Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Caring for a wildflower meadow in Austin, TX.
March 22, 2016 - We have a meadow full of wildflowers in the country, bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, etc. What can we do to promote continued growth and is there a certain time of year we should mow? Should we fe...
view the full question and answer

A blue-eyed grass with salmon-colored blooms?
June 16, 2015 - Has anyone heard of a blue-eyed grass variety that has salmon-colored blooms? I have a photo if needed.
view the full question and answer

What habitat would my Antennaria solitaria like in Red Bank, TN?
October 26, 2010 - I want to know what habitat my mystery plant will like- sun, shade, dry or moist. I think it is an Antennaria solitaria or Little Pussytoes. I got it at a native plant sale here in Chattanooga. It has...
view the full question and answer

Optimum planting time for perennials and trees
November 02, 2007 - Our group is running out of fall workdays. Is it OK to plant native perennials and small trees in Central Texas during the winter months? Or should we wait now until the spring?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Brooklyn, NY
January 25, 2013 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a fast growing ground cover for my Brooklyn, NY back yard. The area is nestled between 3 buildings and a fairly large tree, so most of the day its shady, but ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.