Lobelia siphilitica 'Alba' - White Cardinal Flower
Height - 24 to 36 in Flower Color - White Blooms - July - September Sun - Sun or part shade
Hardy Zone - 4- 9
Soil - Moist and fertile
Family - Campanulaceae
Flowering White 'Alba' Lobelia
Propagation Suggestions - From Maine
The white version of cardinal flower is a
recessive albino that pops up in populations once in a while. I have
grown it from seed, but only get a few whites out of a batch of seed (the
white seedlings lack any red/maroon pigment so are easy to spot in the seed
pan). Albino or alba forms are not protected or listed separately per se,
as they are genetic varieties and not geographic varieties, but both the blue
lobelia and cardinal flower have white forms. Cardinal flower also has a
pink form that comes more easily from seed.
You can root lobelias from
stem cuttings taken just before the first flower buds open. Lengths of
stem with two leaves plus one leafless node below ground treated with rooting
hormone root pretty well, and this is the best way to guarantee white plants
(or other color morphs).
Best Wishes and hope that helps
Acting Executive Director
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
PO Box 234
132 Botanical Gardens Dr.
Boothbay, ME 04537
White 'Alba" Lobelia - Growing in My Ditch
August 2012 - Who Gets the Last Laugh?
As you can see from this page, my
father Roger Dahlin spent a great many New York winter hours (2011 –
2012) learning to propagate the rare White “Alba” Lobelia. He did master
it and gave me several of his prized plants.
I have one beautiful gallon pot the others I assumed didn’t make it.
randomly stuck a few Blue Lobelia/Cardinal flowers in our ditch, I
pretty much forgot about them all summer long; full sun, very little
rain and crummy clay soil. You can imagine my surprise when I notice
this one plugging away.
Red, White and Blue Lobelia
Propagation by Stem Cutting - Lobelia siphilitica 'alba'
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I don't add the
very fine sifted dirt until I'm ready to plant in the spring. I use a
plastic coffee can with lid to store mine in. It's about a quart in size. My
can is less than half full of husk with seed. Before I add the dirt I
shake out the seed to separate it from the husk. The seed is so fine it almost
looks like dust or maybe pepper. I also assume I don't get all the seed
out of the husk, so I plant the husks also but separate from the pure
seed. I bet I don't get more then a teaspoon full of pure seed.
the seed with husks I leave the seeds dry out good before I put the
lid on to prevent any mold from developing. I store the can on a shelf in a
back shed but I'm thinking an unheated garage would work.
Come spring I shake the
can vigorously to try to separate as much seed as possible. I then put the
husks in a separate container. I then use a play sand box sieve to
sift the dirt to get about a cup full of fine dirt. I then add the dirt to
the seed and mix/shake it up good. I do that because the seed is so fine I
don't know how else to plant it. The theory is that the seed will mix in and
stick to the dirt which becomes much easier to plant. This is my own theory so
what ever works for you is the way to do it.
Then I plant the husks
just in case some of the seed stayed with it.
Not very many survive
but at least I get some every year. The hard part is that they don't show up
until mid summer, so I never really know what I got until the flowers start to
bloom. I plant them in a naturally setting at the edge of the pond right along
with all the weeds and what ever else grows in that area. It's about a two foot
wide strip at the ponds edge that does not get mowed.