Lobelia siphilitica 'Alba' White Cardinal Flower
Roger Dahlin's Propagation Project
I have included this page on our website as my father, Roger Dahlin has put a great deal of time and effort learning to propagate these beauties. I thought someone else might benefit by sharing his experiences
Cultivation Information Lobelia siphilitica 'Alba'
Height - 24 to 36 inFlower Color - WhiteBlooms - July - SeptemberSun - Sun or part shade
Hardy Zone - 4- 9Soil - Moist and fertile
Family - Campanulaceae
Propagation Suggestions From Bill Cullina
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
Bill CullinaActing Executive DirectorCoastal Maine Botanical GardensPO Box 234132 Botanical Gardens Dr.Boothbay, ME 04537
Propagation Notes from Dave Minor
For storing 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.