Those tricky lobelias

Judith Adam

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Potted Blues Brothers lobelia (Photo courtesy of Norseco, QC)
Potted Blues Brothers lobelia (Photo courtesy of Norseco, QC)
Potted Blues Brothers lobelia (Photo courtesy of Norseco, QC)

Now, here is a mystery solved. Each spring I pick up half a dozen cell packs of lobelia seedlings for my containers. I admit, up front, that I’ve been lax in noticing the cultivar names; I just select the colours (usually dark blue and sometimes white) and the postures (mounding or trailing) to suit my purpose. The lobelias I purchased this spring differed only in that they were planted in four-inch (10-cm) pots, not cell packs, and were quite full and in bloom. For me, lobelia does well from spring to mid-summer, until heat seems to burn it out. When that happens, I pull the dried-up stems out of the pots and let other plants fill the space.

Except this summer’s lobelias just kept going. They continued full of foliage and flowers through the heat of summer, and I couldn’t figure out what I’d done right. That is, until further investigation in seed catalogues alerted me to a new practice called fuseable seed technology. These are seeds of mixed plant combinations combined within a pellet, allowing the plants to grow together. In theory, seeds of any two (or more) plants could be combined in this way, but success relies on the plants having shared cultural requirements, such as light and moisture needs, and of course, they must be aesthetically complementary. My lobelias were from the Fuseables Blues Brothers combination, which included early spring blooming ‘Riviera Midnight Blue’ and late spring to autumn blooming ‘Crystal Palace’. No wonder a four-inch pot was necessary to accommodate the two developing plants!

Next spring we’ll see lots more of fuseable seed technology in garden centres. Seed companies are already pairing up all sorts of fuseable mixes to eliminate the strain of making plant combination choices ourselves—and you’ll have to decide if that’s a good or unnecessary thing. Look for the Cotton Candy selection, which includes petunia Shock Wave ‘Pink Vein’ and light blue ‘Blutopia’ bacopa. You might also see the Blueberry Lime Jam selection, a pairing of Sophistica ‘Lime Green’ petunia with dark blue ‘Dreams Midnight’ petunia, and a coleus pairing called Under the Sun that pairs ‘Versa Crimson Gold’ with ‘Versa Lime’. Who thinks of these names? The mind boggles.


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4 thoughts on “Those tricky lobelias”

  1. Hi Kerrie,

    Yes, we’ll see what fuseables are on offer in spring. If you look closely at the photograph of Blues Brother lobelia, one side of the plant mass is slightly taller. I think that shows the distinction between the two lobelia cultivars in one pot. But there’s mighty little difference between them in appearance, and I certainly didn’t notice at first.

    — Judith

  2. Hi Cathy,
    I’m so glad you’ve got those baskets going this late in the season, and for a second time. It’s such a handy and satisfying way to produce a decent meal. No need to transport spinach across the continent!

    — Judith

  3. Hi Judith,

    Just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying my second round of the little wicker baskets on the deck with kale, spinach, and arugula. Small second time round, but mighty tasty.
    Enjoy your articles very much, thank you,


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