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How to Grow Lisianthus with Care and Cultivation

by Blaky
Lisianthus Plant Care

The exquisite flowers, reminiscent of the buds of barely opened roses, are still little known to amateur florists. In their historical homeland – in the southern states of America – they are called “Texas bells.” The wild-growing lisianthus has a bright purple-pink color and is very prominent in the prairie steppe landscape. The advantage of cultivated varieties is larger petals and a wide palette of shades. The Irish rose can decorate any flower bed or home mini-greenhouse.

General Characteristics of Lisianthus

One- and two-year-old lisianthus plants belong to the Gentian family. Their natural range is the equatorial and subequatorial expanses of Florida, Texas, Mexico, Brazil, parts of the Panama and Caribbean islands. In appearance, as well as some botanical features, lisianthus is similar to ordinary poppies. In particular, the similarity is manifested in the shape of the petals, the structure and size of the flower, the capsule, and the tiny seeds contained in it. Unopened buds and blossoming terry varieties are closer to roses, although they look softer and airier in comparison.

Lisianthus Plant Care

There is no classification of Irish roses as such since all these plants belong to the same species. Differences arise only as a result of selection, and the purpose is to achieve even greater decorativeness by increasing the number of buds and unusual colors of the petals. Florists highly value monochromatic white, yellow, red, lilac varieties and flowers with a contrasting border or a soft gradient of shades. Cut lisianthus produces luxurious bouquets and elegant wedding compositions.

How to Grow Lisianthus

The southern origin of Texas bluebells is the reason for the rather capricious behavior of these flowers in temperate climates. After all, summer at the equator lasts almost all year round, which means that it will have to provide bright artificial lighting and comfortable warmth for the normal development of the lisianthus.

Growing lisianthus is carried out in only one way – seedlings from seeds and the cycle must be started no later than January. The emergence of seedlings to the beginning of flowering takes at least 20 weeks, 5–6 months, and the germination of microscopic grains itself requires at least 20–30 days. Eustoma does not lend itself to vegetative propagation, so it is unlikely that it will be possible to divide an adult bush or root a stalk.

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Irish rose seeds are recommended to be sown in 1-2 pieces in separate cassettes, plastic cups, or peat tablets. A plastic container with a transparent lid would also be a good option – you can easily create a greenhouse effect in it. The optimal substrate for future seedlings is light turf soil with the addition of river sand, and from ready-made mixtures, you can choose soil for indoor violets (Saintpaulia). The soil should be well moistened with warm water, then deepen the grains into it by 2-3 mm, tightly cover the containers with a transparent lid or polyethylene and leave at + 20… + 25C for germination. Additional light is not needed at this time, and the main thing is warm and constant moderate humidity.

Lisianthus Plant Care

When green shoots appear, the lisianthus should be placed under a fluorescent lamp. Otherwise, the shoots will stretch out and turn yellow. All this time, it is important to water them with water at room temperature regularly and gradually open the film so that air can penetrate the ‘greenhouses.’ Around the beginning of spring (March-April), two-month-old plants dive one by one into separate pots, where there must be good drainage and nutritious sod-black earth with sand. It is impossible to expose delicate seedlings in direct sunlight, but diffused daylight near the south window or on a warm balcony will only benefit her.

Low-growing indoor varieties of Lisianthus are left to bloom on the windowsill. In contrast, garden varieties are transplanted into the open ground only after the threat of frost has completely passed – it all depends on the climate in a particular region. The area for these flowers should be sunny and quiet, sheltered from the wind, with moderately moist chernozem soil. For the first week or two after planting, the seedlings should be covered with halves of plastic bottles with open caps – for adaptation and protection from the night cold. After 6-7 pairs of leaves in tall varieties, the central stem is pinched to form more lateral shoots, and the bush looks more voluminous. If everything is done correctly, the lush bouquets of Irish roses can be admired for 2-3 months – from July-August to October.

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Lisianthus Care

Cultivation of “prairie gentian” can hardly be called a simple occupation, but the appearance of exotic buds will fully justify the effort. Healthy bushes with lush and beautiful inflorescences result from observing a whole list of conditions in which the lisianthus can develop and its natural environment of eternal equatorial summer.

Lighting

Above the central meridian of the Earth, the sun lingers the longest, which means that the Texas bell initially needs a long day of light and many photons. Therefore, when cultivating it from seedlings, you cannot do without a special lamp, which should shine at least 14 hours a day. For adult plants, ultraviolet radiation is enough on the southern windowsill or flowerbed located on the warm side of the building.

Lisianthus Plant Care

Temperature

During the entire growing season, from planting the seeds to the ripening of the capsules, lisianthus should be warm most of the time. The ideal temperature for a capricious flower is + 20 … + 25C. It does not tolerate long-term cold – it can get sick. After flowering, two-year varieties are advised by professionals to prune, leaving only two pairs of lower leaves, transplant into a pot, and keep at + 12 … + 14C in a well-lit place until next summer. In this case, the plants only need to be watered occasionally with settled water.

Watering

Moistening the soil under the lisianthus should be done moderately but regularly. It is beneficial to spray the plant with warm water (preferably in the evening, when the liquid will not evaporate in the sun). The Texas bell is not adapted to accumulate moisture since it rains quite often in its habitats. Overdried soil and air will cause leaves and stems to dry out quickly, which can cause flowering to stop altogether.

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If the substrate is too dense and the temperature is low, then root rot can occur with excessive watering or stagnant water. To avoid such consequences, it is advisable to loosen the land around Irish roses with prolonged precipitation periodically. You can also mix river sand, peat, sawdust, or some fine drainage to it.

Lisianthus Plant Care

Fertilizers

The feeding of young lisianthus plants is carried out in several stages. The first – 3 weeks after germination – is spraying the sprouts with zircon, promoting root development.

After picking the seedlings, water-soluble preparations with a high content of nitrogen and calcium are introduced into separate pots for the rapid growth of green mass every two weeks. Before flowering, potassium humate (tea solution) and potassium phosphate are used.

These additives contribute to the formation of more buds and have a beneficial effect on the bushes in general. However, as for the dosage, it is better to adhere to the recommendations indicated on the packaging of the selected fertilizer.

Disease and Pest Control

Lisianthus Plant Care

Like many exotic crops, lisianthus is very susceptible to all kinds of diseases. A great danger is the so-called “blackleg,” which affects the roots due to excessive watering and cold, soil fungi, powdery mildew. Treatment of the soil with special preparations – “Fitosporin” before sowing and replanting, “Fundazol” or its analogs will help to neutralize them – if prolonged rains are predicted.

Insecticides will help protect delicate plants from spider mites, scale insects, aphids, whiteflies, slugs. To avoid insect attacks, it is better to carry out preventive spraying 1-2 times a month. It is even more important to ensure the correct growing conditions in which diseases and pests do not usually appear.

After reading this article, You will be convinced that this delightful flower can be a real decoration of any interior and personal plot by viewing this. Considering that growing Irish roses at home from seeds is not an easy task, watching exotic blooms on your own windowsill, flowerbed, or in the garden will be doubly pleasant.

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