Best of the bunch
●● Perennial lobelia UNLIKE the annual blue bedding lobelia which is commonly used to fill in gaps in summer containers or cascades from hanging baskets, perennial lobelias are tall, elegant, striking plants with flowers in pink, red or purple.
A particularly hardy type is L. siphilitica which forms sturdy stems growing to 1m (3.5ft) and long spike-like clusters of sky-blue flowers.
Many have a reputation for not being hardy, but L. cardinalis can tolerate cold. However, it pays to grow them somewhere sheltered in full sun and to give them a thick winter mulch. L ‘Queen Victoria’, a scarlet variety, is ideal for filling gaps left by early flowering plants and looks stunning paired with rudbeckia for late summer colour.