Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
The lisianthus or eustomas are a favorite cut flower. The buds are rose-like, while the open blossoms look much like tulips or ranunculus. For 2010 you’ll find any number of new kinds available.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds has added a new color of Lisianthus in the Echo Series. Echo Blue has frilly, double petals in a shimmering deep blue. The sturdy, straight stems are 2½ to three feet in height. The stems are ready to cut when several of the blooms are fully open. This would be about 4½ months from when the seeds are sown.
Cinderella Lime is a new addition to the Cinderella series of lisianthus, which were bred especially for cut flowers. These have lots of blooms on each stem.
Cinderella Lime has frilly, double blooms in a delightful shade of lime green. The delicate petals are arranged in tight clusters. This has smaller leaves than some lisianthus. The blossoms are three inches wide, and open on two to three foot tall stems. The stems are thick and straight.
Champagne Arena is a new addition to the Arena series. Champagne has lovely double blooms in a blend of colors. These include white and cream with pastel pink edges. This series was also bred for cut flowers. The stems are thick and strong. The other colors in the series include green, white, pink, yellow, and rose. Seeds of Champagne Arena are available from Park.
The Vulcan series of lisianthus also has several new colors. Champagne has lovely pastel single flowers in shades of yellow, pastel pink, and apricot.
Harvest lisianthus stems when a couple flowers on the stem are open. They’re used as a medium form flower. They have a vase life of about one to two weeks.
These annuals are great for cutting gardens. The lisianthus needs full sun. They prefer a rich, well drained soil. They’re drought resistant and free of pests. They’re tolerant of hot summers.
It is best to start these seeds indoors about three months before the expected last frost. Leave the seeds uncovered as they need light in order to germinate. Just press them on top of the seed starting mix. The seeds can take about 1½ to two weeks to sprout. Germination is best at a minimum temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.