Annual Lobelia

Kim EllsonMay 2, '21
Annual Lobelia

Lobelias are quite unique thanks to their vibrant blue, a true blue, which is something quite rare in the floral kingdom.  Lobelia erinus is a tender perennial that is grown and treated as an annual in our Chicago climate and hardiness zone.  Plants can either be grown from seed or purchased as finished plants, although only generic forms are available as seed, not the popular Proven Winner varieties.

Lobelias are either mounding (upright) or trailing.  Mounding varieties are excellent for flower beds, as edging, or in mixed planters, as they fill in well between other plants and add a great color contrast.  Trailing varieties are ideal for hanging baskets or tall planters as a spiller.  There are many varieties of Lobelia on the market, including light and dark blues, blue with eye, purple, pink and white, however blue is the clear favorite.

Lobelia plants are generally quite low maintenance, provided they receive sufficient water and sunlight, and do not require deadheading. Plants benefit from a biweekly fertilizer application for blooming plants.  Lobelias do require frequent watering over the hot summer months, especially if they are situated in full sun or in a hanging basket, in which case they will need daily watering to avoid any plant damage. Plants cannot recover well from going too dry.  If plants become messy from going dry or general stress, cut them back simply with a pair of scissors and allow them to regenerate. New and improved varieties are more resilient to hot summer temperatures and full sun exposures. Generally plants prefer part sun over the hottest months when in containers.

Popular varieties include the Laguna series from Proven Winners, the Regatta Series, Sapphire and Rosamond.

Latin Name: Lobelia erinus

Light: Full to part sun

Bloom Color: Blue, purple, white, pink, blue with eye

Bloom Period: All summer

Height: Up to 12”

Habit: Upright/mounding or trailing

Hardiness: Not hardy

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