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Lovely lisianthus

In the cutting garden, there are certain flowers that are must-haves because they have specific qualities that make them excellent for growing and designing: a beauty that's massively appealing; long stems for fitting any size vase; longevity in the vase; and an ability to grow really well. For us, lisianthus hits on all of these.

This gorgeous bloom resembles a rose, and though it lacks the scent, is every bit as beautiful.

Lisianthus begin to bloom in our gardens around mid-July and last through the end of the growing season, often into October. They are very cold hardy, so we can plant them several weeks earlier than other more cold-sensitive flowers.

We grow our lisianthus in our unheated hoophouse to protect them from the harsh winds we experience on our ridgetop farm, and severe rains that can damage their petals.

While they do want a bit of protection from the elements, lisianthus are vigorous and hardy growers, producing several flushes of blooms per plant; a single stem can have several flowers on it.

There are many different varieties of lisianthus. Differences include the shape of the petal (some are very ruffled, like the two examples below, others more smooth), the lengths of the stems, the size and quantity of blooms, and of course the color.

Blue Chateau Lisianthus, which we are growing in the 2023 season. Photo from Farmer Bailey.

Voyage Light Apricot Lisianthus, which we are growing in the 2023 season. Photo from Johnny's Selected Seeds.

We start all of our flowers from seed every year with the exception of the lisianthus, which are notoriously difficult to get started, grow very slowly in their first few months of life while they need very tender care, which we are just not set up to do. So we order in 'plugs', or transplants, each year from a wonderful supplier in Vermont who ships us the tiny plants in April, when we can just pop them into the ground in our hoop house. Care after that is much simpler, and we are so thankful to get such wonderful plant starts that turn into these gorgeous beauties about halfway through our growing season.

In floral design parlance, the lisianthus is a 'focal flower', simply meaning that it is what attracts your eye in a design. Their elegance makes them perfect for bridal work, but also makes them just extra special to enjoy in a vase in your home.

In 2023, we will be offering a special 4-week lisianthus bouquet CSA option, where each week's bouquet will feature the lisianthus prominently, in addition to some other stunning summer flowers. Learn more and sign up here!

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