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Lobelia care

Latin name: Lobelia erinus, pendula

The Lobelia named after a Flemish botanist Matthias de L'Obel, particularly popular among plant lovers, this is not due to other than its beautiful and colorful flowers. The blue Lobelia which has a hanging and also a standing variant does not grow big, its height will never be above 25 cm. Despite of its small stature it can be a beautiful adornment to any balcony, due to the fact that from May to October, small, delicate flowers adorn the plant. The species native to South Africa are perennial if we can keep them at winter in a frost-free place, otherwise they are raised as an annual flower. There are spherical or pillow forming types, however the most striking is the hanging growth Lobelia, which is equally attracts the eye, be it in a balcony box or planted in a hanging basket.

Its tiny blossoms have opened from the second half of May and decorates the plant until October or till the frost comes. Today also a white and pink variant can be bought, but still the blue Lobelia is the most popular. Lobelia can be planted not only in the garden but on the balcony as well, it will be eye-catching spot of color in a balcony box or even in a large tub as well. In a sunny part of the garden it can be an excellent choice as mulch or edging plant, it looks very nice with other low-growing garden flowers such as dwarf variant of Marigold, white Sweet Alyssum or Petunia.

Lobelia is densely branched, low-growing, herbaceous plant, grows only to 10-15 cm height, and its hanging variant falls below as a waterfall. The flowers are hardly exceed one centimeter, however there are so many growing on sprout endings and in leaf axils, that they cover the light green foliage. Its another quality is that its needs are modest.

Requirements and care:

Light and heat requirements:

Its original habitat is South Africa, which is why it can bear the hot summer sun and the heat in our country as well. Lobelia likes the sunshine, but also satisfied with a semi-shaded location.

Watering requirements:

Tolerates the transition drought, but this time the sprout peaks go withered. However, after a thorough watering the plant becomes alive again. Cut off the droopy parts! It requires regular watering, the soil of the Lobelia should always be wet if possible.

Further care:

Plantings should be planted into nutrient-rich soil in spring and watered regularly. If we cut it back to two-third part after the main flowering, in July, the plant will grow new sprouts and will bloom on the balcony or in a pot until the first frost. Iit's an excellent edging plant.

It is not advised to plant them too often, because the thinner shoots easily become stretched and falls over. After a month from planting you already can give them bloom stimulant once a week, that way the continuous flowering will be ensured, however we also can take delight of the wonderful flowers of Lobelia without this nutrient. It is worth to cut back the stems twice during the summer, especially if we grown the plant in a balcony box or in a flower box, because in that way we prevent the stem from become too old.


In spring all horticulture offers the plantings of the Lobelia quite cheap. Plant out the seedlings just at the end of May. The newly planted seedlings should be shaded in the first months, because the spring sun may burn out the new plants.

Seed size: approx. 30,000 seeds / g. For 1000 plant we need approx. 0.5 g.
Sowing can be done from January to March. For sprouting, 18°C should be ensured. Sprouting takes approx. 7-14 days. We can sow into a box, or by using more seeds directly in a pot. The seeds germinate in light, do not cover the sowing with soil.

Pelleted seeds are also available from Lobelia. With this sowing method, sown in line into a box or into a cigar tray, the pricking can be saved. From each pelleted seed, 3-8 plant grows, so the growing seedling is equal with pricked plant. In this way grown bunches can be potted without damages. Pelleted seed is treated with fungicide against seedling diseases. Be extremly careful about, that the sowing medium always be wet.

If we sow into a box, seedlings should be transposed into a 9 cm pot after 4-6 weeks (around April), if possible having 3-5 plants in a bunch. Maybe they can be planted one by one. We will get a bunch of seedling from the pelleted seeds by default, do not separate that, plant one bunch to one pot. After a short training, they can be placed into a balcony box or hanging busket in May.

After transplantation, temperature should be around 18°C, and 12-15°C later. Dwarf growing varieties usually not require growth regulators.

Most common diseases, pests of the Lobelia, main reasons of their destruction:

Does not bear the drought, this time it may wither, dries up.