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This species of Lobelia is a stately, upright plant, grown for both its purple-tinged foliage, most pronounced in the variety 'Queen Victoria' which has bold reddish-purple leaves, and brilliant red flowers, each 2.5cm (1in) across. These form tall spikes at the top of the plants from late summer into autumn. Although the plant itself is quite unlike bedding lobelia in appearance, the individual flowers have a similar shape, but are much bigger. This plant is rather short-lived, with plants usually lasting about three years. These may be propagated by division, cuttings or seed in spring. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Plant type: Hardy perennial
Flower colour: Red
Foliage colour: Bronze
Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Soil: Clay/heavy, Moist, Boggy
Skill level: Beginner
Time to plant seeds: March to May
Time to divide plants: February to April
Flowering period: June to August
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