Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Prairie Gentian, Lisianthus, Texas Bluebell
Eustoma grandiflorum

Family: Gentianaceae (jen-shun-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Eustoma (yoo-STOH-muh) (Info)
Species: grandiflorum (gran-dih-FLOR-um) (Info)

Synonym:Lisianthus russellianus
Synonym:Bilamista grandiflora

29 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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7 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive holeth On Jul 7, 2014, holeth from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

GREAT reference site for more info about this plant, including seed saving & germinating tips:

I grew this as an annual in PA, now i get the chance to grow it in its native range in TX!!! FABULOUS cutting flower or bedding plant. Needs consistent moisture, excellent drainage, & plenty of room for deep roots.

Cultivated varieties lose fertility in a generation or two. If seed saving, best to cross-pollinate different cultivars & trade with other savers.

Good starter plant for people interested in cultivating gentians for conservation.

Positive carolbtx On Oct 2, 2013, carolbtx from Magnolia, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have lived in Texas for 37 years, but saw my first Eustoma exaltata ssp. russelliana early this summer, in Montgomery, Texas, along the roadside. Once I'd seen the first, small stand of flowers, I met stand after stand, some of them as big as 30 square feet, along the same, winding country road. After that, no more. I returned for seeds a few weeks later, but the grass had been mown. They are endangered because people often pick flowering stems from every visible plant, hereby preventing them from setting seed.

Positive kman_blue On Sep 10, 2006, kman_blue from (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is an excellent Kansas native wildflower. It grows out in the hot dry mixed grass prairies, as well as the even drier short grass prairies. It sticks out with it's spectacular blooms in late summer when most other plants look stressed and aren't showing much color. It's also often times called Russell's Prairie Gentian. It's sometimes listed under it's synonymous scientific names Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum or Eustoma russellianum. Cultivars derived from it are by far and away most commonly sold as Lisianthus(another old scientific name). I'm not exactly sure why this plant is in the Tropicals/Tender Perennials category, because it is a hardy annual or half-hardy biennial(Much like the introduced Sweet William, Dianthus barbatus) in much of it's native range, which includes places as far North as Nebraska and Colorado(zone 5 or even Southern zone 4).

Neutral Wingnut On Jun 28, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Though these are a Texas native (and so am I), I've only seen half a dozen stands of these in the wild in my life. Where they do grow, they are in thick masses. Beautiful!

Positive BUFFY690 On Sep 26, 2003, BUFFY690 from Prosperity, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

The seed heads need to turn brown on the stem there are ALOT of tiny seed in a pod. You can start them indoors from seeds but it takes about 4 and a half months to get blooms. Buy plants for instant gratification. Buy plant with alot of buds with one or two open. They will bloom out and then seem stunted for about a month but then you will get new plants coming from under the original foilage and there will be bunches and bunches of flowers. In the picture of mine above I had just cut back some for a flower arrangement, and just look at the buds I left. It seemed they just keep bloomong and blooming. The foilage is nice too I was going for a slightly tropical feel in my little garden and the blue-gray-green leaves fit right in and I needed something of that height. They are a wonderful plant and come back if you just mulch real heavy. I decorate the front porch with hay and I start with that as a first layer over everything and then cover with leaves and other mulch. Usually everything comes back.

Positive AusTXpropagater On Sep 5, 2003, AusTXpropagater from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Eustoma grandiflora grows native in east central Texas. Bluebell Creamery, in Brenham, adopted this flower's common name. In the wild, it often blooms spectacularly during summer drought -- mostly in ditches and slopes where a little water may have accumulated. The wild variety produces tall stems -- very suitable for cutting. They hold up well for several days and maybe as much as a week in a vase.

The tiny seeds resemble ground pepper, when ripe and the sticky fruit splits open. Consider them a short-lived perennial, because individual plants don't always come back the next year. I wouldn't say that the seeds exhibit a high germination rate. They probably require some special soil condition -- beneficial fungi, I suspect -- that I have not successfully provided in my garden.

Positive silver16fox On Aug 15, 2003, silver16fox from Schenectady, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:

I live in upstate NY and I purchased this plant because I thought it was just beautiful. I have 12 of them in various colors because I had to buy that many to get just one. Because I have been told it is cannot survive the winter here I put mine in pots. They performed beautifully. Now I plan to try to take them inside for the winter. If anyone has done this please let me know how they fared.

Positive Suhtai On Jul 14, 2003, Suhtai from Lancaster, PA wrote:

This is my 2nd year growing this wonderful flower. Last year we had a drought and it was the one flower that continually blossomed all summer long. I had it planted in full sun and part shade, both the regular and the dwarf versions, in all sorts of colors. Just be sure to regularly clean off the dead flowers and water it at a little each day or every other day. I originally planted them to use as cut flowers, but I just hated to take them out of the garden.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 8, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Beautiful flower, but not the easiest to care for. Mine likes the shade more than the sun, probably because of the heat down here. They like plenty of water.

Neutral lupinelover On Apr 22, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Pinching when young will help increase the branching of this beautiful flower, thus giving many more flowers.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama
Cave Creek, Arizona
Garberville, California
Merced, California
Kissimmee, Florida
Winder, Georgia
Oak Forest, Illinois
Coldwater, Kansas
Great Bend, Kansas
Pratt, Kansas
Slidell, Louisiana
Bellaire, Michigan
Rochester, Minnesota
Elkhorn, Nebraska
Wood River, Nebraska
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Page, North Dakota
Summerville, South Carolina
Sweetwater, Tennessee
Unicoi, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Brenham, Texas
Cleburne, Texas
Collinsville, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Dallas, Texas
De Leon, Texas (2 reports)
Desoto, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Garland, Texas
Georgetown, Texas
Keller, Texas
Lipan, Texas
Midlothian, Texas
Montgomery, Texas
Plano, Texas
Rowlett, Texas
Santo, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Willis, Texas
Lynchburg, Virginia
Olympia, Washington

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