Scarlet Blooms

Lobelia 'Fan Scarlet'


Yesterday while browsing some of the big box stores for available bulb selections, I came across this brilliant red Lobelia aptly named ‘Fan Scarlet’.  For some reason I’ve never grown any Lobelias in my garden.  This fall I corrected this slight by adding a purple blooming cultivar named ‘Vedraiensis’ which hasn’t flowered yet and now this red variety.  ‘Vedraiensis’ prefers a more shady location in the garden.  However ‘Fan Scarlet’ can be grown in an area that receives 6 or more direct hours of sunlight daily.  These showy spikes of red blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  This asset alone was a big selling point for me.   I did notice all the hummingbirds that some of you  attracted this year with your red & orange tubular blooms.  Therefore  I decided I needed more red tubular shaped blossoms in the garden next season.  I planted ‘Fan Scarlet’ in the border bed combined with Stella d’Ora  Daylillies and purple Liatris.  There is also some Peacock Orchids that bloom later than the other two.  It should be a stunning combination next summer if all three happen to bloom at the same time.   Here are the basic facts on my new addition:
  • Plant in Full Sun-Part Sun bed
  • Grows at a fast rate from 18″ in width to 30″ in height
  • Can be grown in sandy, clay or normal soil
  • Will tolerate average, moist or wet soils
  • Blooms Mid summer – Mid Fall
  • Great in a border or container planting
  • Has a compact bushy habit
  • Harmful if eaten
  • Foliage turns bronze in the fall
  • Hardy in zones 5-9 (with protection in zone 5)

19 responses to this post.

  1. This certainly looks like a winner. I love that bright red colour – quite different from the blue and purplish lobelia I’ve grown.

    Thanks Nancy. It does look like it might be a great perennial for the garden next year attracting lots of wildlife. 🙂


  2. You are out buying more plants! That looks like a pineapple sage bloom.

    I know, shame on me. But I can’t resist a beautiful plant at a good price. 🙂 It does look similar to the Pineapple Sage Bloom.


  3. Our big box stores no longer have plants ~ shows you the difference in our zones! I love lobelias and plant them every year (I either buy them or start from seed). I can never get them to overwinter. Hopefully, because you’re a couple zones warmer, that won’t be an issue for you.

    Isn’t that interesting, we have lots of plants still in the garden centers. This is a good time of year to plant perennials for us. They get a chance to establish before next summer’s heat gives them a hard time. The overwintering part shouldn’t be a problem since I live in zone 7b, cross your fingers just in case. 🙂


  4. Is ‘Fan Scarlet’ a Lobelia cardinalis?

    Yes it is Les.


  5. I like it! (you know me and red!) 🙂
    My neighbor gave me a cutting from something she called Hummingbird bush–is this the same thing?

    Thanks Linda. Yes I know you love your red! 🙂 I don’t think it is the same because this is a medium size perennial.


  6. The hummingbirds will be flocking to your red spikes. Very nice plant.

    Thanks Cindy, that was the attraction for me. 🙂


  7. It will look great with those Peacock glads. Mine have not bloomed but I am still hopeful.

    Thanks Tina. I couple of mine bloomed but I have a whole bunch that haven’t bloomed yet.


  8. That is nice, looks like the Pineapple Sage bloom too.

    Thanks Darla, you are the second person to mention it resembling the Pineapple Sage bloom. 😉


  9. Nothing stands out like red in a garden. My father always grew lobelia cardinalis for the hummers. It requires too much water for my garden, but I love the way it looks.

    Thanks for the tip Marnie. I will keep an eye on it. I did put lots of wonderful compost in that bed recently so hopefully it retains moisture well. Looking forward to seeing lots of hummers next year. 🙂


  10. That lobelia should look great in the bed with your stellas and liatris. I can’t blame you for being out buying plants. I worked all weekend long and let me tell you, people are out buying like crazy!

    Thank you Susie. I think it will make a striking combination w/the Stellas & Liatris. My local big box was pretty packed & people had tons of plants in their carts. It’s a great time of year to plant perennials for us. The weather is perfect, cooler w/chances of rain.


  11. I have one called Queen Victoria .. dark foliage .. burgundy almost, with bright red flowers that are so hot coloured the camera has a hard time with detail on the flowers .. I really like lobelia too .. in both perennial and annual form .. sweet plants. Good luck with that ivy .. I know it must be a huge pain to deal with.

    QV sounds pretty spectacular too Joy. I like burgundy foliage combined with red blooms. Thanks for the boost of confidence, I’m glad I got this plant. The ivy is in my neighbors yard, not mine. I can only imagine the nightmare. Thanks. 🙂


  12. Those are pretty blooms, but the butterflies and hummers coming…nothing like it!

    Thanks Kanak. My main objective with plants now is to attract more wildlife to the garden. So this plant has alot of promise for me. 🙂


  13. Hi Racquel, that is a looker. I agree that red really is an eye catcher in the garden. The dots of red from the pentas and a red climbing rose that is blooming the best it ever has right now show me how more of that color is needed in the fall garden scheme. Lobelia would have a hard time with our drought I’m afraid though here. I will have to enjoy yours. Give us lots of photos of it.

    Hi Frances, thanks. I agree that Red is a great color in the fall garden. It looks great with the yellows & oranges. I might have to give this one extra drinks from my rain barrels for awhile till it gets good & established. I promise to share this beauty with you with lots of photos. 🙂


  14. Oooo…that’s a pretty one! Cameron

    Thanks Cameron. 🙂


  15. I like your lobelia but it doesn’t like our dryness! I had Monet’s Moment and Ruby Slippers…Racquel…they were stunning but declined rapidly. Maybe I can find a spot, it would be happier in!


    I hope I have better luck with mine Gail. Thanks for the info. 🙂


  16. What a gorgeous shade of red 🙂

    Thanks Mom! 🙂


  17. I can only imagine how delighted the hummingbirds are with the lobelia! My hummers would definitely be quarreling over it.

    I haven’t seen any hummers in awhile Cindy, but if not this year than maybe next? Thanks.


  18. My favorite is Monet’s Moment. A great plant for mass plantings and it is a hummingbird magnet. Does not like dry soils and must be planted in full sun.

    Thanks for the great info, I will have to keep an eye out for it.


  19. Sounds like a good choice and the stunning red will pop along side its lucky neighbors!

    Thanks Joey. I’m pleased with the choice & hopefully it will look great with its’ companions.


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