone 10 it is grown as a perennial that comes back every year. In colder areas you can grow Lisianthus as an annual.

Q: is lisianthus poisonous to humans?

A: Lisianthus is not toxic to humans, so they can be safely planted in containers on patios and brought indoors as cut flower arrangements.

The green fingers behind this article:

Leave a comment