Lobelia (75 photos): types and care
Blue, blue, white clouds of beautiful shrubs can decorate any flower garden, balcony or loggia with their lush color. Red and pink cascades will dilute the waves of this delicate carpet, creating a unique combination. This is exactly what lobelia can appear in all its glory with proper care and maintenance. The plant got its name from the name of the famous botanist from the Netherlands, the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Mattis de Lobel. Shrubs in nature grow in almost all parts of the world, but they grow more massively in subtropical climates, as well as temperate ones. To grow such beauty at home or on a plot, you need to know which variety to choose and how to properly care for it..
The main types of lobelia
In nature, there are more than 300 species of this beautiful flower and many varieties. About 20 species are grown in culture, among which a much smaller number is widespread. But this is quite enough to create beautiful lush flower arrangements in gardens, flower beds, on loggias, in hanging home pots..
The initial classification is based on the division of the culture into annual and perennial. The latter is much less common, since it is inferior in its aesthetic indicators. However, there are also lovers of this kind..
In our climatic conditions, the annual lobelia erinus dominates, which has a second name – blackberry. This thin-stemmed crop produces many shoots that, in adulthood, turn it into a leafy sphere with many flowers. They are quite small, no more than 2 cm, but they grow in large numbers. One bush can have about a hundred flowers of blue, white, purple or purple..
Representatives of lobelia erinus, in turn, are divided into two groups:
1. Shrubs are an excellent choice for creating flower borders. Their branches grow upward, forming lush bushes of various shapes: compact, spreading, dwarf (about 10 cm high), erect. This group includes such varieties as: “Crystal Palace”, which is a dense bush with violet-blue flowers, “Emperor Willie”, in the form of a cloud with bright blue flowers, “Miss Clebran”, which forms a blooming ball up to 30 cm in diameter , “White Palace” – a small bush up to 12 cm with snow-white flowers, etc..
2. Ampel – an excellent choice for planting in hanging baskets, pots on the territory of balconies and loggias. Representatives of this group grow branches up to 35 cm, which hang down, thus forming luxurious cascading waterfalls. This group includes the following, the most common varieties: “Sapphire” with shoots up to 35 cm and bright blue flowers with white spots, “Blue Fountain” with pale blue flowers with a white eye, “Red Cascade” with many long shoots, variegated lilac-crimson color.
This type of lobelia boasts the ability to withstand severe frosts even without shelter and is unpretentious to the environment. The only thing it really needs is high humidity, so perennial varieties are often planted in swampy areas, coastal areas of backyard ponds. This group includes the two main, most common, varieties – “cardinal” with bright red flowers and “fiery”, the peculiarity of which is in burgundy leaves. Its bushes can reach a height of 1.5 m.
Proper care of lobelia
It is not difficult to care for lobelia, the main thing is to take care of sufficient soil moisture, especially in hot weather, as well as the content of the necessary amount of nutrients in it to ensure colorful flowering in the garden or on the balcony.
Lobelia is quite light-requiring, but young shoots are afraid of open sunlight. Therefore, when transplanting into flowerpots, they should be placed near the northern walls or in places with variable shadow, behind room tulle curtains. There should also be no lack of lighting, so that young shoots do not weaken. During the flowering period, lighting should be especially abundant..
In the winter season, the optimum temperature will be + 8 … + 12C, and in the summer – room temperature. Lobelia blooms at a warm temperature from + 21C. In summer, a houseplant will feel better outdoors, but not in direct sunlight, but in partial shade..
In addition to watering, the crop can also be irrigated once a week, and in particularly dry conditions – every day after sunset. In general, lobelia does not need special moisture conditions. This is more true for perennial species for which an increased amount of it is vital..
Lobelia should be watered regularly and in moderation. It is necessary to ensure that the top layer of the earth becomes hard before watering. More replenishment will be required during the flowering period, as drought will contribute to its termination. In the early stages of seedling ripening, watering is carried out exclusively from a spray bottle, but not with a watering can, since young sprouts are still very fragile and may suffer from a jet of water.
It is better to water ampel lobelia twice a day. This also applies to perennial varieties that require a particularly moist soil..
Fertilizers and feeding
Fertilizing lush bushes is a must. For the first time, fertilizing is applied half a month after planting in the form of organic fertilizers. To do this, you can use a tincture of nettle or mullein in a ratio of 1:10. The next such feeding will follow during the flowering period, and the last one in September. Crops that grow in hanging pots or pots require special fertilization – they are fertilized once a week. It does not hurt in this case to add a hydrogel to maintain an optimal moisture level..
Pests and diseases
This is not to say that lobelia is strongly susceptible to various kinds of diseases, but they are still found. Their appearance is often associated with improper care. There are three main ailments, namely:
1. “Blackleg” – often harms a plant that is in the seedling stage. It is manifested by darkening and thinning of the basal neck, as a result of which the plant dies. The disease can be overcome by treatment with Provikur. Then it should be sprinkled with sand so that new roots grow;
2. Tracheomycotic wilting – caused by contaminated soil or seeds. In a diseased bush, darkening of blood vessels is observed, wilting of the lower leaves with possible subsequent death. In this case, the plant should be removed, and the hole should be sprinkled with chalk or lime;
3. Gray rot – occurs as a result of improper care. High humidity, combined with low temperature and lack of light, leads to the formation of fungus. The disease is manifested by a dusty coating and the appearance of brown spots in the affected area. Infected areas must be removed and the plant treated with a fungicide..
Also, lobelia can suffer from various pests. Thrips and slugs are especially dangerous. Light spots on the leaves are a sign that thrips have “worked” here. In this case, the flowering of the bush stops, and the leaves change shape. In this case, treatment with the preparations “Fitoverm”, “Tsvetolux” will help. Slime tracks are slime-covered paths and holes in the leaves. To eliminate them, flower growers use roofing material. It must be laid next to the bush, and when the pests move onto it in search of a lodging for the night, collect them. Mulching will prevent slugs from getting on the plant..
How to transplant lobelia
The plant must be replanted every three years when it requires renewed saturated soil and changing conditions. This process takes place in summer or spring. Naturally, the transplanted bush must be placed in highly fertile, sandy soil with the addition of leafy and soddy soil..
The depth of the holes for planting is 20–30 cm, and the distance between the holes is 15–20 cm. Expanded clay should be poured at the bottom of each hole, which serves as a drainage.
Reproduction at home
Lobelia is easy to propagate by seed or cuttings. It should be noted that it also reproduces by self-seeding, but such seedlings develop much slower and have late flowering periods..
Lobelia propagation by seeds
Lobelia seeds that are planted will give their first color after about four months, so the flowering period is easy to guess. If it should fall at the beginning of summer, the seeds are sown in February, but then it will be necessary to build additional lighting with halogen, LED lamps.
Before sowing, it is better to treat the finished loose soil with a fungicide solution in order to protect the plant from possible diseases. Choose flat, small containers. The soil layer must be slightly compacted from above. The seeds of the culture are very small, like pollen, so they are either transferred to the soil on a moistened tip of a match (toothpicks), or simply sprinkled on the ground. To stimulate growth, you can pour them with a special solution “Zircon”. The container with the planting must be covered with a film (glass) and kept in a warm place at a temperature of + 18 … + 20C.
After a couple of weeks, the first shoots will appear – then the protective coating is removed. Drip irrigation or irrigation is used. The pick is made after the appearance of full-fledged leaves, planting several plants in one pot. Seedlings should be in a bright, cool place at a temperature of no more than + 18C.
Propagation of lobelia by cuttings
At the beginning of spring, lobelia actively begins to grow fresh shoots, from which cuttings are then cut. During this period, it is necessary to add fresh composition to the soil, and slightly push the branches apart in order to accelerate the appearance of roots at the base of the lower stems. The finished stems are carefully cut and transplanted into separate containers. Sometimes they are simply laid on the ground and pinned. Rooted cuttings can be safely transplanted into open ground.
Lobelia – photo
A lot of photos, which can be found below, will demonstrate all the riot of colors of blooming lobelia, the ability to create with its help the most beautiful corners of your garden. It looks great, decorating loggias and balconies, which you can also see by looking at the photo gallery. Happy viewing!