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Hardiness Zone Map


Lobelia

Lobelia

Cardinal Flower

In the dog days of August, just when the border is not looking so lively, this genus of colorful, stately selections rejuvenates the garden with spectacular leafy flowering spires, attracting crowds of eager hummingbirds. Perfect in meadow plantings, these sturdy herbaceous perennials appreciate a well drained site, a light winter mulching, rich, moist soils and partial shade in warm climates, except for Lobelia tupa and Lobelia laxiflora, which like it hot and on the dry side.

<i>Lobelia</i> ‘Grape Knee-Hi’

Have you grown weary of Lobelias, whose lovely blooms reside above a rather untidy base? If so, you may be interested in Dan Heim’s brilliant solution to this age-old challenge—a small-statured L. cardinalis and L. syphilitic backcross, known as ‘Grape Knee-Hi’. Painted with vibrant deep purple hues, the long lasting and freely flowering, tightset spikes crown upright stalks and good-looking compact foliage that stands on its own all season long.

Blooms July–August

Size: 2' 0" high x 15" wide.

Hardy to zone 6.

<i>Lobelia</i> ‘La Fresco’

We have Thurman Maness to thank for this lovely cultivar, another cross between Lobelia cardinalis and Lobelia siphilitica. A dense tower of dusky plum flowers creates a pleasing blend of muted purples when planted with Verbena hastata and Astrantia ‘Lars’.

Blooms August–early October.

Size: 2-1/2' – 3' 0" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 4.

<i>Lobelia laxiflora</i>

A lush-looking, bushy perennial capable of enduring considerable neglect, this impressive Lobelia plays host to festive bicolored blooms. Spreading by underground rhizomes, a close thicket of slender, yet sturdy, red-tinted stems strikingly set off narrow and lustrous, pointed green leaves that extend 2 to 4 in. Slim, 2 in. long red tubes are loosely clustered at shoot tips, while each bright-hued flower flares to reveal a sunny yellow throat.

Hailing from Arizona and Mexico, the Mexican Lobelia entices gardeners and hummingbirds alike with nectar-rich blossoms, can tolerate some shade, but looks its best in sunny, dry sites and has been reputed to possess anti-inflammatory alkaloids.

Blooms June–September.

Size: 2' 0" – 2-1/2' high x 2' 0" – 3' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 8.

Dressed in a crisp snowy white, the profusely flowered tapers of this Lobelia stand in sharp relief to its dark green foliage. A newly selected form of our U.S. native, ‘White Candles’s small, compact stature keeps its lift all season, lending a clean and classic look, especially when partnered with Geranium ‘Orion’.

Blooms July–August.

Size: 18" – 20" high x 18" wide.

Hardy to zone 5.

Lobelia tupa
 Full Sun  Partial Shade
<i>Lobelia tupa</i> <i>Lobelia tupa</i>

The lush tropical color scheme of this somewhat tender Chilean native is alluring. Cloaked in broad and pointed, pale green, felted foliage, each soaring, purple-tinged stem is crowned with a large, tapering raceme of warm brick-red blossoms. From the swollen base of each flower, a claw-like lower lip curls under and a tuft of gray stamens extends upward. A perennial of nearly monumental stature that likes it hot and on the dry side, Lobelia tupa can be associated with Melianthus, Muhlenbergia and Morina longifolia for a dynamic mélange of color and shape in the border.

Blooms July–October

Size: 6' 0" – 8' 0" high x 3' 0" – 4' 0" wide.

Hardy to zone 8.

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Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Current Staff's Favorite Plant

Our featured plant: Athyrium ‘Ghost’

Feathery-fine ferns, Refresh your summer border, Summer Shipping!

Characterized by delicate-looking fronds...

the deer-proof ferns, which are featured above, unfurl spritely new fiddleheads every spring. All are deciduous save for the lustrous Polystichum, otherwise known as Tassel Fern. Varying shades of green, metallic silver, russet, bronze and burgundy imbue their artful foliage. Second-to-none for shady alcoves, these easy-care perennials can be planted as specimens or grouped in shade gardens, mixed borders and woodland settings. Their filigree-fine features lend sophisticated accents to patio containers or cut arrangements. Ferns will flourish in cool , well-drained moist nooks enriched with compost or well-rotted manure.  

Refresh your summer plantings...

During the month of July, gardeners sometimes wonder how they can perk up their summer gardens. Sunshine-hued blooms, golden leaves and crisp white flowers lend lively accents. They can be sprinkled amid a mixed border, perennial bed or other plantings, melding well with flowers that include a broad color spectrum from blue-violet to purple and lilac, as well as clear pink and darker rose hues.  

Apart from adding more plants, there are a few simple maintenance techniques that will help your garden maintain a fresh appearance during the summer. The addition of a chipped-bark mulch or well-rotted compost early in the season, not only reduces water requirements throughout the warmer months, but promotes vigorous growth and peppy-looking foliage. Many perennials, such as Nepetas and Geraniums, can be trimmed in June or July. This midseason cut back ensures a tidy stature and more blooms, often all the way ‘til frost.

We hope some of the plants in this newsletter spark some interest and beckon you to dig them into that empty spot in your garden.  

 

 

 

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