Lisianthus, Tulip Gentian, Texas Bluebell
Native to the high plains of the West. Longtime favorite for pots, borders, and especially for cutting gardens. In summer, a foot-wide clump of gray-green foliage sends up 1–3-ft. stems topped by tulip-shaped, 2–3-in. flowers in purplish blue, pink, or white; these are excellent in bouquets. Bloom lasts all summer if old blossoms are cut off. Fully double flowers of Double Eagle and Echo series resemble roses. Color range of single-flowered Heidi series includes red and a so-called yellow (actually ivory). ‘Forever White’ and ‘Forever Blue’ are bushy and compact, to about 1 ft. high, with large single blooms. Mermaid and Lizzy are dwarf (8-in.) strains. For a pretty patio display, grow several purplish-flowered lisianthus plants in a large brown stoneware pot with lower purple-flowered angelonias. Soften the pot’s edges with a trailing chartreuse bacopa (Sutera cordata ‘Gold ’n Pearls’).
All need good garden soil, good drainage. Plants grow better and have longer stems where nights are warm. The best cut flowers are produced in greenhouses. Tallest types may need staking.
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