Garden flowers, plants and shrubs

Lobelia purpurea: description and characteristics


Lobelia purpurea has several names, in the scientific environment the flower is called cardinal or blood red because of the colorful bloom of a rich red hue.

The plant belongs to the family of bells. Lobelia has a long stem, long, raceme shaped inflorescences of bright purple color.

Often, only professional gardeners in aquariums or greenhouses are engaged in breeding an elite plant, since they require special care.

Appearance and habitat

Lobelia purpurea belongs to the genus Lobeli of the bell family. The marshlands, reservoirs of North America, Canada are considered the birthplace of the flower, can be found in the southwestern United States and Colombia. The flower was discovered and introduced to European countries in the 17th century.

Purple lobelia has a long stem, it can grow up to 1 m in height. Stem upright, thin, up to 0.3 cm in diameter. May have a pale olive, green and red color. The leaves are oval, 4 - 5 cm wide, grow alternately, arranged in a spiral form on the stems. The leaves are light green above, below the leaf plate is painted in violet - red color.

Petioles are thin, of medium length, up to 3 - 4 cm. The inflorescences are racemes in shape, long, unite many bright purple flowers. Peduncle grows up to 40 - 50 cm, in a semi-submerged state, it throws flowers above the surface of the water.

How to choose and prepare the ground?

Soil for Lobelia purpurea should be special - loose, fine-grained, slightly silted. This variety of lobelia grows well near water.

The root of a flower consists of small main processes, on the stalk at the base, water roots are well developed, consuming a large amount of moisture. For better rooting the substrate should be constantly wet.

For planting seeds, you can use the finished substrate for growing seedlings. You can prepare the soil mixture yourself:

  • Neutral peat - 1 hour
  • Humus - 1 hour
  • Sand - 1 hour

Advantages and disadvantages

This method for lobelia purpurea is usually not used at home. Breeding of this variety by seeds is a long, laborious process that requires certain skills and conditions. Seedlings develop very slowly, they need special care, additional coverage in the early stages of growth.

Growing lobelia purple seeds gives a lot of seedlings, which, with proper care, becomes strong and resistant to various stem and root diseases.

How to choose seeds?

The seeds of Lobelia purpurea develop in small boxes, ripen in late summer. The seeds are small, shiny, dark brown, elongated.

In time to collect the seeds, as soon as the box becomes light brown in color and does not open spontaneously.

Usually seeds are collected in August, in dry weather, it is necessary to take into account some features of the collection and preparation of seeds for planting:

  1. Seed bolls cut together with shoots of 5 - 6 cm.
  2. Cut the boxes laid out on the paper for ripening and final drying.
  3. Knead the box with your fingers, seeds are cleaned from excess litter.
  4. Dry seeds are packed in paper bags or glass containers.
  5. You can sign a grade.
  6. Store seeds only in a cool dry place.
  7. Shelf life of seeds - 3 - 4 years.

Description and characteristics

In natural habitat, lobelia purpurea refers to perennials. The herbaceous plant of the family Lobeliaceae is from North America, where it is found everywhere on the banks of water bodies. Amateur breeders “domesticated” wild lobelia, now it is becoming more and more common in aquariums.

In appearance, this is a small plant (not more than 30 cm in height) whose width does not exceed 15 cm. Lobelite aquarium enthusiasts are attracted by their appearance: delicate greenish leaves can acquire a reddish-purple hue over time. Plants are planted mainly on the sides of the aquarium or in the background.

To lobelia cardinal acquired the shape of a bush, you need to pinch the top a little.

In the natural environment during the flowering period, it throws out its resilient, succulent stem about a meter in height, clinging to nearby growing trees.

Domesticated instances consist of the following parts:

  • Underwaterpart. An underdeveloped root system smoothly transforms into thin elastic stems.
  • Leaves and small stalks. Stems branched, erect, with side shoots, with which it multiplies. The leaves are fleshy, arranged alternately in the form of a spiral. Quite large, 5 cm long, about 3 cm wide.


The reproduction of lobelia purpurea occurs vegetatively. Aquarists recommend breeding a plant in two ways:

  • Children (additional shoots) are pinned off and fixed separately in the ground.
  • The stem is cut, forming a kind of petioles, which are planted in the ground. You can wait for the appearance of water roots.

If an aquarist does not pursue the goal to bring purple lobelia to flowering, it is recommended to cut the top and plant separately, next to a large plant. Apical growth will stop, lobelia side shoots will appear.

This measure will transform the aquarium beauty into a bushy bush, aquarium fish will use the plant as a place for throwing caviar.

Conditions of detention

Lobelia purpurea belongs to the group of plants that require care of moderate severity. There is no particular preference for water in lobelia, the liquid should be of moderate acidity. In hard water, the leaves decrease in size and turn yellow. It treats temperature changes calmly, withstands minor fluctuations. The optimum temperature for growth is considered to be 22-24 degrees centigrade.

The optimum acidity for the correct growth of the aquarium beauty is considered to be pH 6.5–7.5. The plant needs an aquarium of at least 40 liters.

Lighting should be bright and long, at least 10 hours a day. With proper and sufficient illumination, the leaves of the aquarium beauty acquire a red-purple hue.

The soil for growth should be moderate silt, preferably fine-grained soil. This will simplify the growth of additional shoots. The roots of the children are weak and thin, silt will help to securely attach the process.

For proper development and growth of aquarium plants, a single illumination and a sufficient amount of carbon dioxide (oxygen dioxide) is not enough. Subject to the presence in the aquarium filter, most of the useful micronutrients retained them, the plant may die from a lack of nutrients.

Aquarium lobelia is recommended to be fed with two types of fertilizers:

  • Macronutrients. Top dressing consists of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Available in liquid and solid states.
  • Micronutrients. Calcium, various chlorides, iron, magnesium, and sulfur are included in the top dressing.

Top dressing can be carried out in several ways. The most popular is considered to be the “burial method”. A hard dressing is added close to the roots, the fertilizer breaks down into its constituents and feeds the soil, thereby enriching the plant with the necessary microelements.

Liquid fertilizers are added directly to the water. In this case, it is recommended to carefully follow the dosage. Overdosing will not lead to the death of plants and fish, but can lead to unexpected consequences in the form of violent growth of algae and other aquarium plants. Before using mineral supplements, you must carefully study the instructions for use. Lobelia cardinal needs regular feeding.

Carrying out the procedure

Planted seeds in the ground usually in the spring. The plantation of seeds of lobelia purple:

  1. Special containers are used, spacious, low.
  2. Specially prepared substrate keeps within landing capacities.
  3. Evenly distribute the seeds over the surface, without digging them into the soil.
  4. Liberally spray the crop with clean, warm water from a spray bottle.
  5. Containers covered with film or glass.
  6. Seedlings are placed in a warm bright place.
  7. The temperature of seed germination is 22 - 24 ° C.
  8. Shoots usually appear after 7 - 10 days.
  9. The greenhouse should be aired daily, gradually increasing the time to 2 hours.
  10. After 2 - 3 weeks, the shelter is removed, the seedlings are gradually hardened, “accustoming” to the fresh air.
  11. Condensate from the film should be wiped off.
  12. Containers should be moved to a cooler place.
  13. The temperature of growing seedlings - no more than 14 - 15 ° C.
  14. It is important to keep the substrate wet.
  15. Watered several times with a weak solution of manganese for the prevention of disease.
  16. Saplings afflicted with black leg should be immediately removed, the substrate should be treated with foundation.
  17. A month after sowing, the saplings dive into small containers, 6–8 cm in diameter.
  18. Dive seedlings need, keeping an earthen room.
  19. In each pot should be placed 3 - 4 seedlings.
  20. Every week after picking, seedlings should be fed with complex mineral fertilizers for flowering plants.

For, for seedlings to develop well, additional lighting is required special phyto lamps for several hours a day. You can engage in sowing directly into peat tablets - this is a more economical, practical and convenient way to grow seedlings.

Most often, lobelia purple breeds precisely by grafting. In their structure, the stems have lateral shoots that are easily separated and germinate fairly quickly.

Rooting is fast due to adventitious roots.

What cuttings to choose and how to prepare them correctly?

For propagation by cuttings, the flower is dug out in the fall, placed in a separate container by the method of transshipment, together with an earthy clod. For the winter they are transferred to a greenhouse or basement, you can set pots in a cold veranda. Air temperature should be no more than 16 ° С. In February, the bush is brought into a warm bright room.

With intense light and good fertilizer, Lobelia purpurea produces lateral stems used for breeding. Cutting length - 10 - 12 cm.

With intensive lighting and nutrient soil lobelia produces lateral processes.

Step by step instructions how to plant

The procedure for cutting lobelia purpurea:

  1. The lateral processes — seedlings 10–12 cm long, are gently separated from the uterine hive.
  2. It is important that each seedling has roots and several leaves.
  3. Seedlings impregnated with a solution of root or other growth stimulant for better rooting.
  4. Planted cuttings in separate planting pots with a pre-prepared substrate.
  5. Young shoots take root quickly.
  6. For the prevention of diseases and fungal pathogenic infections, treatment of seedlings and substrates with a solution of phytosporin or foundationol is recommended.
  7. Watering and temperature as for seedlings.
  8. Grown up seedlings are planted in open ground in May - early June.

For quick results, it is recommended to feed seedlings every week with mineral fertilizers containing phosphorus and potassium.

Is it possible to grow in open ground?

The composition of the soil for purple lobelia:

  • Humus - 2 h.
  • Peat - 1 hour
  • Sand - 1 hour
  • Drainage.

Landing is usually carried out in early June. In the southern climate can be planted on open ground in late May.

  1. The plot is dug up, weeds are removed.
  2. Shallow pits are dug at a distance of 20-25 cm.
  3. At the bottom of each hole poured broken brick or expanded clay for drainage.
  4. A bush of 4 to 5 seedlings is planted in each well.
  5. After planting seedlings need to be watered well.
  6. For several days the bushes are covered with a glass jar.
  7. The soil around the bushes mulch.

For this variety, wet areas should be selected along the water bodies in shallow water, sunny places are desirable.

How to prepare for frost?

Purple lobelia is considered a frost-resistant variety, but for the winter you need to prepare shelter for the bushes:

  1. In autumn, the stems are cut to the ground. Remains 3 - 4 cm of branches from the soil. Cut the bush covered with dry leaves, 15 - 20 cm in height.
  2. If the winters are harsh, then the bushes need to dig, transplant in separate pots and store in the basement or greenhouse until spring heat.

How to care?

  1. Temperature. The optimum air temperature is up to 22 - 25 ° С.

For cultivation in an aquarium, it is necessary to maintain a water temperature of 22 - 24 ° C.

When the water temperature rises, the leaves become small, yellow. Water should be of medium hardness. A water change every 6 to 10 days is required.

  • Watering. Lobelia purple dies with a lack of water, overdrying of the substrate is not recommended. In the summer, watering should be plentiful every day, at the rate of 10-12 liters per 1 sq. M. In winter and autumn watering is reduced. It is better to use drip irrigation, spraying the bushes on hot days.
  • Shine. Lobelia purpurea loves light, but grows well in partial shade areas. Avoid planting in the northern areas. Flowering may stop, will be faded and rare.
  • Crop. In order to form a thick bush and lateral processes appear, for lobelia purpurea it is necessary to trim the tops of seedlings by 3-4 cm during the growth period.
  • Feeding. This variety requires liquid mineral supplements, with a high content of potassium and phosphorus.

    Nitrogen fertilizers should be dosed. Glut nitrogen inhibits flowering. Such fertilizers are applied at the initial stages of growth of seedlings for rooting and the formation of strong stems and leaves.

    In the aquarium, the flowers are planted along the side walls; Lobelia purpurea combines well with other aquatic plants.

    Purple lobelia - an elite variety, experienced growers are more often engaged in breeding - aquarists, for the flower requires special care. These flowers are rarely bred at home, they can only be found in wet greenhouses, aquariums, aquaterrariums.

    Biological characteristic

    Under natural conditions, growing in the tropics of North America, purple lobelia lives in the coastal zone of standing water, throwing its stem when flowering to a height of more than a meter. This stem is juicy, resilient, 3 cm wide.

    In aquariums such a picture is not observed. In especially favorable conditions (maintaining the desired water temperature, improving its quality with the help of synthetic additives) it is possible to achieve flowering, but again above the surface of the water.

    The underwater part is a plant with a poorly developed root system, consisting of leaves 5 cm long and 3 cm wide. From above, their surface is soft and soft - light green in color. Bottom - with sufficient light can blush and become especially bright.

    The leaves are arranged in an alternate spiral, one above the other.

    For the brightness of their color the length of the period of bright light should be at least 12 hours. With a lack of light, the leaves will turn yellow, weaken and lose signs of life.

    Side shoots can move away from the stem, being a potential beginning of new individuals. Here you can see the water roots with which the plant receives additional nutrition and, if necessary, can take root in the soil.

    How to increase the number of plants?

    Breeds Lobelia cardinal vegetatively. You can split off the formed children and fix them separately in the ground, or you can, by dividing the stem into parts, to form a whole plantation of petioles (especially in the presence of water roots).

    If you do not aim to achieve the emergence of the plant to the surface for flowering, the top can be gently broken off and planted separately. In this case, the apical growth will stop and the side shoots will go. This will allow you to get a wide dense plant of interest to fish in the period of deposition of eggs.

    This plant is also beneficial because it does not shade the free space too much, it does not create problems for the fish during fast and rapid movement.

    What water grows well?

    Special requirements for water purple lobelia does not impose. Feels comfortable when:

    • temperature 21-26 o,
    • acidity index from 6 to 8 units,
    • medium hardness (5-15).

    Loves fertilizing with carbon dioxide, bright lighting and special fertilizers. I would be grateful for a regular (once every 10-14 days) change of a quarter of aquarium water. At the same time it should be enough, not less than 40 liters, because the adult plant is large enough.

    There are miniature versions of the plant lobelia aquariumbut they are not so popular.

    Choosing options for the design of the water house lobelia cardinalis, you need to be attentive and observant. Since soft and crunchy leaves are of interest as food for fish and crustaceans, damaged parts of the bush must be promptly removed, because they will not be able to recover, and the processes of decay will begin to grow.

    The Lobelian family is rich in its representatives. Their natural ability to adapt to different conditions has made the plant popular and in demand. Lobelia purpurea gives aquarium landscape liveliness, brightness and originality.

    Types and varieties of lobelia

    The Lobelia genus (Lobelia) includes more than 300 species, such a variety is represented by plants of various shapes and sizes - from short, up to 5 cm in height to very large, reaching 8 m or more. Как посадить и вырастить лобелию? А также многие ответы на вопросы об уходе за этим цветком, читайте в статье «Лобелия».

    Ниже рассмотрены некоторые интересные виды, пригодные для выращивания в умеренном климате.

    Лобелия ежевидная (Lobelia erinus)

    Травянистое растение с гибкими побегами, покрытыми продолговато-округлыми листочками с зазубренным краем – самый распространенный, хорошо знакомый садовый вид. Small flowers up to 2 cm in diameter are sitting in the axils of the leaves. Seeds are small, brown or black, ripen in boxes. The varieties are numerous, often in blue and white, abundant blooms falls in June-September. Depending on the habit and height of the variety, the forms are distinguished:

    • colonic - up to 25 cm,
    • compact - rounded bushes up to 15 cm high,
    • creeping - with shoots 30–35 cm long.

    Crystal Pallas (Kristall Pallas)

    Crystal Pallas (Kristall Pallas)

    The most popular compact variety with purple-blue flowers. Bush height - about 15 cm, the leaves are dense-green, with a slight reddish tinge. Looks great in container plantings, in flowerbeds and as a curb plant, and when placed every 15 cm, you can form solid flowering borders.

    White Lady

    White Lady

    Snow-white small flowers generously cover densely branched shoots with pale green leaves, resembling light moths descending on a bush. The height of the rounded compact plant is about 12 cm. The exquisite resistant variety looks great near daylilies with their long, delicate leaves and original textured flowers.

    Sapphire (Sapphire)

    The creeping bright form is great for planting in vases, on alpine slides, and as a groundcover. The shoots are 30–35 cm long, branched, strong, covered with light green leaves and blue flowers with a bright white eye. One of the best ampel varieties.

    Regatta Rose (Reggata Rose)

    Regatta Rose (Reggata Rose)

    Ampelny variety, similar to Sapphire, but with pink and crimson flowers, marked with white speck. An elegant plant with flexible shoots up to 35 cm long and dark green leaves looks great in hanging pots at the porch and when disembarking in balcony boxes, perfectly matching with petunias and white large-flowered marigolds.

    In addition, other, less common, but also very interesting varieties are grown in the annual crop.

    Lobelia Richard (Lobelia Richardii)

    Lobelia Richard (Lobelia Richardii)

    Amputeal hybrid is grown as an annual, characterized by long, hard shoots up to 30 cm long. It works well as a ground cover plant, suitable for hanging pots better than many annual varieties - strong stems do not tend to grind on the edge of the pot and do not break under gusts of wind and rain. Being a hybrid, propagated by cuttings. It is a little grades, blue, white and lavender shades prevail.

    Lobelia strong (Lobelia valida)

    Lobelia strong (Lobelia valida)

    Erect plant rises to a height of 40 cm, hard shoots form a columnar or sprawling bush. The shoots and leaves are lush green, the flowers are rather large - up to 2.5 cm in diameter, lilac or pink-purple with an expressive white eye. It is grown from seed through seedlings, does not hibernate in the soil.

    Lobelia thinnest (Lobelia tenuior)

    Lobelia thinnest (Lobelia tenuior)

    Cornflower-blue, lilac or soft-pink flowers with a diameter of up to 2 cm are covered with neat bushes 25–30 cm high. The plant is graceful, blooms profusely, looks good on flowerbeds and mixborders. Being planted in pots, it looks charming, with its bright flowers scattered on the refined shoots. It is grown as an annual, through seedlings.

    Very beautiful common variety Blue Wings with long flexible shoots, densely covered with bright blue flowers.

    Lobelia is beautiful (Lobelia x speciosa)

    Compliment Deep Red

    Upon receipt of this amazing hybrid, breeders managed not only to achieve a stunning appearance, but also good frost resistance. This feature allows you to grow a plant in a perennial crop, but some beautiful varieties grow well as sustainable annuals.

    The bush is tall - 50–80 cm, with large, exquisite flowers with a diameter of up to 3 cm — bright red, scarlet, crimson, or purple. Stems are strong, erect, leaves are large, elongated. Shoots and leaves can be dark purple or saturated green.

    Compliment Deep Red - velvety, dark red flowers blaze against the background of green stems and oblong green leaves. A luxurious variety is truly spectacular the next year after planting.

    The following are interesting species grown primarily in perennial crops.

    Lobelia brilliant (Lobelia fulgens W.)

    Queen Victoria

    The ornamental plant, long loved by flower growers, is characterized by slender shoots 60–70 cm high, narrow leaves and large flowers of red tones, gathered in a brush. It is grown through seedlings, winters in mild winters under good shelter, queen mothers can be left for wintering in basements, cold, non-frozen verandas.

    Queen Victoria - a spectacular hybrid up to 150 cm tall, with dark purple leaves and scarlet flowers in high showy inflorescences.

    Russian Princess - a dense bush is formed by shoots 60–80 cm high, covered with bronze leaves with purple tint and raspberry-red fragrant flowers up to 3 cm in diameter. It looks great next to elegant Siberian irises.

    Lobelia purpurea (Lobelia cardinalis)

    Ruby Slippers

    The height of strong shoots is up to 1 m, the inflorescences are spiciform or sultan-shaped, with scarlet flowers of the original form. Stems are strong, oblong leaves, emerald green. It is grown as a perennial, tolerates moisture, grows in shallow water, looks very good in groups near water bodies.

    Ruby Slippers - the most famous variety with subtle silky flowers of pink-crimson color.

    Content in an aquarium

    Lobelia is usually planted along the side walls and in the background of the aquarium. It forms sparse thickets that look great with any other vegetation. This plant in favorable conditions often grows to the surface of the water, and then produces beautiful inflorescences. But often in the aquarium pinch the top, due to which lobelia gives side shoots and turns into a lush bush. The leaves and adventitious roots of lobelia are eaten with pleasure by shrimps and fry.


    The most suitable conditions for lobelia purple can be considered a temperature of 22-26 degrees, pH 6.5 - 7.2, a hardness of 5-15. It is worth noting that it requires bright lighting with a day length of at least 8-10 hours. Then the plant takes on a strong, healthy and lush look. With weak and insufficiently long light the leaves of the plant begin to turn yellow.

    Lobelia requires regular water changes, as well as liquid fertilizers that need to be applied directly to the water.