Why do gardeners love the eustoma? For its fabulous scent in the front garden, its beauty comparable to the beauty of roses, and its long-lasting freshness in cuttings (up to three weeks!).
In the 80’s, the wild flower from the Indian prairies came to the attention of the Japanese. It was they who gave the world hundreds of varieties and species of eustoma: summer and autumn, potted and garden, waved and bell-shaped, tall and dwarf, monochrome and bicolor …
April 1 – this is the date experienced florists call the ideal date for planting eustomas (seedlings) in the ground in the middle belt, regardless of the weather. And this is no joke.
The thing is that during the first months of life, eustoma develops very slowly, which means that both the perky weeds and the first heat can easily ruin the baby! Planting early gives the delicate plant a chance to gain strength before active weed growth and the onset of severe heat.
- What tricks can still come in handy for those who want to grow their own eustoma?
- What does the flowering period of the eustoma depend on?
- What to do if the eustoma has bloomed before the end of “its” season?
Read in our article.
Planting and care of eustomas
- Planting: sowing for seedlings – at the end of February-beginning of March. Planting seedlings in the garden – three months after the appearance of seedlings.
- Flowering: Second half of summer.
- Lighting: shade or penumbra.
- Soil: Dry, loose, light, well-drained, neutral reaction.
- Watering: scanty, but regular. The best way to water – drop watering.
- Fertilizing: complex mineral fertilizers twice a month.
- Propagation: seed.
- Pests: thrips, whiteflies, spider mites and slugs.
- Diseases: false gray rot, fusarium, phytophthora, powdery mildew, root rot, and tobacco mosaic virus.
Eustoma (lat. Eustoma), also called lisianthus (lat. Lisianthus – bitter flower), or “Irish rose”, or “Texas bellflower”, or “Japanese rose”, belongs to the gentian family. In Latin, “eustoma” literally means “beautiful mouth,” or in a more literary version, “beautifully speaking.” The eustoma is thought to be native to southern North America, Mexico, northern South America and the islands of the Caribbean. An American Indian legend tells that the eustoma first bloomed on the grave of an innocent girl who was killed by a spirit of war because she refused to become his wife. It was the Irish physician and botanist Patrick Brown who discovered the eustoma for Europeans.
The plant is very popular among florists as a cutting plant, because freshly cut eustoma can stand in a vase with water for up to three weeks. Cultivated as a houseplant since the nineties
Eustoma stems are sturdy, nearly a meter tall, but graceful like a carnation. From the middle of the stem the twigs form a bouquet which can contain up to 35 buds which open one after the other. Eustoma leaves have a grayish or bluish hue, they are lanceolate-oval, matte, as if made of wax. The flower calyx is funnel-shaped, large and deep. Eusthoma flowers, swollen and unswept, 5-8 cm in diameter, different shades of pink, purple, white, purple, monochrome or with a contrasting border. When eustoma bud is half-opened, it looks like a rose, but when the flower opens, it looks like a poppy.
Eustoma is a biennial plant in nature, in the garden it is usually grown as an annual. A perennial eustoma is only possible in a potted version. In the ground eustoma can be grown as an annual and biennial plant.
- Eustoma prefer bright, diffused light;
- The best soil for eustoma is bark humus and peat in equal proportions;
- propagated only by seeds, as cuttings do not germinate, and too fragile a root system does not tolerate division;
- water only after the substrate dries to 2 cm deep;
- try not to transplant the plant: it is a perennial only conditionally, and the roots will not tolerate transplanting;
- The house eustoma blooms best in a ventilated cool room.
Growing eustomas from seed
Growing eustomas at home is a laborious and time-consuming task. However, for those who master this process, it can become a very profitable business, since eustomas are becoming increasingly popular both as a garden flower and as a potted crop. In this section we are going to talk about how to grow eustomas from seed, and the main difficulty of this process is that eustomas seeds are too small: in one gram, there are 23,000 of them! Purchased seeds are specially treated to increase germination, so out of a hundred of these seeds germinate about sixty.
If eustoma from seed is grown for planting in the garden, you should sow it in February or March, then it will bloom in July and August. You should use the same substrate as for flowering plants: sterilized, low-nitrogen, pH 6-7. Sprinkle the seeds, do not cover them with soil, just press them slightly and cover the container with film or glass, leaving gaps for air circulation and arrange additional illumination with fluorescent lights for 10-12 hours a day.
The temperature for germinating seeds should be at least +20 ºC during the day and at least +14 ºC at night. Instead of watering, sprinkle the seeds now and then, though you will hardly have to do this for the first two months: there will be plenty of moisture to evaporate.
If all the conditions are met, the sprouts should appear not later than in two weeks, and, once this has happened, you need to remove the cover and periodically spray the seedlings with a solution of Phytosporin. As soon as the seedlings have several pairs of leaves (it will happen in about a month and a half), pick them in pots 4-5 cm in diameter. After three months, the plants together with an earthy clump are planted in the ground.
Eustomma at home
If you want to decorate your apartment with blooming eustoma in winter, do the sowing from July to September. Fill a small container with moist substrate consisting of sand and peat (1:1) and sprinkle the seeds over it. Cover the container with cling film or glass and place it in a warm (19-22 ºC) and bright place, spray the seeds if necessary, and in two to three weeks you will see sprouts.
As soon as the seedlings appear first pair of leaves, the amount of moisture is reduced, allowing the top layer of soil to dry out between waterings. Thereafter, moisten only in the morning so that, in order to avoid black leg disease, the leaves are already dry in the evening and at night. When the sprouts have two pairs of leaves, you can pick them in separate pots and wait for flowering, which should come in January-February.
Growing eustoma in pots is not an easy task, because it badly needs fresh air and bright diffused light. The best way out is to have a window to the west or east, so that the plant can be kept at an optimum temperature of 19-22ºC with regular ventilation. Also, eustoma care involves moderate watering with fresh, soft water as the top layer of soil dries out.
Try to avoid both overwatering the soil and drying it out. It is not necessary to spray the plant, as this can lead to leaf diseases.
During intensive growth and during the formation of buds Eustoma need to be fed with liquid complex fertilizers in the consistency of 10-15 ml per 10 liters of water. And, of course, it is necessary to remove wilted flowers in time. Try to follow these conditions, and your eustoma in 90-100 days will please you with its blossoms again.
How to plant and take care in the garden
How to grow eustomus
You can grow eustoma from seed in December or January to bloom in June or July. Fifty-milliliter cups are filled with potting soil for violets and 3-5 seeds are placed on top, pressed slightly into the ground, and covered with foil so that the eustoma grows like in a greenhouse. The film will have to be lifted every 10 days to remove condensation from it and let the seedlings breathe a little. The optimum temperature for the emergence of seedlings after two weeks is 20-25 ºC. For the first couple of months, the seedlings also need extra light, but even with all these necessary conditions, the seedlings will grow very slowly. At the end of February the seedlings are placed on a sunny window sill.
Planting in seedlings
As a disease prevention, produce a spraying of seedlings with a solution of Fundazole at the rate of 1 teaspoon per 1 liter of water, and for faster growth – Zircon or Epin. After a month and a half after the sprouts, when they will already have a couple of leaves, pick seedlings in pots of 3-5 pieces, dipping into the soil on the lower leaves. Don’t forget to water and put a plastic bag over each pot for a greenhouse effect.
After a week, the sprouts will have doubled in size. In late February or early March, transplant the seedlings into larger pots (diameter 8 cm) together with an earth clod in the method of transferring, having previously placed a layer of drainage in the pots. Now they will grow, waiting to be planted in the ground.
Growing eustomas in the garden
In mid-May, when the risk of frost is over, the seedlings are planted in the open ground. Place for eustoma choose protected from draughts, with good drainage, light, but the light should be diffused. Planting is carried out in the evening or in cloudy weather. In a well-moistened hole the seedling is immersed together with a lump of soil in which it grew in the pot.
Eustoma grows as a bush, so you should plant it at a distance of 10-15 cm from each other. After planting, cover the seedlings for the first 2-3 weeks with glass jars or cut plastic bottles, and at this time you can not water it. About watering we have already written, let us clarify only once again: eustoma harms and excessive moisture in the soil, and lack of moisture.
When the stem forms 6-8 leaves, prick the top, so that the plant is better to branch. About a month after planting, when the seedlings are already well rooted, it is necessary to feed them with soluble mineral fertilizers. Plantafol is suitable for this purpose. In June, spray eustoma with Plantafol growth with increased nitrogen content, and in July and August – with Plantafol budding solution. You can use the drug Kemira, it is dissolved in water and water the plants under the root. Just try to use preparations in a slightly lower concentration than the manufacturers suggest.
The beginning of flowering of eustomia depends on when you sowed the seeds. If they were sown in late November or early December, they will flower in early to mid-July – depending on the spring as well. If you sow the seeds in mid-January, they will most likely start blooming in August. Once flowering begins, the process doesn’t stop until the end of October: some buds bloom, others bloom and so on.
Even early frosts do not scare a flowering eustoma; only in case of frost of -10 ºC and snowfall will flowering stop. If your eustoma blooms early, trim back the wilted blossoms and you may be able to have it bloom again in about six weeks.
Among the pests of eustoma dangerous aphids, slugs, whitefly and spider mite. To protect against insects, you should use Aktara, Fitoverm, Actellic or Confidor. Eustoma is affected by powdery mildew, fusarium or grey rot, from which it can be protected by preventive spraying with Fundazole or by using the preparation Ridomir gold.
Eustoma after flowering
Eustoma at home
Cut back the flowered potted eustomas, leaving 2-3 internodes, and put them in storage indoors at a temperature of +10-15 ºC. Watering during the dormancy period is rare, feeding the plant is not necessary. In the spring, when you see new shoots, transplant it gently along with the ground ball into new soil and resume watering and usual care.
You can extend your garden eustoma’s blooming time by transplanting it with garden soil into a pot and moving it to a balcony or windowsill. In the house, it will still enjoy blooming for some time under normal care. But the dormancy period comes in all plants. After the flowers fade and the leaves turn yellow, the garden eustoma is treated the same way as the room one: cut the stem at a height of 2-3 internodes and move it to a cool, well-ventilated room, almost stopping watering. There it will wait until spring.
Species and varieties
Although there are about 60 species of eustoma in nature, only varieties of Russell’s eustoma (Eustoma Russelianus) are grown as a potted plant, and varieties of Eustoma grandiflorum are grown as a garden variety. Some florists even believe they are one and the same species, and while flower scientists figure out who is right, we will divide eustoma species and varieties by intended use. Eustomas can be either short (no higher than 45 cm) or tall. Taller varieties are grown in the garden for cuttings, while the stunted ones are mainly grown as room or balcony plants.
Taller garden eustoms for cutting
- cultivar Aurora: a variety of mahrant eustomas, 90-120 cm high, bluish, white, blue and pink flowers. Flowering is early, 2-3 weeks earlier than other cultivars;
- Echo: 70cm high, spreading stems, big flowers, early flowering, 11 color variations, both monochrome and bicoloured;
- Heidi: plant height 90 cm, simple flowers, abundant flowering, 15 color variations in cultivation;
- cultivar Flamenco: height of 90-120 cm, stems strong, flowers simple, but very big (up to 8 cm), the main advantage – not capricious. Many color variations.
Smaller Eustomma varieties for apartment cultivation
- Mermaid: height only 12-15 cm, flowers are simple, up to 6 cm in diameter, shades of white, blue, pink and purple. It doesn’t need pruning to increase branching;
- LittleBell: does not exceed 15 cm in height, flowers simple, not large, funnel-shaped, different shades, does not need pruning;
- Fidelity: a white eustoma with many simple flowers, arranged on a spiral flower stalk, up to 20 cm high;
- FloridaPink: a pink eustoma with simple flowers that form an aligned bouquet.
- Read about the subject on Wikipedia
- Features and other plants of the Gentian family
- All Species List at The Plant List
- More information at World Flora Online