The latin name for Lisianthus is Eustoma, from the Greek ‘eu’ beautiful and ‘stoma’ mouth, a reference to their large funnel-shaped flowers. Eustoma grandiflorum is particularly popular and has a number of cultivars that are grown for the cut flower market. Lisianthus is a half-hardy perennial native to the prairie from Colorado to Nebraska and down to Texas. It is an herbaceous annual, growing to 15 – 60 cm tall, with bluish green, slightly succulent leaves, and large flowers growing on long straight stems. In the wild they are blue but the cultivated varieties come in blue, lavender, various shades of pink, white, white with a purple center and white with a pink or lavender rim. Some varieties have doubled petals and look much like roses. Lisianthus have become popular with florists because they are long lasting. When you get them home, cut the stems on a slant with scissors and place them in a clean vase with fresh water. Keep them away from bright sunlight as they don’t like humidity, and pick off faded flowers. If growing outdoors, plant in spring, in well-drained soil about 15cm apart. They benefit from a bit of support from twigs or similar, and pinch out the growing tips a couple of times to stop them getting too leggy and to encourage more flowers.