I suppose it was just a flight of fancy, one of those sudden impulses which seem perfectly reasonable at the time but then turn sour. What I had overlooked was that most of the flowers I lusted after in the florists window had actually arrived by plane from the warm shores of Asia, the Southern states of North America, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Way back in March while ‘researching’ cut flower seeds I came across an advert on Ebay for one of my favourite cut flowers, a double yellow Lisianthus, the cultivated form of Eustoma. I should have known this wasn’t going to be easy when just 5 seeds cost £1.75 + p&p but there were no others so I bought them. A few days later they arrived in a small packet, or rather the crushed remains did.
Undeterred, I contacted the lady seller and she kindly sent me some more, this time better packaged.They were sown on 27 March in my propagator but after 3 weeks nothing had happened. Then eventually, one tiny little shoot emerged. It just sat there for weeks, doing nothing. Then another shoot emerged and did the same.
The weeks went by and at the end of June I was fed up of looking at the miserable weaklings which by now had been overtaken by everything else and were now just taking up space. I put them in the cold frame and was too busy with other things at this stage to be bothered with them any more so I ignored them completely. Sometimes you just have to put it down to experience and move on. Then, all of a sudden, they decided to grow! Up they went, branching and filling out as they grew until, by the end of August, one had faltered slightly but the other had reached 60 cm tall, strong and healthy and showing 21 tiny flower buds.
Both plants look healthy enough, they have been variously fed with Phostrogen, Tomorite, home-made Comfrey tea and seaweed extract over the last 5 months and, due to it’s warm and humid origins, I have kept them warm and sprayed the buds and glaucous green foliage with tepid rainwater every few days. I have treated the larger one as a house plant for the last 4 weeks to avoid cooler night temperatures so it has had just about everything it could possibly want – and it still won’t flower! At this rate it will be sitting next to a Poinsettia as part of the Christmas decorations! I am now desperate and out of ideas.
I wonder if anyone has had similar difficulties getting them to flower? There must be something I can do to stimulate the buds to open. Perhaps a kind blogger friend in warmer climes could offer me some advice.
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I have been trying to grow these plants in Barbados. I had the same start up time like you and I thought they would never come up. Now they have grown and they have gone into dormancy. Two have flowered and the rest of them have not lengthened. You can see them on my blog
I have decided to chill the seeds and will plant some more when the temperatures drop a bit in January.