Thursday, June 5, 2014

My favorite plant this week: Eustoma grandiflorum

I've got the blues coming on - the blue-flowered plants in my garden, that is.  Agapanthus dominate my borders at the moment but some of the smaller specimens of blue-flowering plants are also commanding attention.  I was torn between two prospects this morning, unable to decide which to feature in today's post in connection with the favorite plants meme hosted by Loree of danger garden.  I took photos of both and decided to make a decision based on which of the two took better pictures.  Hey, I live in the shadow of Hollywood - that's how decisions are made here!

The winner is Eustoma grandiflorum, commonly called Lisianthus, specifically a variety called 'Borealis Blue.'  I usually end up planting one or more colors of Lisianthus somewhere in my garden each year.  I find myself unable to pass them by when they arrive in the nurseries.  I bought the first of mine this year in late April, just before our first heatwave.  Three of the 6 I bought perished in their pots before I could get them planted but those I got in the ground are flourishing.

Eustoma grandiflorum 'Borealis Blue' in the backyard border alongside Achillea 'Moonshine'



I found the plants in the 'Borealis' series, which grow 18-24 inches (46-61 cm) tall, in 4-inch pots but I've since found another double-flowered variety, 'Mariachi Blue,' in 6-packs so I've recently added more to my backyard border.  The smooth, gray-green, slightly succulent foliage is nice but it's the flowers that make this plant.  The largest flowers of the 'Borealis Blue' are 3 inches (7.6 cm) wide.  The stems  bear 3-5 flowers.  These flowers come closest to what I imagine a blue rose would look like if such a thing actually existed.




Eustoma grandiflorum is native to the warm regions of the southern US, as well as Mexico, the Carribean and the northern regions of South America.  It's suited to USDA zones 8-10.

Lisianthus come in a variety to colors in addition to blue, including pink, purple, white and, occasionally, pale yellow, carmine and bi-colors.  Last year, I put in some in a pale pink variety.  Although I pulled most of these last winter, I left one in the back border, where it's also in bloom now.

Eustoma grandiflorum 'Echo Pink'



I'm thinking of looking for some white or yellow Lisianthus for my weather-worn front borders; however, the double-flowered blue varieties remain my favorites.




Eustoma grandiflorum 'Borealis Blue' is my favorite plant this week.  Please visit Loree at danger garden to see her favorite.  You'll also find links to other gardeners' selections.


20 comments:

  1. OMG those blue flowers are huge for the plants size, amazing. And I like your selection process.

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    1. The blooms this year even caught me by surprise, Loree.

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  2. The intensity of the colour of Borealis Blue...gorgeous!

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    1. It certainly can't be ignored, can it?

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  3. The flowers do look a lot like roses. Such a pretty blue color, I'm glad it was your choice today based on its photos.

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    1. The other choice was nice too - it just wasn't as flashy. It may show up next week (unless something else demands attention, of course).

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  4. How beautiful! Love that color of blue. I grew lisianthus in the rose garden last year and they performed beautifully. I haven't been able to find any yet this year as I wanted to repeat that combination

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    1. Our seasons seem to start earlier than elsewhere in the country, Deanne - I expect the Lisianthus will show up soon in your area.

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  5. Very beautiful!
    The first time I see one.
    Very different plant stores you visited.
    best regards
    Mariana

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    1. It probably wouldn't be hardy in your area of the world, Mariana, but then you can grow things I can't even dream of.

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  6. Are you able to go a whole day without staring at those beautiful blue flowers? I know I wouldn't. Pair with the yellow achillea, wow!! Tell me, how tall do the Achillea grow with you - over here A. moonshine is very tall.

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    1. The Lisianthus demand attention every time I walk by, Angie. A. 'Moonshine' usually grows about 2 feet (61cm) tall here but this year all the flower stems have toppled to the side - I'm not sure why they're not holding their heads up.

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  7. I'm always tempted by pictures of lisianthus, but I don't think I've ever seen it available here (though I've never specifically looked for it either). I bought seeds of a blue and a pale green variety but couldn't start them in time for this year. I might try starting them this winter. Great favorite and another lovely blue and yellow combo!

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    1. I think the flower's popularity has increased here since the double forms became available, Evan. I'll have to try starting them from seeds too - I'd like to grow some of the bi-colored varieties, which are harder to find in the local nurseries.

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  8. Wow! Borealis Blue may be my favorite plant of the week too, and I don't have one. Those blue blooms are gorgeous; now you have given me another plant to add to my wish list!

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    1. All the double-flowered Lisianthus are pretty but I have to admit a preference for that blue one myself, Deb.

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  9. I tried to grow lisianthus when I lived in upstate NY but wasn't very successful. Now when I see it, I just avoid it. But it's so pretty I might need to give it another try. :o)

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    1. I didn't have much success with the single-flowered forms I tried to grow in my former garden, Tammy, but the double-flowered forms seem to be hardier, even in the heat of summer here. That pink one has been in the ground for a year now and it's flowering again.

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  10. Blue and yellow is one of my favourite colour combinations. The Lisianthus is stunning. You can only grow it as an indoor plant here and I have never seen it in such an amazing blue colour. Fabulous!

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  11. I got excited looking at photos of eustoma, and thought that I may grow it in my garden. No chance, it needs lots of sun and it would be a challenge to find a nursery that has them in their offer.

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