Bottle gentian Description:
Gentiana andrewsii, commonly known as bottle gentian, is a herbaceous perennial plant species in the Gentianaceae family. It is native to North America and can be found in wet meadows, bogs, swamps, and along stream banks from eastern Canada to the eastern and central United States.
This plant typically grows to a height of 30-60 cm and has smooth, erect stems with opposite, lance-shaped leaves that are 5-12 cm long. The leaves are dark green and often have a bluish tint.
The distinctive flowers of Gentiana andrewsii are deep blue and tubular in shape, resembling bottles with closed lids. The flowers are 3-5 cm long and grow in clusters at the tips of the stems. The flowers remain closed, except for bumblebees that are able to force their way in to collect nectar. The flowering season typically lasts from August to September.
Gentiana andrewsii has a long history of medicinal use by various Indigenous groups. The plant is known for its bitter taste, which is due to the presence of bitter compounds called iridoids. These compounds are believed to have various health benefits, including stimulating digestion and appetite. In modern times, the plant is sometimes used in herbal medicine as a digestive aid and to treat liver and gallbladder problems.
Bottle gentian is found growing natively in the Midwest and Northeastern United States.
Standard Plant Information:
Plant Height: 1' - 2'
Bloom Time: August - September
Preferred Habitat: Does well in part shade to full sun. Often found in moist fields, thickets, and woodland edges.
For most homeowners, the best option is to scatter seed on the ground by hand broadcasting at a minimum of 16-64 pls ounces per acre. For even coverage, we recommend that you broadcast seed in perpendicular rows across the site to ensure even coverage.
You’ll want to broadcast any grass seed first, which will get raked into the soil lightly. Next, it is ideal to mulch the area lightly with either a clean (no seed) straw or preferably with our native Little Bluestem straw, sold at our retail garden centers. After a light mulching is complete, now it’s time to broadcast your native wildflower seeds, which should not be raked into the soil. A good rain or watering is sufficient to cover the seed.
Simply dig a hole in the soil slightly larger than the plant’s roots. Ensure that the soil line of the plant is maintained during the transfer (i.e. the plant should be at the same level with the ground as it was in the pot). Pack any loose dirt back around the plant and make sure you water it well the same day to ensure it has the best chance of survival.
maps used with permission from MN Wildflowers