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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Monday - October 24, 2005

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Care of Florida Blue or Lisiantus in Houston
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm in Houston, Texas and I'm growing, for the first time, Florida blues, Eustoma, purple. Since I am from California I'm not familiar with this plant. It's beautiful. How do I care for them in pots during our winter?

ANSWER:

Florida Blue or Lisianthus is the cultivated version of the bluebell gentian or Texas gentian (Eustoma exaltatum, synonym=Eustoma grandiflorum). Another common name is Prairie gentian. Although the wild version is an annual or biennial, the cultivated version is a perennial. Your Florida Blue should do quite well outside in the usually very mild winter of Houston. You can add mulch around it to give it added protection. The wild version survives winters in USDA Zones 8-10. Houston is in Zone 9

However, if you prefer to grow it inside, you need to keep it in a sunny place in a pot with adequate drainage. It will require frequent watering, but needs good drainage to prevent root rot. You can read more about the care of your Florida Blue on the Lisianthus Discussion Page. University of Florida, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center has more information about "Bedding and Potted Plant Production" of Lisianthus.

 

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