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First, an introduction to the article. This article is about the classic wine-making plant, the bottle gentian, whose delicate flavor complements wines made from sweeter grapes like sauvignon blanc. Apart from being a beautiful illustration, the article offers tips on how to water and feed bottle gentian.Bottle gentian is a beautiful, showy wildflower that blooms August through October with 1.5-inch violet, sometimes white, closed terminal cluster flowers. Smaller flowers can be present in the axils of the upper tier of leaves. Only strong bees can force the corolla open in order to get at the nectar and deposit pollen. The plant itself is an erect, 1-3 foot tall forb with a non-branching stem. The leaves are mostly stalkless, lance-shaped with parallel venation, and devoid of hairs. As the leaves move up the stem, they go from being opposite leaves to more of a whorled pattern.
Bottle Gentian are slow-growing but long-lived and require little care once established. Bumblebees are the main pollinators because they are the only insects strong enough to pry open the closed flowers (see photo). Cream Gentian is the first Gentian to bloom in late summer. Bottle Gentian and others (see our website) may wait until September or October to lend late-season color to mostly sunny sites in medium-wet to medium-dry soils. It is a great companion with other late bloomers such as: New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae), Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana), and Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya). Other common names include Closed Bottle Gentian, and Andrew's Gentian.
A Prairie Moon • July 11 Hi Vi. Does the damage seem to be decreasing the vigor of the plant? I’m not sure where you are located, but here in Minnesota it has been a very wet spring and summer. The high humidity and wet leaves are conditions most fungal disease thrive in. Gentians tend to host a Septoria leaf spot which may have a similar appearance to blights. The leaf spot is mostly cosmetic damage, and the overall health of the plant should not be impacted. Removing affected leaves is a good first step. If we finally get a dry spell, the spots should clear up.A Prairie Moon • October 14 Hi Rosemary. I think all 3 could be effective, but most notebly I think providing natural plant support in the form of other native grasses and flowers near by would be best. We have Bottle Gentian in a small office prairie here, mesic soil, that only gets morning sun by late summer and into the fall. They are not flopping over but they have lots of Asters, Coneflowers, and prairie grasses to lean on. (Source: www.prairiemoon.com)