Versatile and long lasting, these delightful beauties have become favorites of florists and consumers alike.

name games.
Lisianthus russellianus (lis-ee-AN-thus roo-SELL-ee-an-us), which is more commonly known today botanically as Eustoma grandiflorum (you-STOW-ma grand-i-FLOR-um), goes by the common names “prairie gentian” and “Texas bluebell.” Most retail and wholesale florists refer to it commonly by the botanical name Lisianthus.

means well.
The botanical name Eustoma comes from the Greek eu, meaning “good,” and stoma, meaning “mouth,” referring to the beautiful corolla (petals) and throat. The specific epithet name grandiflorum means “large flowers.”

family matters.
Lisianthus is a member of the Gentianaceae (gentian) family, and a close relative in the floriculture world is Exacum (Persian violet).

here's lookin' at you.
Single-flowered Lisianthuses have showy, cup-shaped tuliplike flowers, and double-flowered varieties are often mistaken, especially by consumers, for garden roses. Some triple-flowered varieties also are available, but doubles are the top sellers. Stems range from about 12 to 24 inches in length, with gray-green leaves and branchlets with flower buds at several stages.

color scheme.
Hues span the palette from pastel pink, lavender, yellow and salmon/coral to bright pinks; deep purples, including blue-violet; white; green; “red”; and bicolors.

born and bred.
Although Lisianthuses are hybridized largely in Japan, they are native to the U.S. Great Plains of Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas as well as northern Mexico.

always in season.
Lisianthuses are available year-round; however, they often are most abundant from June through December.

best buys.
These beautiful flowers are sold in 10-stem bunches. Choose bunches that have stems with at least one bloom three-fourths to fully open and several mature buds. Look for bruising on petals or foliage as well as signs of Botrytis (gray mold), which can appear as gray patches on leaves.

outside the box.
Immediately upon receipt of these flowers in your shop, remove the bunches from the shipping boxes, and check the flower quality. Next, remove all stem bindings as well as any leaves that would be under water in the storage containers.

drink up.
Recut the stem ends on an angle with a sharp knife or pruner, removing at least 1 inch of stem, to open stems for water uptake. Immediately after recutting, dip or place the stem ends into a hydration solution, to maximize water uptake. Then place them into clean, disinfected containers partially filled with lukewarm (100 F to 110 F), properly proportioned flower-food solution, which will increase vase life and enhance bloom color.

be cool.
Place the container(s) into a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F, and allow the flowers to hydrate for at least two hours before selling them or designing with them.

issues with ethyl.
Lisianthuses’ sensitivity to ethylene gas varies by cultivar, but most are at least slightly sensitive. Ethylene gas will reduce the flowers’ vase life and cause premature bud drop. To be safe, ensure that all your Lisianthus purchases are treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the grower level or during shipping. Also take steps to eliminate the production of ethylene in your shop.

facts of life.
With proper care from farm to florist, Lisianthuses should provide consumers with seven to 14 days of enjoyment. Individual blooms should last about a week, and several of the larger buds on each stem should open—although they are often lighter in color than the main flowers.

throw a curve.
Lisianthuses are geotropic (affected by the force of gravity) and will curve upward if stems are placed horizontally.

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