Speaking of plants growing where they are not supposed to grow

njtea(NJ Z6)August 22, 2005

Yesterday I was watering the Rhus armoatica and mountain mint and I noticed several Lobelia cardinalis blooming like crazy amongst both - on an extremely dry slope. Lobelia c. is supposed to be growing in damp conditions, but here it was in one of the driest parts of my yard.

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Interesting - this is my first year to have Lobelia Cardinalis & I've been very disappointed in them, very few blooms - made sure I kept them watered like the instructions said - maybe I need to let them dry out a bit?
Might be worth a try, if they don't bloom more before winter I won't be planting them next year, will put a known bloomer in their place.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 10:10AM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

When I first stared growing L. cardinalis I'd read they were very picky plants that needed wet conditions and might or not might survive from one year to the next.

They have done so well at my place that they are becoming invasive and I have to pull them out in order not to be over run with the darn things.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 11:33AM
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I planted my first one in 2000 it returned in 2001. In 2002 it struggled. In 2003 I barely had any they were hanging on for dear life and one was white. In 2004 it was the best year ever! This has been a good year for them although not as good as last and the white one came back it skipped a year. I found one that I didn't even plant it popped up in the back between a cross vine and native azalea under a pagoda dogwood. Sarah

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 1:36PM
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Thanks for your imput Sarah.
I've read that sometimes perennials take a few years to really get going good so guess that could be the case & I'd think the Texas heat doesn't help.
You gave me a glimmer of hope, I won't give up just yet!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 5:14PM
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L. cardinalis is a short-lived perennial. It also needs acid soil, in addition to sun and wet feet (in nature it grows along pond shores). I've had no luck with it--I've got alkaline soil. L. syphilitica, its larger, blue cousin, does spectacularly for me. I'm not complaining.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 2:42PM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

"Short-lived"?! - my original plant is still going strong 6 years after I planted it - and it is the progenitor of all the others in my yard!

L. syphilitica grows next to the L. cardinalis in my garden. I found it about 3 years ago growing on the border of my swamp and last year moved a clump to my garden. From the way it grows in the wild, it seems much better behaved than the cardinalis.

It is a beautiful plant, Elaine.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 3:45PM
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Could it be short-lived because of the soil conditions Elaine? I have acid soil here and have a hard time growing anything that likes alkaline soil. They'll grow here but peter out eventually. I just figured it was because the soil is not conducive to that particular plants needs.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 9:23PM
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Certainly I'm not surprised that L. cardinalis didn't do well in my alkaline soil. But I've heard and read it described as short lived. Since I've never known it to stick around, I believed it. L. syphilitica for me is long-lved, and although it doesn't seem to self sow for me, the divisions I take do very well indeed.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 11:41AM
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I've had "volunteer" cardinal flowers showing up in various parts of the garden too. I'm actually kind of glad. This year it's been very dry and they haven't done as well as they did last summer. The hummingbirds absolutely ADORE cardinal flower. I love watching them 'feed' from it.

A friend of mine planted L. cardinalis with L. syphilitica in a wet area of her yard, and they are both growing like crazy!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 1:16PM
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