This weekend my wife and I ran across a flower we had never seen before. It was the Texas Bluebell (Eustoma grandiflorum), also called Prairie Gentian or Lisianthus. These flowers can be white, pink or purple. The purple flowers that we purchased are very blue in color.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Texas Bluebells from above"][/caption]
These plants have short stems, densely topped in flowers. The profuse blooming shouldn't be any surprise, given the species name - grandiflorum. However, in my opinion, the coolest element to these flowers is the appearance of the buds as they mature and open. And I think my wife agreed with me on that aspect. The petals spiral open like a rose.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Texas Bluebells (Eustoma grandiflorum)"][/caption]
There are few flowers that look as impressive in the bud state as they do fully open. Of course, after they do open, they look more like poppies than they do roses. But what a cool combination!
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="Texas Bluebell buds"][/caption]
I haven't planted them yet and they have been sitting on the front porch of my house, which receives full sun in the afternoon and evening. The high temperature has been over 100 for the last 5 days and these little plants are the only ones that haven't wilted each and every day. It seems they are rather heat and drought tolerant.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Texas Bluebell buds unfurling and looking like roses."][/caption]
In Oklahoma these plants are considered annuals or tender perennials. They are actually hardy in zones 8b-11. I will be planting mine in our corner garden and mulching them well this fall, hoping for them to come back next Spring. If they don't come back, I might just buy some more next year and keep them indoors overwinter.