A widely distributed genus of hardy and half-hardy
perennials, some being treated as annuals.
The Edging Lobelia is Lobelia erinus, from South Africa,
a semi-trailing plant, six or nine inches high,
with small rounded foliage and leafy stems, bearing
many flowers of pale blue or violet with a white
or yellow throat.
Lobelia tenuior (syn. Lobelia ramosa), from West Australia,
twelve to eighteen inches, has bright blue flowers,
one inch across.
Lobelia ilicifolia, from Australia, is of trailing
habit and is best known by its garden variety,
“Sapphire”, which is useful alike
for hanging baskets or rock gardens.
The seed should be sown in a leafy compost in
either autumn or spring.
If in autumn, greenhouse protection during winter
The seedlings are pricked off into boxes and planted
out in late May or early June.
It is wise to stop the seedlings when an inch
high in order to encourage bushy growth.
Propagation is from seed or cuttings.
The flowering season is from June to Michaelmas.
Lobelia (Compact, or Dwarf, or Bedding)
Half Hardy Perennial.
Three inches to one foot.
Flowers blue or white, June to October.
The almost too familiar bedder, whose plump little
cushions of dark blue, in fatal fellowship with
Golden Feather, and scarlet Geraniums, decorate
alike the gardens of the palace and the villa.
There are sundry named varieties, such as “Crystal
Palace Gem”, “Brighton”, or
the innumerable strains which the seeds men call
after their own names.
All may be treated as half hardy annuals, and
sown in boxes on mild heat early in March; the
little plants must be pricked out when large enough
to handle, hardened judiciously, and put out about
the end of May.
The universal favourite is a dark blue with a
white throat; but there are strains with cobalt
blue, purple and white flowers.
If the grower wishes to keep a particular strain,
or to avoid the trouble of raising from seed,
he may make cuttings of small side-shoots in autumn,
and winter them in a cool greenhouse.
See also : Perennial