Eustoma – growing the queen of bouquets – growing and care

Irish rose, elegant and refined eustoma, has known both periods of universal admiration and almost oblivion. But today she is again popular and loved. This plant is grown primarily for cutting. Beautiful flowers, reminiscent of delicate silk half-open roses, stand in bouquets for a long time. A wide palette of colors, the tenderness of a flower with amazing durability always surprise. As well as the complexity of growing a plant that requires a special approach to itself. Eustoma is grown both as a garden, as a greenhouse, and as an indoor culture. And in any capacity, the plant will require very careful care.

Эустома. Farmer Shihmei Bargerx

Description of eustoma

Also known among flower growers as Lisianthus Russell, Irish, Japanese rose, Texas bell or love rose, eustoma is one of the most beautifully flowering crops. Both in gardening and in floriculture, it is represented by only one species – eustoma large-flowered (eustoma grandiflorum).

Earlier in the genus Eustoma (Eustoma) distinguished three separate species. However, the joint work of employees of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew (UK) and the Missouri Botanical Garden (USA) to streamline the nomenclature of modern plant taxa, combined the following species under a single name – Large-flowered Eustoma (Eustoma grandiflorum): Large-flowered eustoma (Eustoma grandiflorum), Lisianthus – Eustoma Roussel, or Russell (Eustoma russellianum), Eustoma small, Gentian small, Western gentian, Blue marsh eustoma (eustoma exalted).

Large-flowered eustoma is a luxurious plant with a height of 30 to 90 cm with branched shoots, simple, elegant leaves with a bluish tint and flowers reminiscent of a hybrid of a rose and a poppy. Up to two dozen large, luxurious flowers bloom on one plant per season, and due to the fact that they do not open simultaneously, but in turn, eustoma retains its attractiveness for an amazingly long time.

The ability of the buds to bloom after the withering of the flowers is also preserved in bouquets: buying an eustoma or displaying it in vases, you can be sure that each bud will turn into a beautiful Japanese rose. Each plant looks like a bouquet: due to the specific branching, strong, but slender, fan-shaped, the eustoma really seems to be a bouquet planted in a pot.

Eustoma bloom depends on the timing of sowing and begins 20 weeks after sowing. In classic garden eustomas, it starts in June-August and lasts until mid-autumn, because the plant will not stop delighting with flowers until the frost reaches -10 degrees and snow falls.

The color palette of eustoma today includes not only white, purple, pink, yellow, orange colors, but also various two-color and watercolor combinations. Compact indoor eustomas have colors that are usually clean and bright enough, while garden ones have a much wider range of colors. It even includes light green, fruity shades.

The huge assortment of eustoma and its popularity all over the world is the merit of the breeders of the USA and Japan. In the west, this plant is one of the most popular cut species, but in our country this Japanese beauty is slowly gaining ground.

Bouquet of eustoma
Bouquet of eustomas. Farmer ekenitr

Different approaches to growing eustoma

The rose of love is a truly exclusive plant. And its special status of “a flower not for everyone” is fully justified. After all, growing eustoma is really not easy. There are 3 different growing strategies for eustoma:

  • in room culture;
  • in the garden;
  • in greenhouses or greenhouses as a cut plant.

The agrotechnology of growing eustoma in the garden and in greenhouses is no different. Most often, the plant is cultivated as an annual, simply discarded after the magnificent flowering season. This approach has a definite plus: it is the annual eustomas that can be made to bloom most abundantly. Growing as a perennial requires indoor winter maintenance, because eustoma does not tolerate frost.

If you have the opportunity to transfer the eustoma, place it, then it will delight you with magnificent cut flowers from year to year. True, there are some nuances here: many growers notice that eustoma does not cause trouble and pleases only 2 years, and from the third it begins to hurt, be affected by pests, gradually withers away. So there are only two options for growing it – as an annual or a biennial.

As a houseplant, eustoma is just beginning to gain popularity, it is quite rare. And in this capacity, only eustoma with a minimum height, dwarf varieties, can be cultivated.

A kind of intermediate option – growing as a garden potted plant. It allows you to achieve the main thing: to get rid of the need for digging for the winter, because the pots just need to be moved indoors. But there are also some other benefits. In particular, easier control over conditions and humidity, the ability to adjust lighting without problems. In terms of conditions and care requirements, indoor and potted eustomas are identical.

Eustoma, cultivar 'Echo Pink
Eustoma, cultivar ‘Echo Pink’. Farmer Kris Peterson

Growing eustoma in the garden and greenhouses

The agrotechnology of growing Irish cut roses is similar when planted in protected conditions of greenhouses, and in open soil. After all, temperature preferences, like other requirements for plants, do not change.

Conditions required for eustoma in the garden

Both in the garden and in the greenhouse, the eustoma must be provided with the brightest possible lighting. Diffused light will suit the beauty as well as the brightest sunny locations. Even in the slightest shade, the eustoma may not bloom. It is better to protect a sissy eustoma from drafts, and even more so from cold winds.

The soil for the plant is also far from suitable. The soil should be well cultivated, improved, dug deep. Eustoma can only grow in water and air permeable soil, which does not create the risk of stagnant water and waterlogging. Loose, light, with a high percentage of organic matter and certainly fertile soil is the main guarantee of success in growing eustoma.

Planting eustoma in the ground

Before planting eustoma, it is necessary to improve the soil. Double digging with the introduction of humus, compost, a portion of full mineral fertilizers will be a sufficient measure for this crop. If the soil is too wet, there is even the slightest risk of waterlogging, then it is better to lay a new drainage under the ridge.

It is important to plant eustoma after the slightest threat of frost has disappeared, not earlier than the end of May for the garden and April in greenhouses. At the same time, the planting time itself also matters: the eustoma prefers planting in cloudy weather or in the evening.

The eustoma is planted in the soil so that a distance of 15-20 cm remains between the plants. The level of burial during planting should be the same as that of the seedlings. An earthy ball cannot be destroyed. Watering is carried out immediately after planting, and then stable conditions are maintained until growth resumes. If the eustoma is grown for cutting, then it is better to place the newly planted plants under a hood for several weeks.

Wild form of eustoma
Wild form of eustoma. Farmer Angela Orlando

Garden and greenhouse eustoma care

Japanese rose is very demanding to care for. It is sensitive to changes in humidity, top dressing, and gratefully reacts to an increase in air humidity in greenhouses (by any method, except for spraying).

Irrigation for eustoma should be systemic, but regulated in accordance with the frequency of precipitation and temperature. Waterlogging of the soil must not be allowed. But a prolonged drought will also lead to a disruption in development. Light, stable humidity, more frequent watering on hot days and during drought is the ideal strategy for the rose of love.

Top dressing is applied with full mineral fertilizers. After all, eustoma needs the same amount of nutrients, nitrogen is just as important for it as phosphorus with potassium. Traditionally, feeding is carried out monthly for eustoma in an annual culture, 3 times (active growth, budding and the beginning of flowering) for eustoma, which is preserved for the winter. When grown for cutting in greenhouses, tactics with nitrogen fertilizers before flowering and potassium-phosphorus fertilizers after budding are sometimes used.

This plant will gratefully respond to soil mulching, which will significantly reduce irrigation and stabilize growing conditions.

In tall eustomas, shoots are often too thin, weak, they need support. At the first signs of lodging, breaking of twigs, the plants need to be tied to a peg or pulled rows of twine for large plantings.

Eustoma, cultivar 'Borealis Blue' and yarrow cultivar 'Moonshine
Eustoma, cultivar ‘Borealis Blue’ and yarrow cultivar ‘Moonshine’. Farmer Kris Peterson

Wintering garden eustoma

Usually, potted eustomas growing in the garden are preserved for the next year, but you can also carefully dig up soil plants, transferring them with an undamaged earthen clod to pots. In eustoma, before wintering, shoots are cut off, leaving 2-3 internodes on them. Under the condition of minimal, meager watering, lack of fertilizing and bright lighting, eustoma should winter in rooms with a temperature of about 10-15 degrees Celsius. The usual care is resumed only when new shoots appear on the plant. In a heated greenhouse, wintering conditions are similar.

Pest and disease control in the garden

Eustoma does not belong to resistant plants. It attracts spider mites, slugs, whiteflies, which are best dealt with immediately with insecticides. And from diseases she is afraid not only of gray rot, but also powdery mildew with fusarium. To avoid the risk of infection, it is best to carry out preventive spraying with fungicides.

Growing eustoma as a house or garden pot plant

The opportunity to cultivate luxurious eustoma as a purely indoor plant appeared relatively recently. And we are completely indebted to her to Japanese growers, who have bred special varieties of eustoma that feel good in pots. 10-20 years ago, eustoma in the assortment of indoor plants was a miracle, and they were brought into the premises only to save for the winter for the garden.

It is better to buy indoor eustomas not in the form of seedlings, but ready-made formed bushes in specialized flower shops. If you are looking to purchase several of them along with your garden seedlings, make sure you are offered a variety specifically suited for potting. The height of indoor eustomas is limited to 15-30 cm.

Even modern hybrid indoor eustomas are grown as seasonal annuals, plants that, after colorful flowering, are easier to throw away than try to preserve in a perennial culture. If you arrange a full-fledged wintering for the eustoma, provide super-difficult care and cool temperatures, then the plant can be grown as a biennial, but the eustoma will not become a full-fledged perennial. Another unpleasant “surprise”: indoor eustomas usually grow rapidly after purchase, increase in size due to treatment with growth inhibitors.

For growing in a pot culture with a stay from late spring to autumn in the fresh air in the garden, only eustomas of sufficiently compact sizes are also suitable. Usually, you can find seeds and seedlings on sale that indicate that they can be used for container growing. Such densities can be grown both as annuals and as perennials, especially in pots or with planting in the ground for the summer.

Эустома. Farmer typesofflower

Lighting and temperature

Lighting for indoor and potted eustoma should be light, bright, but the plant should not be exposed to direct sunlight. On a sunny location, both the leaves and flowers of the eustoma will suffer, the plant may react too sensitively to violations of the comfortable level of humidity.

But the temperature regime is easier to choose: in the warm season, the eustoma will feel comfortable in ordinary room temperatures, and potted forms – in the fresh air in the absence of temperature drops to 10 degrees. If you do not want to throw the plant away and try to preserve it in winter, then after flowering and before active development begins, the eustoma should be placed in cool conditions with a temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius for indoor crops and 10-15 degrees for potted crops. Wintering lighting should not change.

Watering and feeding for eustoma

Caring for eustoma in indoor and pot culture should be meticulous, but not too difficult. This beauty is watered so that the substrate remains slightly moist all the time, without drying out, but also without excessive moisture. Between procedures, the top layer of soil (3 cm) should dry out, and it is advisable to drain the water from the pallets immediately after watering.

Top dressing is used only from the number of fertilizers for flowering plants, in a standard dosage every 2-3 weeks for any form of cultivation. With cold wintering, all watering is reduced to minimal, and no fertilizing is carried out. It is strictly forbidden to spray the plant, but the increased humidity will benefit the eustoma (it is provided by arranging trays with wet moss or humidifier devices).

For eustoma, only warm water is used: the temperature contrast between the ambient air and the substrate can be destructive for both indoor and garden potted eustomas.

Eustoma in a pot
Eustoma in a pot

Transplant and substrate

To stimulate the flowering of eustoma next year, after the plant wakes up, you need to immediately transplant. The eustoma is moved to a new substrate, if necessary, increasing the pot by only a few centimeters. For eustoma, slightly acidic or neutral soil mixtures with a loose, light, permeable texture are suitable, to which a large amount of fine sand is necessarily added.

For this culture, the substrate for Saintpaulias is perfect. A powerful drainage layer must be laid on the bottom of the container. But the main thing is not to destroy the earthy lump during the procedure, and even more so not to divide each eustoma bush, because the plant will not survive even the slightest injuries of the rhizome.

Diseases and pests

Indoor eustomas suffer less from typical diseases, but at the slightest violation of the comfortable moisture of the substrate, they are quickly affected by gray rot. Whiteflies and thrips are both dangerous for these beauties. At the same time, the inspection of plants for the earliest possible detection of the problem should be carried out as often as possible, and it is better to start the fight immediately with the help of fungicides and insecticides.

Potted garden eustomas are as vulnerable as those growing in soil.

Pruning eustoma

In fact, all potted eustomas only need a pinch at the seedling stage. But if the plant is saved for the next year, then it is cut off before being cleaned for storage, leaving several internodes on each shoot.

Cut for bouquets

Eustoma flowers are cut when at least a few “roses” open. You should not be afraid of pruning: the eustoma is able to bloom again, is actively developing and, on average, pleases with new inflorescences after 4-6 weeks. The same technique can be used for poor, very short flowering: by pruning, you can re-stimulate flowering in garden eustomas.

Variety of eustoma colors
Variety of eustoma colors. Farmer Kris Peterson

Reproduction of the eustoma

Despite the fact that eustoma reproduces both vegetatively and by seeds, only the sowing method can be used on a private scale. Eustoma cuttings are very difficult to root, they need specific and strictly controlled conditions, and this option is usually left only for selective purposes.

Eustoma has one key feature that complicates all agricultural technology: the seeds of this plant are ultra-small. 1 g contains about 15000-25000 seeds, and if you do not want to buy ready-made eustoma seedlings, but grow this crop yourself, then it is better to choose granular seeds right away. They are easier to handle and the seeding frequency is much easier to control.

Eustoma seeds are sown in mid-March. But if you want to get flowering bushes in the middle of summer, and not in August, then sowing should be postponed to February and even January. If the plant is grown in a room culture, the sowing time can be shifted depending on the desired flowering time (for example, for flowering during the winter, you need to sow eustoma at the end of July, August or the very beginning of September).

Only sterilized soil can be used for this plant. Unlike most annuals, eustomas are sown not in a common container, but in small pots with a good drainage hole, allowing bottom watering. Seeds should be scattered on a pre-moistened substrate without covering. Germination is carried out at a stable temperature of 23-25 ​​degrees Celsius (a drop to 18-20 degrees at night is permissible). Every day, the crops are aired in the morning and evening, and a stable light humidity is maintained by bottom irrigation or spraying.

The germination process takes about 2 weeks, but at the very beginning of development, eustomas grow very slowly. To protect against blackleg during this period, it is better to spray the seedlings with phytosporin, and in order to avoid disturbances in the development and loss of plants, protect young seedlings from direct sunlight. The pick is carried out in individual containers only when 5-6 leaves appear.

After transplanting, the plants are carefully watered, and from the tenth day from the pick they are introduced into the feeding program with full mineral fertilizers. After releasing 7-8 leaves, the top must be carefully pinched to thicken the bushes.

Eustoma seedlings are transferred to open soil or garden pots only when the threat of return frosts disappears, not earlier than the end of May and the beginning of June.

When grown in a greenhouse or conservatory, sowing can be done directly into the soil. Seeds are rarely scattered, and then the seedlings are thinned out so that a distance of 15-20 cm remains between the plants.When sowing in the ground, the temperature is critical:

  • if germination took place at standard 23-25 ​​degrees, then the eustoma will bloom in the same year;
  • if the temperature was higher, then it will only form a beautiful rosette of leaves, but it will bloom like a biennial, only in the second year of cultivation.
Eustoma - growing the queen of bouquets - growing and care
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Anna Evans

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