Lobelia, cascading flowers


Lobelia is a very cute little plant which blooms almost all summer long.

Key Lobelia facts

Name – Lobelia erinus, cardinalis …
Family – Campanulaceae
Type – perennial

Height – 16 inches (40 cm)
 – full sun

Soil: moist and well drained  –  Flowering: mid-summer to mid-fall

Even though it is very easy to grow and care for, still, it bears abundant flowers.

Planting, sowing lobelia

First of all, take note that some lobelia varieties are annual lobelias and others are perennial lobelias. There are indeed over 350 lobelia varieties, and among these some are hanging types, serve as ground cover, or even stand upright like shrubs.

Planting lobelia in the ground

If purchased in a pot or in a container, you can plant your perennial lobelia anytime in spring directly in the ground, taking great care to water regularly at the beginning.

  • Lobelia appreciates well drained and rich soil.
  • Prefer full sun or a lightly shaded emplacement.

Sowing annual lobelia seeds

Sowing annual lobelia is quite difficult and thus deserves special care. The best lobelia variety present in our area is Lobelia erinus.

  • Sow directly in the plot starting anytime in February-March-April, indoors or outdoors in milder areas and a bit later wherever you might be subject to late frost spells.
  • Transplant them to a nursery pot as soon as the first leaves have sprouted.
  • Placing them in the ground can only happen in spring, after the last frost spells (usually May).

Growing lobelia in a pot

One key aspect to growing lobelia in a pot is that you have to remember it isn’t hardy. This means it must be easy to bring the pot or hanging suspension indoors to a garage or greenhouse for safekeeping.

Growing lobelia in potsOther than that, simply make sure of the following:

  • well-draining soil: excess water must be able to drain away
  • water retention: clay pebbles or hydrogel crystals will keep water for the plant to consume on dryer days

Exposure to sun and wind won’t matter much, though in full sun you’ll have to be on-top of the watering so soil doesn’t dry out for too long.

Caring for and pruning Lobelia

Lobelia flower careIt is said that pruning a lobelia after its first flowering of the year can trigger and stimulate a second blooming, and this is quite true!

  • Adding fertilizer pour flower plants further stimulates growth and blooming, especially for plants grown in pots or garden boxes.

Every 2 or 3 years, propagate your lobelia through crown division in spring, it will rejuvenate your plant and give it a boost.

Learn more about lobelia

This plant produces nice light blue and purple flowers shaped like spearheads. It’s often mentioned as one of the most flower-bearing plants, and also has a great reputation as the queen of hanging plants.

Also called “cardinal flower”, this rather humble and elegant plant positively thrives in moist settings.

Great and easy-to-find Lobelia varieties:

Lobelia erinus, about 6 inches (15 cm) tall, bears cute little blue flowers from May to October. Since it is an annual, it dies off just as the first frost spells hit.

Lobelia cardinalis, is a perennial lobelia that grows tall enough, around 32 inches (80 cm). Its flowers are a strong, deep red color.

Lobelia fulgens, taller than most lobelia varieties, bears flowers that are a bit larger than those of Lobelia erinus, they’re also of a very appealing red color.

Smart tip about lobelia

Using fertilizer prepared from manure and seaweed will greatly enhance the growth and blooming of your plant!

Images: CC BY 2.0: Gail Hampshire; shutterstock: ASGOLD, Tibesty