Plant of the Month for February 2020

Gentianan acaulis
Gentiana acaulis

Description and General Information:

Gentiana acaulis forms low mats of lance-shaped evergreen leaves.  The 6 cm diameter flowers, which arise on 4-6 cm stems, are trumper-shaped and intense deep blue with green spotting inside the throat. The popular trumpet gentian is native throughout mountainous areas of southern Europe from the Pyrenees, Alps and Carpathians.  It grows at elevations of 1700-3000 m on alpine meadows, rubble and scree slopes.  It often grows in association with Rhododendron ferrugineum, Geum montanum and Campanula barbata.  There are several named selections which vary in their shade of blue and also include white.

Cultivation:

Gentiana acaulis requires a sunny location in cooler regions or part shade in warmer.  The soil should be well-drained, gritty but somewhat peaty.  Reasonable soil moisture should be maintained.  They prefer slightly acidic soil but will tolerate more alkaline. It is hardy through zone 3.

Bloom Period:

In the wild, plants bloom from June to August.  In cultivation, blooming begins in April in milder areas, until June in northern areas.

Propagation:

Seeds, cuttings and division

Seeds:

Seeds respond to the use of GA3 but otherwise stratify for 12 weeks then gradually increase temperature.  Seeds may take two years to germinate.

Cuttings:

Rosettes with some stem may be taken as cuttings after blooming.

Division:

Large clumps may be dug and divided after blooming.

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