Lobelia: Red, White or Blue?


Submitted a year ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

It's Not Just an Annual

You probably know at least one Lobelia, the brilliant purple/blue edging plant  available each spring in 6-packs. The color is so intense it almost seems to shimmer. But there are other lobelias in the family, and I have three of them in bloom right now.

Annual lobelia is an edging plant sold in 6-packs

Great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica) comes in two colors: blue and white. Unlike the low edging plant, this one stands up 24 ot 36 inches tall in spikes of small flowers.

Perennial great blue lobelia stands tall and blooms for a long period of time.

The blue form is fairly common in garden centers, but I had never seen the white form until I found it at Edgewater Farm in Plainfield, NH in the spring of 2016. I planted some in full sun in rich, moist soil and this year the plants are big and lovely.

White form of Lobelia siphilitica

Great blue lobelia is not a long-lived plant. it tends to disappear after a few years in one location. But for me, at least, it will pop up in unexpected places. I don’t know if seeds are wind-blown or animal-carried, but I never run out of the blue form.

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Lastly there is cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), a brilliant red wildflower. I wrote about this one not long ago and you can learn more by clicking here. I recently found a volunteer cardinal flower growing by my stream. They love wet places, so it didn’t really surprise me. 

Cardinal flower is finishing up it bloom cycle for me now.

Want to grow a nice mint for tea that won't spread and take over your garden? Click here to see one of my earlier posts. 

Want help in your garden? I make house calls - consultations - to help you plan and improve your gardens. Call me at 603-543-1307 or e-mail me at henry.homeyer@comcast.net 


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