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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Lobelia ‘Superstar’: New for 2011

Posted by Graham Rice on 24 Jan 2011 at 12:06 PM

Lobelia,Superstar,Hot Blue with Eye. Image ©WesthoffLobelia is an old favourite for hanging baskets and for traditional summer annual displays – but no one really gets very excited about it. It’s certainly valuable, but you never hear genuine heartfelt enthusiasm. Well, that could be about to change.

This season sees the introduction of a new lobelia from Germany, ‘Superstar’ (above, click to enlarge), whose flowers are truly dramatic. Each unusually large bloom is deep indigo blue but the difference is that it also features a bold, clean, bright white eye.

I know, there’ve been blue lobelias with white eyes before - I’ve often grown ‘Regatta Blue Splash’ - but nothing with such a brilliant contrast, with such a large clean eye and without the blue colouring staining its purity.

Of course one of the things that puts gardeners off growing lobelia is that the seeds are minute and tend to damp off the moment you so sow them. ‘Superstar’ is raised from cuttings, so you buy young plants and not seed. It makes things a whole lot easier.

In size, ‘Superstar’ comes in between the dumpy little varieties used for edging and the big airy trailing varieties better suited to for baskets. Its semi-trailing habit allows it to be used in baskets and tubs without it hanging down too low. While in beds and borders you’ll need far fewer plants than if you grew traditional bedding varieties.

And on top of all that, Lobelia ‘Superstar’ is more tolerant of hot summers than most other varieties.

You can order Lobelia ‘Superstar’ from Thomson & Morgan, and also from D. T. Brown, from Mr Fothergills, and from Woolmans.

Image © Westhoff, with thanks to Thompson & Morgan.

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