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Oct / Nov issue of The Irish Garden








Rachel's Journal

Rachel's Journal

Last Post 1 day 6 hours ago

Lobelia Confusion

22 May 2011 00:43:58

I am on the look out for a certain Lobelia.

It is Lobelia cardinalis 'Elmfeuer', according to my notes. It has blue flowers and, I think, green foliage.

I thought I saw it for sale at Altamont Gardens and as hubby was there today I texted him to pick it up.

He came home with Lobelia fulgens 'Elmfleur', which has red flowers on purple foliage and is an 'improved Loberlia cardinalis 'Queen Victoria'.

I don't blame him. The names are so similar. The one I'm looking for has a German name, the one I have has a French name. But the letters are the same!

While I am an enormous fan of the Lobelia family, I would like to get to the bottom of this. I love all Lobelia cardinalis and grew Lobelia tupa last year. I am growing Lobelia bridgesii from seed this year. I wonder can anyone clarify?


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fran m fran m 22 May 2011 07:17:18

Rachel, sorry can't help, but I have taken note of the name and will have it with me, so will ask around, but am not planning to buy anything at the moment.

You might be lucky at Bloom maybe. 


Krista Krista 22 May 2011 10:45:42

Google gives it as the same:

Botanical name: Lobelia cardinalis 'Elmfeuer'

Other names: Cardinal flower 'Elmfeuer', Cardinal flower 'Elmfeuer', Lobelia 'Elmfeuer', Lobelia cardinalis 'Elm Fire', Lobelia fulgens 'Saint Elmo's Fire'

Lobelia siphilitica has blue flowers and green foliage.


ladygardener ladygardener 22 May 2011 20:52:57

Hi Rachel can't help but if you're a fan of Lobilia you might be interested that B&Q have 4 Lobelia 'fan scarlet' (red flowers purple foliage) for 6 euro.  I bought 4 on Thursday.  I've never bought lobelia before but they're meant to be good for damp soil.  They are lovely healthy looking plants with lots of offshoots which I'm hoping will make new plants.


Rachel Rachel 22 May 2011 20:56:14

I will keep an eye out in Bloom, Fran.

Thanks for that, Kristina. There seem to be various misspellings of the German word for fire. It seems that cardinalis and fulgens are synonymous. Weird!


Rachel Rachel 22 May 2011 20:59:39

That's great value, Anne. Now all I need is a B&Q! The red leaves Lobelia are my absolute favourites. I think you just can't have enough of them. And they grow in my soil, which is dry!


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