(Lobeliaceae - Lobelia Family)
- small herbaceous annual
- maturing at about 6" tall and spreading to 1' wide
- cascading mat, trailing mat, or mounding clump growth habit
- full sun to partial sun
- prefers a moist, well-drained, cool, rich soil in partial sun, with occasional irrigation during the hottest and driest portions of the Summer, but is adaptable to average soils and somewhat more harsh environmental conditions
- propagated primarily by seeds
- Lobelia Family, with virtually no disease or pest problems
- abundantly available in flats or seed packets
- after flowering has subsided in mid-Summer, a light shearing of the terminal growth, along with a light application of fertilizer and irrigation, will assist in promoting a flush of new growth and flowering when slightly cooler weather returns
- for cultivars with darker floral colors, the foliage is often deeply bronzed (in full sun) to green-burgandy (in partial sun to partial shade), but otherwise medium to dark green in color for cultivars with lighter or white flowers
- foliage is alternate along the thin stems, relatively small, and still visible during heavy flowering
- leaves have essentially no petioles, with the lower incised leaves obovate or elliptical, and the upper serrated leaves linear
- petals are usually indigo blue, purple-blue, or mauve in color, with a white or yellowish throat, but the petals are also found as white, light blue, or pink
- five total petals; the three lower petals are much larger and wider than the two upper petals, which are very narrow, pointed, and held closely together
- flowering from May through initial light frosts, usually with a decline in flowering intensity in mid-Summer
- ornamentally insignificant
- cascading or prostrate annual with small leaves and small five-petaled flowers (usually indigo, purple, or mauve in color), often used a cascader for the hanging basket, window box, or planter, or as an edger for the annual bed
- cascader over a wall, planter, hanging basket, or window box, and also an edging, filler, or rambler for the annual bed or rock garden
- fine texture
- thick density
- cascading habit when properly sited
- indigo-flowering cultivars have few representatives among the common annuals
- bronzed-foliage cultivars provide a second ornamental appeal during the mid-Summer reduced bloom period
- has a decrease in flowering intensity during the heat and drought of Summer
- the center of the clump tends to split apart as the season progresses, and is noticeable if used as an edger
- annual that dies after a few frosts
- native to Southern Africa
- cascading or trailing herbaceous plants that are effective planter, hanging basket, window box, or over-the-wall plants (annuals include Lobularia maritima & Nierembergia hippomanica; perennials include Arabis alpina, Aubrieta deltoidea, Geranium sanguineum, Iberis sempervirens, Saponaria ocymoides, Sedum spurium, etc.) or edger plants (annuals as above; perennials include Aurinia saxatilis, Campanula carpatica, Phlox subulata, Platycodon grandiflorus 'Sentimental Blue', etc.)
- several, based upon (1) compact bedding types versus pendulous cascader types, and (2) floral color:
- Lobelia erinus 'Crystal Palace' - the standard bedding cultivar, with deep indigo blue flowers and bronzed foliage
- Lobelia erinus 'Fountain Series' - cascaders available in a wide range of colors and bicolors
- Lobelia erinus 'Rosamond' - bedding cultivar having a mauve corolla with a white eye, increasing in popularity
- Lobelia is named after Mathias de l'Obel, a 16th century Flemish botanist.
- erinus is the Greek name of another plant.
- Edging Lobelia is an excellent cascading annual for use in window boxes, hanging baskets, planters, or over walls, and is also an excellent companion plant or alternative to Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) in annual bed edging situations.
- Lobelia erinus is known as an annual with a trailing habit, good for cascading or edging situations, often with deep blue flowers and bronzed foliage.
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