Bottle Gentian in Fall

Plant Pick: Fall Blooming Bottle Gentian

Gentiana andrewsii or Bottle Gentian

Such a beautiful flower and so vividly blue, it won my heart right away. And it blooms in the late Fall? Oh my!

This is a native plant to North America.  These flowers are bottle-shaped, looking like over-sized flower buds .

But they do not open, hence the name they are sometimes called, Closed Gentian. I haven’t planted in hypertufa yet, since it has a long tap root and needs a lot of moisture. But I have planted it in a bottomless planter because of this and it is doing well. I think it needs more sun since it is growing in a loose branched plant and I would rather have the tighter small bush. 

Pinterest photo of Bottle Gentian

These plants are badly in need of the bumblebee as its primary pollinator because big bumblebees are one of the only pollinators strong enough  to force themselves into the closed flower to pollinate it.

I acquired my Bottle Gentian as part of a grouping of other plants purchased in the  fall which included some pansies, and a small cypress which has long since died. This year is the second year that I have grown the plant and it has faithfully returned each spring. It is herbaceous in Ohio and dies back to the ground in winter. 

But these flowers are so beautiful and vividly colored that they fascinated me. I really didn’t have much hope that it would return that first year since it was so exotic looking, but it DID!

After blooming well into November, I was just resigned to it not sprouting again that following spring. But there were little points that came back up that following spring!

Short Bottle Gentian - the Hypertufa Gardener


I am anxious to see how they do this fall. I have a large clump of these plants. I don’t know if it is one plant, or a cluster of the plants.  Maybe I will dig some up and move them to a sunnier spot and I will be able to tell if it is one or more. So I will just hope that it blossoms after I move it and enjoy it if it does!


  • Full sun or partial shade  (I think it grows best in full sun)
  • Flowers: late July to Frost  ( mine was blooming in snow)
  • Moisture: Moderate to High with rich soil
  • Height 1 – 2 feet, Spread 1 – 3 feet
  • Zone as low as 4-5  to unknown? 

I will update if and when I have blossoms this year. My plant looks pretty healthy right now. It is about a foot tall and has many stems, but I am not sure if those are each an individual plant or a cluster of branches. In reading about it, it seems to have just a single stem which will end in the flower cluster?  If you have this plant, help me understand if you can.

Update: Sadly, I had no blooms this year 2019 on my Bottle Gentian. I do think I still have a living plant (fingers crossed), but it went through transplanting twice this year. And then I have to admit a period of neglect where it didn’t get watered for a time. It was just in the wrong location. So I am hoping I still have a living plant to treat better next year.

BottleGentianfrom thehypertufagardener

Let me know in the comments or on the Facebook Page if you have any experience with this plant. This last photo is of the plant prior to blooming. I know you love this plant as much as I do. I love blue!

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