The Lisianthus, common name eustoma, is a herbaceous plant cultivated for ornamental purposes in pots and for the cut flower trade, highly appreciated for their simple and elegant design for floral decorations for weddings and communions.
Characteristics and generalities of the Lisianthus
The Lisianthus it is a semi-rustic, annual or perennial herbaceous plant of the Gentianaceae family, native to America characterized by slow growth and generally compact habit.
The stems slender and flexible, 40 -50 cm long, they are cylindrical, light green in color.
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The leaves few and mostly basal lanceolate are opposite, waxy and bluish-green in color.
THE flowers, simple or double, bell-shaped, bloom at the apexes of the stems in different shades of color from white to yellow, from pink to purple red, from blue to mauve or even in two-colored shades as in the hybrid variety.
The petals of the Lisianthus, although not very fragrant, are graceful, sweet, with a light green throat, they enclose a central pistil surrounded by 5 short green stamens with a yellow anther.
The Lisianthus or eustoma blooms in summer.
Cultivation of Lisianthus
Lisianthus is a plant that prefers a temperate climate, fears rain and frost.
It does not like the direct rays of the sun, it prefers partial shade exposure or in bright areas sheltered by tall trees.
It prefers light soil, rich in organic substance, mixed with sand and above all well drained as the root rot caused by water stagnation in particular the plant grown in pots.
Lisianthus loves slightly humid soil therefore it should be watered regularly in the spring – summer period when the soil begins to dry out trying to avoid excesses, absolutely avoiding wetting the leaves and especially the delicate flowers.
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In winter, the plants are rarely watered to avoid the onset of root rot. In this season, even simple foliar nebulizations with rain or demineralized water will be sufficient.
In spring, every 20 days, administer specific fertilizer for flowering plants appropriately diluted in the watering water. A fertilization rich in iron (Fe) and low in phosphorus (P) will benefit the flowering of Lisianthus.
Multiplication of Lisianthus
The Lisianthus it multiplies by seed or by division of the tufts.
Sowing of Lisianthus
Sowing takes place in the seedbed in the autumn-winter period. The seeds must be distributed on the ground and must not be covered by soil.
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The sowing container must be kept in a protected place at a temperature not lower than 20/25 ° C and for all the time necessary for the germination of the seeds it must be nebulized with water at room temperature. Seed germination generally takes 3 to 4 months.
Multiplication by division of the tufts
There division of the tufts instead it should be practiced in spring, dividing the busiest and most vigorous plants.
The new plants must be planted immediately in well worked and drained holes on the bottom with the addition of a handful of sand. Even if with this vegetative propagation technique the plants will produce blooms immediately, it is preferable to multiply the lisianthus by seed to obtain an abundant and safe flowering in the following summer.
Transplant of Lisianthus
At the end of spring, the new seedlings can be transplanted into pots placed in bright positions and sheltered from the rain.
Topping or pruning of the lisiantus
To favor the development and the emission of the new lateral shoots, the Lisianthus plants must be topped at least once and gradually freed also from the withered flowers.
Lisianthus: cultivation in pots
This elegant flowering plant can also be grown in pots, preferably in a planter of adequate size for the type chosen, 10-15 cm deep for the Florida lisianthus and the perennial lisianthus; 7-15 for the lisianthus Lisa; 7-10 cm for the sapphire lisianthus. The pot should be filled with a loose, soft soil, with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0, enriched at least every 15 days with a fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, diluted in the water for irrigation.
The pot should be placed in an environment with a mild temperature, sheltered from the scorching rays of the sun of the summer months and moved inside as soon as the outside temperature begins to drop. Inside the house, the Lisianthus plant should be kept exposed to intense light and in an area sheltered from drafts.
Repotting of the lisianthus
To obtain a strong and luxuriant plant it is advisable to repot the lisianthus every 2-3 years using a pot a few cm larger than the previous one, new soil rich in organic matter always at an acid pH. The ideal substrate for cultivation is one made up of 1 part of sand, 1 part of peat and 2 of common soil.
Lisianthus is harvested when at least one or two flowers are open.
Diseases and parasites of Lisianthus
Lisianthus is subject to attack by animal parasites and is sensitive to fungal diseases.
It fears the attack of the red spider, of the scale insects and above all of the aphids that seriously compromise the flowers still in bud.
Among the fungal or mycotic diseases, it suffers from root rot due to excess water and white or powdery mildew caused by a too humid environment.
Cures and treatments
For root rot it will be sufficient to ensure adequate drainage for Lisianthus. To prevent or combat animal parasites, treatments with specific fungicides and insecticides are recommended. The biological pesticide with nettle or pyrethrum is also effective against aphids.
Variety of Lisianthus – Eustoma
The genus includes two species that are very popular as houseplants due to their abundant flowering. Both plants are grown outdoors only in coastal gardens.
A perennial or annual variety about 70 cm tall. It has cylindrical green stems with opposite, broad, light green leaves. It produces very delicate flowers with large, predominantly purple petals.
Lisianthus russellianus, also called Texas Bellflower or Prairie Gentian, is a plant with a refined habit. It has thin stems covered with blue-green waxy leaves. In summer it produces large, fragrant bell-shaped flowers with purple petals, supported by green, linear and pointed sepals. It is cultivated for the production of cut flowers used for the creation of splendid floral compositions and as an ornamental indoor plant.
Uses of lisianthus or eustoma
THE flowers of lisianthus are used to embellish homes, decorate churches, wedding banquets and brides’ bouquets.
Language of flowers
In language of flowers Lisianthus takes on a different meaning in relation to color:
- White Lisianthus: perfect for wedding ceremonies it symbolizes refinement, grace and elegance.
- Lisianthus yellow: although equally refined and elegant as the other flowers of the same color, it is the symbol of jealousy.
- Lisianthus rosa: symbolizes love just blossomed;
- Lisianthus lilac: delicate and elegant in the language of flowers, it is a message of sincere love.
Is lisianthus poisonous?
It is not a toxic or poisonous plant for humans or pets such as cats and dogs.
The name of the flower of Lisianthus or better Eustoma, comes from the Greek Greek eu (beautiful and / or good) and stoma (mouth, opening).