Common name: Lobelia, Edging Lobelia, Annual Lobelia, Trailing Lobelia
Botanical name: Lobelia erinus Family: Campanulaceae (Bellflower family)
Lobelia was introduced more than 200 years ago from the region around the Cape
of Good Hope. The original wild forms of lobelia have been bred to bloom more
profusely. There are both trailing varieties, with billowing masses of
blossoms, and more compact bedding types, seldom exceeding 6 inches in height.
The 1/2- to 3/4-inch-wide flowers, borne along each stem, are blue on the
common varieties, but white and carmine types have also been developed.
The flowers are irregular and bisexual, and are borne singly or in racemes,
umbles or spikes. Petals, sepals and stamens are in fives. The petals are
fused forming a two-lipped corolla, which consists of spreading lobes and a
split tube. The upper lip consists of two often smaller and erect lobes and
the lower lip of three spreading lobes.
Lobelia is prized for window boxes, hanging baskets, planters, and ground
covers. Although the plants do best in full sun and moist, rich soil where
summers are cool, they will grow surprisingly well in hot areas if given
partial shade. Lobelia is not sown directly in the garden because it does not
begin to flower until two months after seed is planted. This plant attracts
|Photographed in Delhi & Munnar, Kerala.|