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Garden Lobelia

Lobelia erinus

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Campanulaceae (Bellflower)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
25 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, mountains, riverbanks, rocky places, seaside, wasteland, wetland, woodland.

Variable in colour, 5 petals
The flowers of Garden Lobelia are small, delicate, and charming. They typically feature tubular, bell-shaped blooms with petals that may be shades of blue, violet, pink, or white. The flowers are arranged in elongated spikes, creating a visually appealing display. The foliage is often green and somewhat serrated, providing a complementary backdrop to the vibrant blossoms. Garden Lobelia flowers add a touch of elegance and color to gardens and containers, making them a popular choice for ornamental purposes in the UK and beyond.
The fruit of Garden Lobelia is a small capsule that contains tiny seeds. These capsules are typically dry and split open when mature, releasing the seeds. The seeds are small and may be dark brown or black. The fruiting structures of Garden Lobelia are not typically the main ornamental feature of the plant, as the focus is often on the vibrant and charming flowers. The plant primarily reproduces through its seeds, contributing to its spread and cultivation in various garden settings in the UK and elsewhere.
The leaves of Garden Lobelia are generally small, lance-shaped, and have a serrated or toothed edge. The foliage is typically green, providing a lush backdrop to the vibrant flowers. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems of the plant. The overall appearance of the leaves contributes to the plant's ornamental value, offering a pleasing contrast to the colourful blooms. The foliage may vary slightly depending on the specific variety of Garden Lobelia, but it commonly maintains a compact and tidy growth habit, making it a popular choice for borders, containers, and hanging baskets in gardens across the UK.
Garden Lobelia is not particularly known for having a distinct aroma. Unlike some flowering plants that are cultivated for their fragrance, Garden Lobelia is primarily appreciated for its colourful blooms rather than its scent. The plant is generally valued for its ornamental qualities, with its small, tubular flowers arranged in spikes, but it is not sought after for any notable fragrance. Gardeners typically choose Lobelia for its visual appeal, making it a popular choice for adding vibrant colours to gardens, containers, and hanging baskets in the UK.
Other Names:
Annual Lobelia, Common Lobelia, Dwarf Lobelia, Edging Lobelia, Trailing Lobelia.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Lobelia erinus, also known as "edging lobelia" or "garden lobelia," is a species of annual or perennial herb that is native to South Africa. It is known for its small, bright blue, pink, or white, trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in the summer and fall. The plant has small, pointed leaves and can grow up to 9 inches in height. It prefers well-drained soils and full sun to partial shade. Lobelia erinus is often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is also used in cut flower arrangements. It is also a popular plant for hanging baskets and window boxes, and it is often used as an edging plant in flower beds.


Garden Lobelia, also known as Lobelia erinus, is a beautiful and versatile annual plant that is popular for its bright blue, white, pink, and purple flowers. This plant is native to South Africa and belongs to the Campanulaceae family. It is easy to grow and can be used in a variety of garden settings, from borders and rock gardens to containers and hanging baskets.

Garden Lobelia grows to a height of about 6-9 inches and has a spread of up to 12 inches. The plant produces an abundance of small, delicate flowers that bloom from early summer to fall. The flowers are typically blue, but can also be white, pink, or purple, depending on the variety.

One of the great things about Garden Lobelia is that it can be grown in both full sun and partial shade. However, it prefers moist soil and will not do well in dry or sandy conditions. If you live in a hot, dry climate, it is best to plant Garden Lobelia in a location that gets afternoon shade.

Garden Lobelia is easy to propagate from seeds, which should be sown indoors 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost date. Once the seedlings have emerged, they should be transplanted into individual containers and grown under bright lights until they are large enough to be planted outdoors. Alternatively, you can sow the seeds directly in the garden after the last expected frost date.

When planting Garden Lobelia in the garden, it is important to space the plants about 6-9 inches apart to allow for adequate air circulation. This will help prevent diseases such as powdery mildew, which can be a problem in humid climates.

Garden Lobelia requires regular watering to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Fertilizer can be applied every 2-3 weeks to promote healthy growth and abundant blooms. Deadheading spent flowers will encourage the plant to produce more blooms throughout the growing season.

In addition to its ornamental value, Garden Lobelia also has some medicinal properties. It has been used to treat respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis, as well as digestive issues and nervous disorders. However, it is important to note that Garden Lobelia can be toxic if ingested in large amounts, so it should not be used without the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

There are several different cultivars of Garden Lobelia available, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular cultivars include 'Crystal Palace', which has deep blue flowers and a compact growth habit, and 'Regatta', which produces masses of flowers in shades of blue, white, and pink. Another popular cultivar is 'Cambridge Blue', which has delicate blue flowers with a white center.

Garden Lobelia can also be used in a variety of ways in the garden. It looks great when planted in borders, mixed with other annuals and perennials, or in rock gardens. It is also well-suited for container gardens and hanging baskets, where its trailing growth habit and colorful flowers can be shown off to great effect.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when growing Garden Lobelia is to avoid overwatering. While it does require regular watering to keep the soil moist, it is important to avoid waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot and other problems. Additionally, Garden Lobelia is susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew, so it is important to provide good air circulation and to remove any diseased foliage promptly.

Garden Lobelia is also a favorite among hummingbirds, who are attracted to its bright, nectar-rich flowers. If you're looking to attract these fascinating birds to your garden, planting Garden Lobelia is a great way to do it. In addition to hummingbirds, the plant can also attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, making it a valuable addition to any garden.

Another great thing about Garden Lobelia is that it is relatively low-maintenance. While it does require regular watering and fertilization, it is not prone to many pest or disease problems. Additionally, it does not require deadheading to continue blooming, although removing spent flowers can encourage the plant to produce even more blooms.

It is important to note that Garden Lobelia is an annual plant, which means it will need to be replanted each year. However, because it is so easy to grow from seed, this is not a difficult or expensive process. And with its stunning flowers and easy-to-grow nature, Garden Lobelia is definitely worth the effort.

There are also some interesting historical and cultural facts about Garden Lobelia. The plant was named after the Flemish botanist Matthias de Lobel, who lived in the 16th century. It was first introduced to Europe in the 17th century and became popular as a garden plant in the 18th century.

In traditional African medicine, Garden Lobelia has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including coughs, colds, fever, and stomach problems. The plant was also used in ceremonial rituals by the Zulu people of South Africa, who believed that it had protective powers.

Today, Garden Lobelia is widely used in the horticultural industry for its ornamental value. It is commonly used in bedding schemes and hanging baskets, and is also a popular choice for container gardens. With its bright, colorful flowers and easy-to-grow nature, it is sure to remain a favorite among gardeners for years to come.

In addition, there are some varieties of Garden Lobelia that have been specifically bred to be more heat tolerant, making them a great choice for gardeners in hot climates. These varieties include 'Hot Springs', 'Laguna', and 'Palace'.

Finally, Garden Lobelia can be propagated not only by seed, but also by stem cuttings. This can be a useful technique for gardeners who want to reproduce a particularly attractive plant or who want to create more plants from their existing stock. Overall, Garden Lobelia is a versatile and rewarding plant that is sure to bring beauty and interest to any garden setting.

Facts about Garden Lobelia

Here are some facts and a summary about Garden Lobelia:


  • Garden Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) is an annual plant with small, brightly colored flowers.
  • There are several cultivars of Garden Lobelia, each with its own unique characteristics.
  • Garden Lobelia is attractive to hummingbirds and other pollinators.
  • It is relatively low-maintenance and is not prone to many pest or disease problems.
  • Garden Lobelia can be propagated by seed or stem cuttings.
  • The plant was named after the Flemish botanist Matthias de Lobel, who lived in the 16th century.
  • Garden Lobelia has been used in traditional African medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

Summary: Garden Lobelia is a colorful and versatile annual plant that is easy to grow and care for. It is popular among gardeners for its bright flowers and ability to attract pollinators like hummingbirds. It is low-maintenance and not prone to many pests or diseases. Garden Lobelia can be propagated by seed or stem cuttings. It has a rich history, being named after a Flemish botanist and used in traditional African medicine. With its many cultivars and uses in various garden settings, Garden Lobelia is a great choice for gardeners looking to add beauty and interest to their gardens.


Garden Lobelia filmed in Adlington, Lancashire on the 7th and 8th October 2023.


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