Lewisia Planting Guide

Given Lewisia’s incredible beauty and how easy it is to grow, it’s surprising that these plants are more widely used. In containers, where moisture conditions can be managed, they are well suited to much of the U.S. Our plants come from a local Southern California grower, not a large supplier. Stock is limited.

Choosing a Growing Site

Lewisia plants aren’t generally fussy but they are downright unforgiving when it comes to drainage. Dry winter soil conditions are needed to avoid rotting the plants’ taproots. Ideal light conditions vary; plant in full sun in parts of the country with largely overcast weather (Seattle) and in part shade in regions with lots of full sun days (Denver).

Soil Prep

Lewisia thrives in soil that is moderately fertile and very well drained. For containers, use a mix with generous amounts of sharp sand or grit to guarantee good drainage.

When to Plant

Plant outdoors when frost danger has past. Lewisia plants are hardy perennials and can take freezing without ill effects, once they are established.

How to Plant

Dig a hole a bit larger than the potted rootball of your plant. Situate the plant so that the soil in the pot is level with the garden soil. Tease out the roots gently and fan out in the soil. Refill around plant with soil, tap down to eliminate any big air pockets and water well to settle the soil around the roots. Keep soil lightly moist for the first few weeks while your plants are establishing.

Lewisia Spacing

In the garden, space your plants so they have enough room to grow without crowding. Allow about 10-12” between plants. When grown in containers, plants can be spaced at 8-10” apart.

During the Growing Season

Lewisia will provide a number of flushes of blooms through the growing season if the soil is kept moderately moist. Once cold weather arrives and the plants become dormant, little to any water is needed. Wet winter conditions will kill Lewisia plants.

Insider Tips

  1. This plant was discovered and named by the Lewis and Clark expedition in Montana, in 1806. It is the Montana state flower and is named for Meriwether Lewis.
  2. The Shoshone Indians ate Lewisia roots as a delicacy and believed that they bestowed special powers.
  3. Lewisia is attractive when planted in groups or mixed colors. Feel free to plant your Lewisia trio together.
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Success Snapshot

Light: Sun to partial shade depending on region

Soil: Moderately fertile and very well drained

Water: Average moisture during growing season; dry in winter

Uses: Rock gardens, crevices and containers

Tip: Great drainage is key for happy Lewisia plants

GUIDE: Lewisia Planting Guide

They Start Out Looking Like This: