How to Grow Eustoma Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Prairie Gentian, Texas Bluebell, and Lisianthus

Although a perennial Eustoma is more usually grown as an annual in the garden. There are three species in the genus and they are commonly referred to as Texas Bluebell and Prairie Gentian.

Lisianthus Plant (Prairie Gentian), photograph by Jacinta lluch valero; CC.

Visit this page of Gardener's HQ if you are looking for advice on growing Gentian plants from the Gentiana genus.

Ideally Eustoma should be grown in areas that have hot summers.

Eustoma flower in the summer with double bell shaped flowers of purple, pink, or cream, atop an upright stem.

Eustoma exaltatum
Eustoma exaltatum - Catchfly Prairie Gentian by Marlin Harm; creative commons.

Plants can reach heights of 15 to 60 cm (6 to 24 inches), making them great to use in your borders.

Common names for Eustoma species include Prairie gentian and Lisianthus.

How to Grow Prairie Gentian and other Eustoma Plants in the Garden

It is best to start Prairie Gentian off indoors first.

The seeds should be sown on the surface of a moist soil in a peat pot, about ten weeks before they are due to be planted out in spring.

Eustoma grandiflorum
Eustoma grandiflorum by Plantscape (Ajinkya); creative commons.

It takes about one to three weeks to germinate; they require a steady temperature of 20 to 22 degrees Centigrade (68 to 72°F) and light to germinate.

Once the Eustoma plants have grown to a height of about 15 cm (6 inches) transplant them into a sunny part of the garden that has good drainage.

Space at about 30 cm (12 inches) apart.

Eustoma Video Growing Guide

Plants from the Eustoma genus are known as Lisianthus or Prairie Gentian plants. The often-grown species Eustoma grandiflorum common name is usually refered to as Lisianthus, but has more localized names such as Bluebell Gentian or Texas Bluebell.

NB. Eustoma russellianum is the generally accepted scientific name for Eustoma grandiflorum, but gardener's still generally refer to this plant as grandiflorum.

Commonly Grown Eustoma Species

Eustoma grandiflorum

Eustoma grandiflorum
Eustoma grandiflorum (Bluebell Gentian), picture by 阿橋 HQ; CC.

Eustoma exaltatum

Eustoma exaltatum
Eustoma exaltatum (Showy Prairie Gentian), Image by Andrey Zharkikh; CC.

Eustoma exaltatum subsp. russellianum

Eustoma exaltatum subsp. russellianum
Eustoma exaltatum subsp. russellianum (Eustoma "Lisianthus"), photograph by Tatters ✾; CC.

Commonly Grown Eustoma / Lisianthus Cultivars

'Double White Lisianthus'

Double White Lisianthus
Lisianthus 'Double White' photograph by Swallowtail Garden Seeds; CC.

Pink Lisanthus

Pink Lisanthus
Pink Eustoma Cultivar photograph by 阿橋 HQ; CC.

Yellow Lisanthes

Yellow Lisanthes
Yellow Eustoma Cultivar photograph by Kazuhiro Keino; CC.

Eustoma Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Gentian, Texas Bluebell, Lisianthus, Prairie Gentian, Tulip gentian.
Life Cycle: Hardy Hardy annual. Half hardy perennial. Biennial.
Height: 8 to 24 inches (20 to 60 cm).
Native: Americas.
Growing Region: Zones 5 to 10. As a perennial in zones 9 and 10. UK Hardiness: Perennial H3: hardy to -5°C (23°F); Annual H7: below -20°C (-4°F)
Blooms: Spring or Summer.
Flower Details: Purple, blue, pink, cream, white, yellow. Bell-shaped. Rose-like. 7 cm (3 inches) diameter.
Foliage: Blueish-green. Waxy.

Sow Outside: Surface. Early spring in warm areas. Spacing 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm).
Sow Inside: Use Peat pots. Germination time: ten days to three weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Three months in advance. Transplant seedlings when they reach about six inches (15cm) in height, a few weeks after the last frost when temperatures do not drop below 41°F (5°C).

Requirements: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Moist soil. Pinch tips. Do not transplant. Soil pH 6.5 to 7.
Family: Gentianaceae
Miscellaneous: Although often going by the common name of Gentian, members of the Eustoma genus should not be confused with members of the Gentiana genus Other members of this family include the Centaury.

Caring for Eustoma Plants

If you require more Eustoma plants, then they are best grown from seed. Once growing, young Eustoma should be pinched to encourage branching and further blooms.

It is important that the plants be kept very dry, though they can have an occasional light watering from below.