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Lobelia cardinalis

Contents:

  1. Lobelia
    by olga/arts.ubc.ca (Olga Betts) (Sat, 13 Sep 1997)
  2. Re; Lobelia poisonous to fish?
    by busko/stsci.edu (Ivo Busko) (Mon, 2 Apr 2001)
  3. Re:Lobelia
    by Thomas Barr <tcbiii/earthlink.net> (Mon, 02 Apr 2001)
  4. When L. cardinalis 'small form' is no longer so small...
    by Naomi Mizumoto <naomizu/pacbell.net> (Mon, 12 Nov 2001)
  5. L. cardinalis 'small form'
    by Roger Miller <rgrmill/rt66.com> (Tue, 13 Nov 2001)

Lobelia cardinalis

video still by Erik Olson

Lobelia

by olga/arts.ubc.ca (Olga Betts)
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 1997

Paul wrote:

>I have been on the lookout for Lobelia cardinalis for a long time, and I
>finally found some, in all places, at Walmart.

Gee Paul, you should have put out a request for this plant. Steve or I
could have mailed you some. :)

  They were in nice, big
>healthy bunches, too, and they survived three minutes of my 5% bleach
>treatment with only a minute amount of damage.

I can vouch for the fact that these plants can take bleach. Steve P. and I
accidently bleached the first plant (a top, not a whole plant) I got from
him for *10 minutes!* in a 5% bleach bath. All the other plants were toast
but two or three leaves on the Lobelia were still hanging in there. I
planted it to give it a chance. That was 2 years ago -- I still have it and
it is the biggest of my Lobelia plants.

  >They are well rooted, now,
>but appear to be slow growing.

Yup they are slow growing. With good nutrients the leaves get quite big.
Mine produce quite a few roots on the lower stalk. Glad you found it. It's
a nice plant. I haven't seen any in the stores. Steve had it first and gave
me some and I think we've both spread a bit around since.

Olga
in Vancouver

Re; Lobelia poisonous to fish?

by busko/stsci.edu (Ivo Busko)
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001

Susi Barber <wanderer35@operamail.com> wrote:

>Does anyone know if having Lobelia cardinalis in the tank is dangerous to 
>fish, if a leaf is broken off and allows the sap to get into the water?  I 
>heard this from a guy who is an experienced fish keeper and breeder, but I 
>hadn't come across it before,
>
>kind regards,
>
>Susi Barber
>Vancouver

Shouldn't be. Lobelia cardinalis is the staple plant in Dutch aquascapes.
And there are fish in those aquascapes too.

- - Ivo Busko
  Baltimore, MD


Re:Lobelia

by Thomas Barr <tcbiii/earthlink.net>
Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2001

If it was poisonous ...I would have so many dead fish:)  That's the
experienced practical side. Apparently, as is often the case, the
experienced person has not had the plant or attributed the death to some
other factor. I have a large amount of it(for several years) and it has
never caused a death or a shrimp, snail or fish. I have distributed it to
quite a number of folks. Never a problem even in large amounts with frequent
prunings.  Several other plants supposedly release toxins into the water. I
have not had such an experience. Perhaps those who did, did few water
changes, mostly had the one plant and/or had extremely small tanks or both.
I could see a toxin being released if the plant is very stressed or decaying
to the point of causing death. But all the plants in this trade I've ever
had (which are many) don't kill fish if healthy/ maintained/regular water
changes and pruned etc.
Regards, 
Tom Barr    


When L. cardinalis 'small form' is no longer so small...

by Naomi Mizumoto <naomizu/pacbell.net>
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001

I'm sure I've mentioned several times before that Lobelia cardinalis 'small 
form' is my all-time favorite plant. However, I've noticed that when a stem 
reaches approximately 2.5" in height, it starts to change. As it continues 
to grow, the stem gets thicker and thicker, and the leaves take on a 
slightly different look, larger and sometimes "dimpled" and washed-out 
along the veins and just not as aesthetically appealing. I realize that 
this plant can be propagated in the same manner as any other stem plant, 
but if I do this, the top cutting looks "weird," for lack of a better word. 
At least if I buy them in their emersed form, they'll start off with their 
pretty, delicate leaves after losing their purple ones. I find that they 
look most lovely at about 2.5-3.0". After this, they quickly go downhill.

I'm wondering if the only way to have the smaller, more delicate lobelias 
is to grow them from seeds, or if maybe top cuttings eventually lose the 
gargantuan leaves and sprout the little ones? Or maybe there's a way to 
help induce a "side-shoot" to grow out of the stem? Seems like as long as 
the plant is growing perfectly vertically, side shoots simply don't happen. 
The store from which I get my lobelias doesn't always have them available, 
and I will be very sad when all of mine grow past their prime. At least for 
now, I can take comfort in their SLOW growth. Can anybody give me some 
helpful hints? Thanks lots!

- -Naomi


L. cardinalis 'small form'

by Roger Miller <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001

On Tue, 13 Nov 2001, Naomi Mizumoto wrote:
 
> I'm sure I've mentioned several times before that Lobelia cardinalis 'small 
> form' is my all-time favorite plant.

I love this plant, too.  It's very versatile.

> However, I've noticed that when a stem 
> reaches approximately 2.5" in height, it starts to change. As it continues 
> to grow, the stem gets thicker and thicker, and the leaves take on a 
> slightly different look, larger and sometimes "dimpled" and washed-out 
> along the veins and just not as aesthetically appealing. I realize that 
> this plant can be propagated in the same manner as any other stem plant, 
> but if I do this, the top cutting looks "weird," for lack of a better word. 
> At least if I buy them in their emersed form, they'll start off with their 
> pretty, delicate leaves after losing their purple ones. I find that they 
> look most lovely at about 2.5-3.0". After this, they quickly go downhill.

Naomi, is it possible that your 'small form' is really just the top
cutting from a regular lobelia cardinalis?  I have both the regular L.
cardinalis (purchased from LFS) and the dwarf form (a gift from Tom Barr).
The two are not very similar.  The behavior you describe sounds more like
a cutting of the regular form.

> I'm wondering if the only way to have the smaller, more delicate lobelias 
> is to grow them from seeds, or if maybe top cuttings eventually lose the 
> gargantuan leaves and sprout the little ones? Or maybe there's a way to 
> help induce a "side-shoot" to grow out of the stem? Seems like as long as 
> the plant is growing perfectly vertically, side shoots simply don't happen. 
> The store from which I get my lobelias doesn't always have them available, 
> and I will be very sad when all of mine grow past their prime. At least for 
> now, I can take comfort in their SLOW growth. Can anybody give me some 
> helpful hints? Thanks lots!

My regular L. cardinalis has a thick stem and textured, oval leaves.  The
base of the leaf blade make an acute angle where it meets the petiole.
Under high light the underside of a new leaf has a a little purple color.
The color fades as the leaf matures.  Roots emerge from the base of the
stem above the substrate.  If you cut the top off a plant then the base of
the plant will sprout new tops, but I've never seen the top of the plant
put out side shoots.

My plants grow leaves as much as 3 inches long, but smaller plants have
smaller leaves.

The dwarf form has a thin stem.  The leaves are rounded triangles, wide
near their base and with an obtuse angle where the leaf blade meets the
petiole.  Almost all of the length of the stem is covered by coarse roots
that lay tightly against the stem.  The roots aren't easily visible
without taking the plant out for close inspection.  The plant branches
from the bottom of a cut stem that is left rooted.  The top of the plant
will very often grow side shoots. That feature makes it easy to
propogate.  I've never seen the dwarf form develop the purple color.

The leaves on the dwarf form are rarely more than an inch long.

The central leaf vein is prominent in both plants, but in general the
veins on the regular form are more noticable than the veins on the dwarf
form. The light color of the veins varies only slightly under the
different fertilizing routines that I use.

These differences hold true across all sizes that I've let them grow to.  
I've grown the dwarf form up to about 6", and the regular form up to
about 10".  These features also remain constant over the range of lighting
that I grow them under, from 1.5 watts/gallon to 3 watts/gallon NO
fluorescent.


Roger Miller


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