How can something as beautiful as Lobelia erinus be a weed? OK, so perhaps “Lobelia weed” was stretching it a bit, but based purely on the definition, Garden Lobelia is indeed a weed in my garden. Back in 2007 I picked up ten regular purple garden-variety Lobelia plants to add some color to an otherwise boring border. I quickly found out that when they call Lobelia an annual, they really mean it. No surprise second or third year coming out of it. Realizing I wouldn’t have the continuing determination or motivation to plant true annuals every year in my yard, I moved to on find longer-lasting solutions. My Garden Lobelia planting stage only lasted a single year.
Can you see the dot of purple halfway up the hillside between the lamppost and street sign?
Before going on I need to point out that no one else in my development (or near the development) has planted any Lobelia. That being said, I have found that Lobelia seed will readily germinate in gardens with mulched landscapes that are regularly irrigated. Long after that one-time planting I’m still seeing these “weeds” pop up every so often around my garden. When they do I don’t have the heart to rip them out, so basically they naturalized somewhat in my yard. While the Lobelia “weeds” don’t crop up as much as they did in the past, I am still surprised as to just where I find them.
Fast forward to today. While walking my dog around the neighborhood I got a few houses down the road before I noticed a splash of purple in a sea of red. Walking up my neighbor’s hillside to investigate, I found that a Lobelia had found its way into his yard. For some strange reason I felt a swelling of pride. This could have only come from my lone planting seven long years ago.
The colors are rather plain, as the years of self-propagation have caused the Lobelia to lose some of its appeal. Unfortunately, Spotted and Creeping Spurge, Mustards, and Common Purslane won’t have any competition in the garden weed department from Lobelia. So unless someone plants a few in my neighborhood, I am quite sure my Lobelia erinus “weed” problem will soon be over. Later I will blog about my other “weed” problem—Dracaena draco.