Now rare in its native Chile and equally rare in cultivation in the UK, this shrubby lobelia has narrower greyish green leaves than its relative Lobelia Tupa and sports tubular flowers that are rosy pink in hue. Lobelia Bridgesii is a choice plant for those who like something a little out of the ordinary and have the space to let it show off its charms. Sun or semi-shade. Well drained soil. 36 in. plus. 2 litre pot.
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So little-known that the RHS does not include it in their two-volume encyclopedia, Lobelia Bridgesii is native to coastal and coastal mountain regions at altitudes of up to 2000 metres where the climate is moist, with high annual rainfall. However, we recommend planting in well drained soil to mimic the conditions that the normally sloping habitat provides.
Lobelia Bridgesii has been known in cultivation for quite some time, having been first collected in Chile by Thomas Bridges (hence the species name) in 1833. It is known to have been planted in various botanic gardens in the following couple of decades, but somehow it never caught on and seems to have pretty much disappeared from view until its recent reintroduction to the horticultural market.
Left to its own devices, Lobelia Bridgesii will grow to quite a size, but we find that a Chelsea chop, ie cutting back around mid May, will keep it more compact while still allowing it to flower. In early spring cut back hard to just above the base to promote new growth.
Given decent drainage, it should be fully hardy in the British Isles, but the severity of the winter will determine whether the plant retains its foliage or dies back to regenerate in spring.
Lobelia Bridgesii is a tall hardy perennial with reddish stems and spikes of tubular rose pink flowers in late summer and autumn suitable for sun or semi-shade.