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Lobelia Plants

Q.What Should I Do With My Bolting Lobelia

Zone Leicester Forest East | Plant Rescue Monkey added on September 5, 2020 | Answered

Somewhat ambitiously for a gardening newbie I bought 3 shabby and thus ½ price Lobelia. They seemed a bit cramped and dry in their pots so I repotted them. After 18 days (pic 1) they had recovered a little and were growing quite fast but with no flowers and needing stem support. After another 18 days (pic 2) they’re really shooting up with little flowers appearing. Conveniently the support cane indicates the remarkable extent of the growth (15-18″ in 7 weeks.) But the stems, including the fresh ones, are still week and the leaves still a bit dry and jaded. It reminds me of childhood when our vegetables ‘bolted’ and ‘went to seed’. What’s going on and what should I do?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on September 8, 2020

They will be a little different than an annual, which bolts, or goes to seed. Lobelia cardinalis will have a natural flowering cycle, where the flowering spikes will rise as you see here.

Falling over can indicate that it does not have enough sun, or is overwatered. I would suspect the latter, given how thick and wet the soil looks.

Make sure that you have plenty of drainage holes to allow all extra water out of the container, and make sure to water, only, once the soil is completely dry down to about 2 or 3 inches. You may need a moisture meter to help you if you are unfamiliar with how the soil should feel between waterings. This article will help you with using a moisture meter:


This article will help you with the care of your plant:


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Plant Rescue Monkey
Answered on September 8, 2020

WOW! Thanks so much. I'm going to invest in a moisture meter to bridge me over my novice phase!

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