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Lobelia siphilitica 'Lilac Candles'

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Kemper Code:  B234

Common Name: great blue cardinal flower
Zone: 4 to 9
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Campanulaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: None
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: July - September  
Bloom Color: Lilac
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low

Plant Culture and Characteristics

Sources for this plant

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in rich, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Needs constant moisture. Tolerates full sun in northern climates, but appreciates part afternoon shade in hot summer climates of the lower Midwest and South. In nature, lobelias are typically found in wet areas such as bogs, moist meadows and along streams. ‘Lilac Candles’ is similarly well-suited to moist soil conditions, but does surprisingly well in average garden soils as long as those soils are not permitted to dry out. Divide clumps in spring. ‘Lilac Candles’ does not produce viable seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Great lobelia species plants grow to 3’ tall and are typically found in moist soil locations throughout Missouri. ‘Lilac Candles’ is a compact variety of great lobelia, and is noted for its dwarf size (growing to only 18” tall), strong flowering stems and numerous lilac flowers. From basal rosettes rise alternate-leaved flowering stalks that are topped with erect, terminal spikes (racemes) of lilac flowers in mid to late summer. Flowers are two lipped, with the three lobes of the lower lip appearing more prominent that the two lobes of the upper lip. Lobelia honors the 16-17th century Flemish herbalist, Matthias de l’Obel. Siphilitica is in reference to a 1700s belief in Europe that the plant contained a remedy for venereal disease. U. S. Plant Patent PP15,236 issued October 19, 2004.


No known serious insect or disease problems. Snails and slugs may damage the foliage.


Effective in moist areas of woodland/shade gardens, wet meadows or along streams or ponds. Also adds late summer bloom to borders as long as soils are kept uniformly moist.

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