Lobelia is an annual slow-growing plant that belongs to the bellflower family. It differs in creeping development and flowering in blue, which is very rare for plants. This fact is very popular with summer residents, and therefore lobelia is often enough present in personal plots, in the form of decoration. Today we’ll talk about how to properly grow this flower and what kind of care it needs.
The flowers of an attractive plant can have a variety of colors - white, purple, red and blue. This distinguishes it from the blooming garden and makes you pay attention to the places of planting. For this reason, lobelia is not only present in the territory of many summer cottages, but also successfully reproduces. Moreover, each person can easily determine the variety that suits him best. This is possible due to their great diversity.
Types of Lobelia
The native land of the plant is South Africa, but this does not mean at all that the plant can exist normally only on distant lands. It feels great in our region. At the moment, in the world there are more than 300 different types of lobelia, while all of them are slightly different - annuals and perennials, grassy and shrubs, as well as cultivated species.
Among all the species known to us, we can distinguish the main ones that will take root well at your dacha:
- Lobelia perennial, erinus;
- purple, cardinal;
- dortman, swollen;
- climbing, hybrid;
- And also varieties: Ampelnaya, Blue, Aquarium, Cardinalis, Bush, Cascade, Blackberry, Riviera, Crystal Palace, Emperor Willy, Inftala and some others.
How to grow lobelia
After sowing, you do not need to sprinkle the seeds with a substrate. It is better to simply spray the surface with a weak solution of potassium permanganate (potassium permanganate) through the smallest spray gun. Then you need to cover the container with glass, arranging a kind of greenhouse for the seeds. Glass needs to be removed and wiped every day to avoid "steaming" of seeds. Otherwise, they will not germinate, but simply rot.
If high-quality seed material is purchased, then the first seedlings will appear within 10 - 15 days after sowing.
Sprouted plants should be left in a greenhouse, but not under glass, but under a plastic bag so that there is more air under it. In order for small plants to grow more intensively, you need to put the greenhouse in the brightest place and often open the bag for ventilation.
Watering the seedlings is not worth it - it's better to moisten the substrate, pouring some water into a pallet placed under a container with young shoots.
How and when to sow lobelia
Sowing seedlings is carried out in small containers. Here everyone decides for himself what will be more convenient. In the store you can buy peat pots that are best suited for this purpose. At first, lobelia is important not so much moisture as the ability to "breathe". The soil should be sufficiently loose and pass air well. Seedlings will feel great in peaty soil.
The best time to plant is February. This is due to the fact that the seedlings of petunia and lobelia grow slowly, although the seeds themselves take root quite quickly, in 10-14 days. Sowing dates can be postponed to a later time and plant it in the springtime, if it is decided to sow immediately to the place of permanent stay of the flower. In this case, the seedlings will bloom later.
Sowing is important to carry out in compliance with all the rules of agricultural technology. The soil is evenly distributed in a container for planting and, after a little wetting, slightly crushed. The seeds of Lobelia are small, for the convenience of placing them on the surface, some gardeners first mix the planting material with a small amount of sand, and then gently sprinkle the soil with this mixture. You can distribute the seeds with a toothpick, the tip of which is moistened with water. The most convenient seeds for planting in granular form. A small amount in the package should not be scary, because a bush will grow from each granule, which can then be planted into rarer fragments.
After sowing, it is not necessary to cover the seeds from above with soil. They need to cover with a film, build a mini-greenhouse. In the following days, it will be necessary to ensure that there is no moisture under the film, to remove condensate when it first appears. It is necessary to open the film every day so that the soil is saturated with oxygen. Excessive moisture leads to the only disease that happens in lobelia - this is the black leg. If, for some reason, the seedlings are blackened, then the seedlings must be disposed of immediately to protect the rest. It is necessary to stop watering until the soil has completely dried, to treat the soil with potassium permanganate. After this, you need to sprinkle the soil with river sand, previously treated with steam. Petunia seedlings are treated in a similar way.
Dive Lobelia Seedlings
Gardeners, gardeners and gardeners do not have a consensus on diving seedlings. Some of them claim that this is unnecessary stress for a plant body that has not yet matured. Others, on the contrary, believe that only in this way can a high quality plant be grown.
But if the vegetable crops grown by seedlings have more or less large seeds, then the lobelia grains are so small that it is very difficult to sow so that one plant grows in one container (cup). Therefore, it is usually dive 2 times.
If, contrary to your efforts, when sowing, the seeds sprouted too densely, then they need to be thinned. This will be the first dive of lobelia seedlings. This work requires extreme accuracy and patience. To do this, you can use a toothpick. It picks up a sprouted plant (sometimes several) and places it in a separate cropped plastic cup with a substrate.
Many gardeners, instead of the first dive, simply break through too thick shoots.
When the first true leaflets appear on the seedlings remaining in the general container, the time will come for the second stage of the dive.
You can dive young plants into another common container, in rows, between which there are gaps of 3-5 cm wide. You can water seedlings dived in this way between rows.
You can dive into separate pots for seedlings of 3-5 plants in one pot.
You can dive the lobelia seedlings with a teaspoon. Grabbing several plants with the tip of a spoon, pressing it to the substrate on the new “residence” of the lobelia, we make a recess for diving seedlings. Then, we simply slide a lump of substrate with plants into the pit.
Some lovers of lobelia, who have been growing seedlings of this plant for many years, advise cutting the tops of plants that have reached a height of 3 cm by a few millimeters. They say that shearing helps branch the plant.
Cultivation and care
The plant is considered quite thermophilic, so it is worthwhile to choose a sunny place, quiet, without drafts and cold wind, away from the lush vegetation that can create a shadow. Also, the flower prefers high humidity, and therefore requires constant watering.
Transfusion, of course, is not worth the plant, but to make watering moderate, but constant, it would be very nice.
Lobelia blooms well and develops rapidly on sandy or loose loamy soils. If the soil is too saturated with fertilizers, mainly organic, then the flowering will be poor, but the plant will be able to please you with lush and succulent foliage.
There is an interesting comment about the moisture content of lobelia, which was expressed by professional gardeners. It turns out that the plant does not tolerate rainy weather and increased rainfall. At this time, the flower may look painful and lose most, if not all, of its blooms. But at that moment when the precipitation stabilizes and the natural humidity becomes moderate, warm and sunny weather sets in, the flower again gathers vitality and pleases the eye.
Since cultivars have a long growing season, lobelia is grown by seedlings, which is much simpler and more efficient.
High-quality and prepared seeds should be planted in special seedlings in early March. The land for this is selected light, preferably with the addition of sand and peat. Seeds are laid in the soil literally 1 cm deep, not particularly pressed. If the seeds are very small, then they can generally be scattered on the surface without sprinkling with earth. Then there is a slight moistening of the soil from the spray gun and the boxes are covered with a special film for greenhouses or glass. It is not recommended to open the cover before the seedlings, this can harm them.
After you notice the first shoots, the plant can be dived. This usually happens twice.
Initially, it is necessary to make the distance between shoots no more than two centimeters, at the second dive, when small bushes are formed - about 6 cm.
When the bushes get stronger and the air temperature stabilizes, and usually in the first half of June, plants can be transferred to the open ground. There is no threat of frost during this period, and small plants should take root well in warm soil. Note that during the transfer, the distance between the bushes should be about 15 cm, so that when the lobelia grows, it does not interfere with neighboring plants. Also, good ventilation and comprehensive heating and lighting are the best prevention of possible diseases.
For perennial species of lobelia, propagation by division of plants is possible; cuttings are also possible. In fact, the plant loves renewal and transplants, which are good for external and internal vital signs. Therefore, a systematic rejuvenation is required, which is performed once every two years, on average.
Such simple tips will tell you how to grow lobelia, how to ensure its care and renewal of plants. But there is another important point - the preservation of the flower in winter, which we will talk about in the next section of the article.
Features of growing lobelia
How to keep lobelia in winter
If we are talking about adult plants, then they can be transferred to a warmer room, for example, to a house. You can save lobelia until spring in ordinary flower pots. To do this, you need to transplant the plants into pots, cut them down to the lower leaves and bring them into the room. It should be stored in a cool, light place, not allowing the substrate to dry out. In such conditions, the flower will easily overwinter and will be ready for the next transplant into the ground in the warm season.
It is better not to grow young lobelia before winter, since the plant may not have time to get stronger and will simply die. It is much easier to protect adult flowers from the cold or to grow them again from spring.
Lobelia at home is a wonderful plant that will decorate the territory with carpet compositions and will easily help in the design of garden borders in the warm season. In the late autumn and winter, the plant will become a spiritual joy on the windowsill or even on the balcony.
Lobelia for home and garden decoration
Earlier, lobelia flowers were used by the Indians of North America as tobacco. Inhaling the smoke of this plant caused a feeling of a slight narcotic dope. The extract of this flower has an anti-asthma effect, and some tobacco manufacturers add it to their product. This South African flower, which in the wild is not an annual flower, must be planted every year in our climate.
The rooted lobelia does not require special attention. The plant itself grows, and a bush up to 25 cm tall grows from small round-shaped bunches. Lobelia will perfectly complement any flower bed, planter or rabatka. From colorful bushes you can make an interesting composition, it will serve as a wonderful framing of the lawn.