Lobelia ‘Queen Victoria’ is a much sought-after perennial lobelia which is grown for both its wonderful foliage and brilliant flowers. This stately, upright plant bears stunning spikes of crimson-scarlet, five-petalled flowers which rise up in late summer among the beautiful, maroon-bronze coloured foliage.
This wonderful, award winning flower brings a splash of vibrant colour to the garden just as many perennials are fading. It is excellent for filling gaps left by early-flowering perennials in a mixed or herbaceous border and suits a planting scheme based on 'hot' colours. They are superb in containers, and are a regal addition to borders. This plant often looks best planted in groups for impact. It loves water and does especially well at the edge of a pond or stream. Along with red forms of Monarda (bee balm) this plant is a must if you want to birds and bees.
The plant itself is quite unlike bedding lobelia in appearance, the individual flowers have a similar shape, but are much larger. Since they bloom the first year they can also be grown as an annual when started early.
Awarded the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Sowing: Sow in late winter to spring or in spring to late summer.
Sow in late winter to spring (Jan to March) for flowering in the same year (since they bloom the first year they can be grown as an annual), or sow in spring to late summer (May to July) to over winter frost free for blooms the following year.
Sow at temperatures of around 20°C (71°F). Sow on the surface of moistened compost (use John Innes Seed Compost or similar). Do not exclude light which is beneficial to germination. Use a propagator or seal in a polythene bag until after germination. Make sure that the compost is kept moist but not wet. Germination in less than 2 weeks
Prick out seedlings when large enough to handle into 7cm (3in) pots after about 3 weeks grow on. Acclimatise young plants to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost. Space the plants 30cm (12in) apart in rich moist soil, preferably in a sheltered spot in part shade.
Divide large clumps of plants every second year in spring, February to April.
In very cold areas, it is recommended to mulch plants in winter to prevent frost damage and help the soil around them retain moisture. Protect the crown of the plant by using a thick, dry mulch, such as straw.
Although the plant is considered a perennial any one plant may only live 7 to 10 years and then die, especially in dry soils, it is easily propagated by stem cuttings or by dividing and spreading out the young plants which self sow around the older mature plants each year. To take cuttings, after they are finished blooming, cut the stems into pieces with 2 or 3 nodes and insert them in rich, moist soil. Stems will also root out in a glass of water. By replanting stems each year you can maintain a good colony in your garden, or let the seedlings spread around for a natural colony.
Cut flower stems can be harvested, when the flower show colour. Put the stems in warm water immediately. The fresh flowers last well in bouquets.
Cottage/Informal Gardens, Flower Arranging, Borders. Butterflies and Bees. Bog garden or pond marginal plant. Plant lobelias in the moist garden with sweet flag grass (Acorus), Ligularia, Rodgersia, daylilies, moisture loving iris, spiderwort (Tradescantia), ferns, and astilbe.
Lobelia cardinalis is a species of Lobelia native to the Americas. There is some confusion as to the parentage of ‘Queen Victoria’ Lobelia, the likely answer to who the parents are is it is a crossing of the northern red Lobelia cardinalis with the southern L. fulgens (Mexican Lobelia) which is found Mexico and south into central America.
Both plants have fiery red flowers and bloom late in the year. Fulgens most likely contributed the red coloration in the leaves at in the wild some plants have this tinge. Cardinalis contributes the especially brilliant scarlet red flower color and the general shape of the flowers.
Like many plants ‘Queen Victoria’ Lobelia has been around for sometime and was popular from the time it became known to garden enthusiasts.
In 1943 it was mentioned in both the New York Times and in the Los Angles Times. In the New York Times Lillian Meyferth wrote that it as ‘having deeper red flowers and dark, bronzy foliage’
The genus Lobelia is named for the Flemish botanist, Matthias de L'Obel (1538-1616). As a member of the genus Lobelia, it is considered to be potentially toxic. It has been known to cause an upset in the digestive system if consumed.
The species name can vary - often it reflects the plants parentage.
‘x’ refers to the plant being a cross between species. Speciosa means 'showy', fulgens means 'showy', spectabilis, means 'spectacular' and cardinalis referring to the colour red, as in to the colour of the garments worn by cardinals.
Lobelia is a member of the Campanulaceae, the Bluebell Family.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 10mg Average Seed Count 200 Seeds Family Campanulaceae Genus Lobelia Species cardinalis Cultivar Queen Victoria Common Name Cardinal Flower, Blood Red Dragons Tongues Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Crimson-scarlet Natural Flower Time July to August. August to October Foliage Deep maroon-bronze foliage. Height 60 to 90cm (24 to 36in) Spread 25cm (12in) Spacing 60 to 75cm (24 to 30in) Position Full sun, Partial shade. Soil Rich, deep, fertile, moist soil Notes Can also be grown as an annual