The Q&A Archives: Care Of Lisianthus As A Cut Flower

Question: I am growing the Heidi and Mermaid varieties of Lisianthus for use in the field as cut flowers. I planted them from plugs and they are doing wonderfully. They are getting a little tall now and are shooting buds. Can I cut them back to make them stong and stocky? Will this promote lateral branching and still bloom on long stems? I am in Minnesota so they will have to wait a while before I can plant them out in the field. Thanks!

Answer: Lisianthus, or Eustoma, is native to the high plains of the West, but garden forms have been introduced from Japan. Although plants are considered hardy annuals, they grow better and have longer stems where nights are warm.

Lisianthus take quite a while to begin blooming, so I suggest you try cutting some back, but leaving some unpruned. The pruning will delay flowering, so this technique will give you some early flowers, and some bushier plants with more, but later, flowers. Set the plants out after the last expected frost; they should bloom all summer until a hard frost if old blooms are cut off.

Cut when the flowers have begun to unfold, preferably in the morning or evening. Dip the stem ends in boiling water, then let them stand in deep water for a few hours. Treated in this manner, the cut flowers can stay fresh looking for up to three weeks in a vase.

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