Watering Lobelia

Lobelia are flowering annuals or flowering perennials that bloom from mid-spring until the first frost. Healthy lobelia plants require adequate moisture throughout the growing season to ensure a healthy root system for thriving foliage and flowers.


How To Tell If Lobelia Needs Watered

Many types of lobelia are moisture lovers and do not tolerate drought conditions. Lobelia plants will need watering if the surface of the soil is cracking or dry. To determine if your lobelia needs to be watered, insert your finger an inch into the soil to see if the soil is dry below the surface. If the soil surface is dry below the top layer, your lobelia needs to be watered. Other signs of needing water include drooping or dry foliage, browning leaves, and overall wilting. Signs of overwatering include limp, flopping stems, yellowing leaves, and dropping foliage. 

How Often To Water Lobelia

Water lobelia thoroughly when newly planted. Check on your newly planted lobelia more frequently until the plants are established. Newly planted lobelia may require 2 or 3 waterings in a week with no rainfall. 

Once established in a garden, annual lobelia can be watered weekly during the summer season depending on weather conditions. Lobelia is not typically drought tolerant and will not be able to survive prolonged periods without rainfall or watering. Annual lobelia does not like wet feet and can be overwatered; do not water if the soil is moist. Perennial lobelia or cardinal flower are water lovers and can survive wetter planting locations. 

Water potted lobelia more frequently than garden lobelia. Potted soil tends to dry out more quickly than garden soil and should be watered more frequently. Use the steps outlined above to tell if your plant needs watering.


Best Time To Water Lobelia

The best time of day to water your lobelia plant either in the garden or as a potted plant is in the morning or evening. The ideal time to water is before or after the peak hours of sunlight and heat of the day. Lobelia does not need to be watered in the winter and does not typically grow indoors; therefore it does not need watering during dormancy. 

How to Water Lobelia

Step 1 - Check the moisture content of the top 1 inch of soil. 

If the soil is dry, water immediately. If the soil is still moist, you do not need to water the plant

Step 2 - Apply water to the base of the plant.

Use a watering can, hose, or drip irrigation to water the plant, ensuring the water is applied directly to the base of the plant instead of on top of the foliage. Allow the water to thoroughly soak into the pot or garden around 6 inches deep prior to shutting off or moving onto another plant. Do not flood or overwater your plants. 

Step 3 - Allow the soil to dry completely between waterings. 

Check the surface of the soil regularly to determine when to water next. 

Lobelia Watering Tips

  • Water lobelia thoroughly when newly planted
  • Water established plants weekly depending on weather
  • Perennial Cardinal Flower prefers wetter conditions
  • Check the top inch of soil for water needs
  • Water at the base of the plant in the morning or evening


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 Author Katie Endicott - Published 9-14-2022