The more you grow and work with flowers, the more apparent it is that each species has their own little personality. Some are easy-breezy, go-with-the-flow types, like cosmos or zinnias - they germinate quickly, transplant well, grow like a rockstar in the field, and are gorgeous in bloom. Then there are the types, like Bells of Ireland, that put up a fight to germinate, but eventually cooperate and churn out blooms all season long. And then there is the category that stands alone, with one sole member - the lisianthus.
Miss Lizzy, as we lovingly call her, is a royal pain from the get-go. She is like the fussy toddler that crumples into a heap if you look at her the wrong way, the stubborn teenager who only does what she wants, when she wants, and how she wants, or the overly-picky customer that demands everything is done exactly according to their wishes before they will even think about paying you. This is one plant that I dare not start from seed, and order in plugs from experienced growers who lovingly nurse her along for 3 months before sending me trays of tiny plants. This week, Miss Lizzy arrived.
We will transplant them into the high tunnel in a week or two, and then begin the long journey of trying to keep them alive and happy until they start to bloom in July. They are very prone to root rot, so just enough water is required....too much and they'll die. They love to stubbornly sit and appear to not be growing at all until finally, they come around and agree to go along with your plan of raising them. It takes such patience and waiting and more patience and more waiting. Until at last, they bloom and you quickly forget all that babying and tender care and fussing....for they are truly incredible. They have been described as "elegant rose-like beauties" that quickly steal your heart. Their stems are sturdy and straight, they tolerate the heat of summer with ease, their blooms are vibrant, they can last up to two weeks in the vase, and then as a bonus they put on a second flush of blooms in the fall. Such a pain to grow, but such a reward in the end!