Photo: Andreana Bitsis

Ask Ella: Try Lisianthus Instead of Roses

Ask Ella is a recurring Garden Collage feature where we ask our in-house florist, Ella Stavonsky, about floral design– including the history of, origin, and maintenance that goes into some of the most intriguing flowers on the market today. This column is dedicated exclusively to common and rare varieties of flowers you’re likely to find at your local market. This week, we spotlight lisianthus, the reasonably priced rose look-a-like.


Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) is hands down our favorite option for affordable flowers because they have a full, ruffled look and come with several blossoms to a stem. (We used them with great success in our “Bang for Your Buck” bouquet.) There’s a variety of colors to choose from– pink, purple, blush, even a pale green– and from afar they look like a smaller, more delicate variation on roses. Looking along the inside, however, it becomes easier to tell them apart from roses; lisianthus has multiple tiny bright yellow anthers, and the petals tend to part around the middle where roses often stay tightly bound.

Photo: Andreana Bitsis

To use lisianthus in bouquets, make sure their stems are cleaned of leaves, and consider pinching a few of the buds to make them last a little longer. Then, place them in hot water for ten minutes before transferring them into the cold with the rest of the arrangement. (“If you notice them looking a little weak, you can always recut the stems and repeat this process,” Ella adds.)

As a rose alternative, lisianthus is the perfect affordable option, with several blooms to a stem and a similar variety of colors as roses. “They’re great for weddings because lisianthus is a very elegant flower,” Ella tells us. “Try pairing them with sweet peas, anemones– delicate, country flowers like that.”


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