Years ago, a long time ago our friend and intrepid gardener Bruce Wakefield gave us a piece of this sumptuous, tropical appearing Lobelia. Turns out that Bruce got it from ANOTHER friend of mine. Jackson Muldoon of the now defunct Transpacific nursery found this “lobelia” in central Mexico. Its a cold hardy, vigorous, and long blooming large perennial that displays tubular flowers with an interior of yellow and orange and an exterior of red. To 4′ tall in bloom it spreads stoloniferously underground to form big patches. Give this spreading plant room in full sun and rich soil with regular consistent irrigation. Bloom begins in June and continues sporadically until frost. Loved by hummingbirds and flower arrangers. This is likely no longer a Lobelia and there are several options to choose from, until I am certain we will continue to refer to this as lobelia. Completely winter deciduous with the first hard freeze. Emerges in spring when truly warm weather arrives- Mother’s day. Mulch for the first winter to aid establishment. Once its yours expect a long lived plant. Thank you to our friends Jackson and Bruce. Photo credit: Bob Hyland.
Big huge perennial Lobelia from Chile that is one of the most exotic perennials that we can grow. Spires of 5′ blood red flowers appear for weeks in the middle of summer as the flowers yawn open they reveal an orange throat. Hummingbirds delight. Large pale green leaves provide added contrast. Spreads to form large colonies (does not run). Full sun and rich, well drained soil. Great on hillsides. Light summer water. Completely deciduous in winter. Returns from the base in mid-spring. Give it room to stretch out- new plants are deceptively small. Water regularly for the first summer to establish. Spectacular perennial that is best in rich soil with regular water for the first few years. Improving drainage is helpful in heavy soils. If you have a cold garden- such as a rural colder place mulch for the first several winters until the clump is big. Insane cut flower.
Narrow leaved Mexican Lobelia is a showy long blooming perennial for very well drained sites in full sun. Rising to 3′ when happy this expanding clump has stems decked out in tubular red and orange flowers with a yellow throat. You just know its hummingbird central. Regular water speeds growth on this vigorous an heat loving perennial for full sun. To 3′ wide in time. Blooms May to August. Light, consistent summer water. Drainage is key with this perennial. Amend the soil with pumice and compost if your soil is heavy, cold and wet. Dies to the ground in winter re-emerges late in spring- be patient. Mexico Mountains.