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GardenSMART :: Tiny Lewisia Makes a Big Impact

Tiny Lewisia Makes a Big Impact

By Jennifer Calhoun, Ernst Benary of America, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Benary

You have limited time for your garden, yet you want it to be beautiful all season long. Well here's a plant that is easy to plant, easy to maintain, and lots of fun! 

Lewisia Elise Series is an incredibly versatile, first-year-flowering perennial that can be used as a potted plant, colorful succulent or bedding plant. Hardy in USDA Zones 3-8, it's also heat and drought tolerant and blooms for months in most climates.

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Lewisia got its name from Captain Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark fame) when he discovered it clinging to the cliffs in the Rocky Mountains of the Western United States. This is probably also how Lewisia got its common name, cliff maids. So it is easy to see that Lewisia Elise is ideal for rock gardens, but it also makes a beautiful border in well drained soils, or colorful accent in succulent planters. It can even be grown as an indoor potted plant if provided with a cool environment and full sun.

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When not in flower, the thick, waxy, rosette of leaves of Lewisia Elise look very similar to Echeveria so they can easily be merged into succulent plantings. But when in bloom, their strikingly beautiful flowers will light up your garden with color. The plants stay in bloom for 4-5 months, so they can easily hold their color all season long.

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Lewisia Elise is a FleuroSelect Gold Medal Winner! It is available in Ruby Red, White, or a Mix of peach, yellow, pink and other shades. Here are some growing tips from the experts at Benary: 

  • Plant height: 5-7'' (12-16 cm); spread: 6-8'' (15-20 cm)
  • The key to happy Lewisia plants is good drainage. Sow in a well-drained media with a low pH (between 5 and 6), and avoid excessive Nitrogen.
  • During germination maintain temperatures between 68-72°F (20-22°C)
  • Keep slightly moist, avoid excessive watering, and avoid overhead watering.
  • Provide good air circulation. Lewisia can rot if leaves are not allowed to dry out.

Ernst Benary of America

For over 175 years, Benary has developed some of the leading annuals, perennials and ornamental plants from seed. Known worldwide as a leader in begonias, Benary's assortment also includes some of the industry's most sought after varieties in pansies, pentas, petunias, marigolds, impatiens, and rudbeckia, to name just a few.

Our professional quality products are offered to growers through our wide network of distributors and brokers around the world. Our long history as an independent family-owned business has allowed us to live our passion for breeding and to stay inspired by the beauty of our industry. Our breeding team continuously develops excellent new varieties in professional seed quality.


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Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners

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