Gentiana linearis

Common Name: narrowleaf gentian 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Gentianaceae
Native Range: Northeastern North America
Zone: 3 to 7
Height: 0.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Blue
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Best grown in consistently moist to wet, slightly acidic, well-draining soils in full sun. Hardy in Zones 3-7.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Gentiana linearis, commonly called narrowleaf gentian or bog gentian, is a herbaceous perennial native to boreal and higher elevation forested regions of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. It is typically found growing in bogs, fens, wet meadows, stream margins, roadside ditches, and other moist, open habitats. Individual, mature clumps can reach up to 2' tall and spread to fill a 1' area. This plant reseeds readily and will fill larger areas in ideal growing conditions. The narrow, linear to lanceolate shaped leaves are arranged oppositely along the stem and can reach up to 3" long and 0.5" wide. Terminal clusters of blue, 1" long, tubular flowers bloom from mid-summer to early fall. Like several other gentian species, the petals are held close together and will never truly "open". The flowers are mainly pollinated by bumblebees and other bees strong enough to push the petals apart and access the nectar and pollen inside.

Genus name honors King Gentius of Illyria (reign c. 180-168) B.C., who was reputed to have discovered the medicinal virtues of the root of the yellow gentian or bitterwort (G. lutea) from which a tonic bitters is still made.

The specific epithet linearis means "linear", in reference to the shape of the foliage.

The common name narrowleaf gentian refers to the shape of the foliage. The common name bog gentian refers to the preferred habitat of this species.


No major pest or disease problems of note.


Suitable for use in bog gardens, wet areas of meadows and wildflower gardens, and containers.