Often known as a "poor man's rose", the lisianthus is a truly beautiful flower for cutting and for garden appeal. As an annual, lisianthus blooms just one season, although some gardeners in very warm climates have had success in coaxing annuals to bloom again. Experiment, if you live in a warm area, and you may get several seasons of beautiful blooms!
Lisianthus comes in a wide variety of colours, although purple, pink and white are the most common. Stunning varieties which include colour borders are readily available; these make striking bouquets or focal points for your garden. This compact flower (plants range from 15 to 70 centimetres) looks very much like a rose, although some varieties are distinctly different. Leaves are elongated, somewhat resembling those of a tulip.
Your location will determine, to a large extent, your lisianthus-growing experience. These flowers prefer warmth, sunshine and soil that is well-drained but moist. If you live in, for example, northern South Australia, you'll need to be very careful about keeping your lisianthus watered regularly. Lisianthus can be purchased as small plants or as seeds. Starting these plants from seed is not difficult, but keep in mind that they are some of the slowest seeds to sprout and grow. Don't become impatient, but remember to start these seeds a bit earlier than your other plants in order to get them planted in time for growing season.
Due to their close resemblance to roses, lisianthus make beautiful bouquets. Wedding bouquets often feature these flowers, as do many corsages and boutonnieres for formal dances and weddings. Lisianthus typically looks best with blooms that are of a similar size such as miniature gerberas, roses or hyacinth. Larger more prominent blooms such as lilies tend to overwhelm this delicate bloom. As these flowers are so stunning, there's no real need for other blooms in order to make a visual impact.