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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


In a week I will have 50 bunches of Lobelia cardinalis small form, imported from Singapore.

I am going to great lengths to keep these plants healthy, they will be in a 55 gallon tank by themselves under 4/watts gallon and injected C02. These are the true dwarf species, which arfe only available from importers. The Lobelia produced by Florida Aquatic Nuseries is not the dwarf form.

I have found these plants to be fairly easy to grow under moderate to bright light and C02. I have lost plants fairly quickly though if they are too over shadowed, and they seem to like well oxygenated water. Maybe others experience is different?

Here is a link to Eriks article on the plant, the best written piece I have found:
http://www.e-aquaria.com/des_lobelia.html
 

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Lobelia cardinalis is a North American native wildflower. Grows around bogs,streams, ponds. I've got it growing around my natural pond.

I strongly suspect that the dwarf LC in the aquarium trade is nothing more than the pure wild strain of Lobelia. I have several cultivars and the wild one is a considerably smaller plant than the ones people have been messing with. Nothing like that color red when it's blooming! Unfortunately the brilliant red flower is also it's downfall. People dig it up and try to grow it in their gardens and more often than not fail. Needs moisture, can't stand being mulched.

I haven't tried it in my tank. Really much prettier out in the bog.
 

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I got mine from a fellow hobbyist a couple years back and it has been growing well in both high and low light tanks ever since. Very slow growers though. Some people seem to have problems growing this stuff, I'm not sure why though, it's always done well for me.

Great looking plant
Giancarlo Podio
 

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If I am not mistaken, the picture from the Plant Finder (needs a better name IMVHO :mrgreen:) is of the regular Lobelia cardinalis, which is many times larger than the dwarf variety. Aside from the size difference, L. cardinalis 'Small Form' has oval leaves while the regular variety has elliptical leaves.

Although extremely easy to grow IME, one thing of note is that this plant will literally melt if you happen to overdose K relatively to some-other-nutrient(s)-that-I-have-not-been-able-to-figure-out (suspecting Ca/Mg but who knows). Growing this plant emersed is also not difficult: shade to medium sun. Unlike Sue, my emersed specimens don't really care about moisture. I have two pots of the dwarf variety outside right now that I haven't water in weeks and they are still strong, showing no signs of wilting and the leaves are purple. You should try growing yours submersed Sue before looters dig yours away in the middle of the night. :D

Here is a picture of my L. cardinalis 'Small Form':
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The small form comes from Oriental aquarium in Singapore, it is in their catalog. A cultivar is not a wild strain. Hybrids do occur in nature. If I understand the term correctly, a hybrid is the crossing of two species, a cultivar is a strain or variant introduced in a lab or controlled growing conditions. It can be geneticly manipulated or done in tissue culture.

The variants of Anubias nana that Oriental has like petite, narrowleaf, marble, varigated, or Stardust, is geneticaly mutated. My guess is this is what was done with the Lobelia "small form". Commercially grown Lobelia most likely is much different from the wild variety. From close cultivation and tissue culture size and colors can be changed. I had a 4 foot tall Lobelia growing in my Mothers garden that I picked up at Home Depot that looks entirely different than the emersed aquatic version. The "small form" aquatic version is different still.

Aside from the size difference, L. cardinalis 'Small Form' has oval leaves while the regular variety has elliptical leaves.
I don't think that is true. They are basically the same shape when they are small. The dwarf just stays smaller, bushier, and shorter. Look at Ghazanfars picture I showed here. Look at the pictures on Eriks article, and your picture. That is exactly what the large or normal variety looks like when you buy it potted from Florida Aquatic, which everyone tells me is not the true dwarf form. When it grows up, it looks like the photo below. In my Forum, All Wet Thumb, we looked at it pretty closely. Svennovich shows a picture of an up rooted full size Lobelia from his tank that is just enourmous


This pic is not opening for me here...over the limit? here is the link

http://home.tiscali.be/apnd0007/foto/planten/lobelia_2.jpg
 

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Although extremely easy to grow IME, one thing of note is that this plant will literally melt if you happen to overdose K relatively to some-other-nutrient(s)-that-I-have-not-been-able-to-figure-out (suspecting Ca/Mg but who knows).
OMG :shock: :!: That very thing happened to me, once, and the only thing I could think of that I was doing differently was adding K2SO4. I wasn't even adding very much, but I think the problem was that I wasn't dosing anything else at the time, so the water must have been "empty." It was the most sickeningly fast and virulent thing I'd ever seen happen to any plant. One day, my dwarf lobelias were looking very beautiful, then suddenly, they started melting from the *tips* (which made me think it was a disease of some sort). Five days later, they were rotted clear down to the roots, and I was very depressed about this for months :-({|= . Never figured out what really happened, but maybe this was it!

Anyway, at least this melt-down hasn't happened again.

-Naomi
 

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Robert Hudson said:
Aside from the size difference, L. cardinalis 'Small Form' has oval leaves while the regular variety has elliptical leaves.
I don't think that is true. They are basically the same shape when they are small. The dwarf just stays smaller, bushier, and shorter. Look at Ghazanfars picture I showed here. Look at the pictures on Eriks article, and your picture. That is exactly what the large or normal variety looks like when you buy it potted from Florida Aquatic, which everyone tells me is not the true dwarf form. When it grows up, it looks like the photo below. In my Forum, All Wet Thumb, we looked at it pretty closely. Svennovich shows a picture of an up rooted full size Lobelia from his tank that is just enourmous
My picture above is of the Lobelia cardinalis 'Small Form' that I originally purchased from Lowcoaster, who imports from Oriental Aquarium. It is entirely possible that he may have sent me the wrong species since OA also cultivate the regular variety. But for what's to follow, I will assume that it is indeed the small form. :D

The regular L. cardinalis to which I referenced was originally purchased from Lowe's garden center, who ordered from I-don't-know-who. :oops: This strain look VERY much like Sven's photo which you posted and that in the Plant Finder. If you compare Erik's and my photo against those of Sven's, you would notice how the leaves on Sven's specimens are stretched, elongated to pointy tips, while the leaves on Erik's and mine are more oval whose leaf-tips are blunt and much more circular.

I have not had the opportunity to grow the specimen cultivated by Florida Aquatic so I can't comment on that. Maybe it's a third variety: an intermediate form? Is that what Gomer's plant is? His emersed specimen sure is funky looking -- not at all like an emersed L. cardinalis 'Small Form' from Oriental Aquarium. Perhaps Gomer can grace us with a photo of his plant submersed?

Oriental Aquarium's Specimen (photo courtesy of www.aquaticquotient.com)


Gomer's Specimen
 

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If it's any help Gomer's plant looks like my pure wild one. The red leafed one looks more like some of the man manipulated cultivars I have.

The wild one is a petite plant. Easily overwhelmed in the garden. It's grown real big for itself when the bloom stalk reaches 18 inches here. The rosette rarely exceeds 4 or 5 inches. Mine was collected from an area that was about to become a boat ramp.

I've got store bought cultivars around the pond that go from anywhere from 18 inches to nearly chest high. Any of these plants may be bigger or smaller in other regions. I'm in a cool, short growing season area so plants tend to know they don't have much time and tend to be a tad smaller at maturity than most catalogs state.

There are tons of cultivars and inter species crosses out there. It's a pretty plant and has been played with lots.

Here are just a few:
http://www.fsperennials.co.uk/catalogue/pl_lobelia.htm

I thought about plunking one in the tank but really it's so lovely where it is I'm going to leave them. Maybe in the spring when I've got more of the luxury of time. Plants are all going to sleep now for the winter.
 

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Perhaps Rober Hudson can chime in here. I purchased my lobelia from him (Aquabotanic) in the middle of last september. He should have records of where his plants came from (i'd like to think atleast). It was purchased from his as "dwarf"

My server seems to be down. When it is up, I will show you 3 pictures of the same plant...all look completely different LOL 2 emersed and 1 submersed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
CS, you may be right, in fact I know you are right! Look at Svennovich's picture, definetly not round leaves. But, when they are young, small plants, I bet they are more round shaped like the true dwarf. Thats what I was trying to say.

I am sure that the small form from Oriental is a cultivar. All Lobelia is red/purple when grown emersed or terrestrial. Underwater it turns solid green

I had some small form Lobelia once last year from Oriental aquarium. Before that I was also selling Florida Aquatic Nurseries "Dwarf Lobelia". FAN identifies it as dwarf lobelia, but it is not the "small form" which is unique to Oriental Aquarium.

I think it was Jay Luto that made me give him his money back on the Dwarf Lobelia because it wasn't the "true small form". Since then I decided not to carry it and only occasioaly get the true small form thru my importer. So Tony, I do not know what you got, I do not remember. If it was in a pot then it was from Florida. If it was in a bunch then it was the real thing...the same plant that Charlie gets occasionaly. In fact Tony, I am pretty sure we have already had this conversation! Your picture looks like it's the same as Svennovich's.

I am also sure you folks are experienced enough with plants to know that they do not always grow uniformaly the same shape! Species often vary in shape and appearance. The main thing is as far as I am concerned that the "small form" from the Orient is the smallest varient of Lobelia available period. And that seems to be what everybody wants who likes this plant. This is the plant you can use as a foreground/middle ground, and the "dutch streets" without worrying about it outgrowing the space. Does Charly currently have any? I do not pay a lot of attention to his emails, so I don't know. Other than him or me, nobody else is selling it online to my knowledge.
 

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I wonder what Arizona Aquatic Gardens is selling as dwarf lobelia? I aquaired a couple of plants from them several weeks back.

NEW LISTING! Lobelia small form (Lobelia cardinalis) Yes, this is the plant everyone is looking for...small form lobelia for the aquarium, not for your pond! Attractive ground cover, hard to find! Sold as 1 rooted plant, choose from either potted or loose forms.
Andrew Cribb
 

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Roger Miller and I had a small chat on 'dwarf' lobelia and its counter part a while back.

He said 'dwarf' has noticable characteristic of:

sending out a lot of sideshoots
sending out a lot of aerial roots
rounded triangular shape leaves.
 

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Robert, we did indeed talk about this, but what we did not talk about was the source of my "dwarf". If it is as you say, then "we" planted people need to be aware of this issue.

You say mine looks like the normal one, but it wasn't in a pot...I got it as 3 small cuttings which you indicate should be dwarf.

I believe Charley gets it from time to time as well from OA.

I think I will email AZ gardens to find out where they get their dwarf lobelia so that people know what they are getting.


edit: And for the record, Robert did offer to send me a free replacent long ago on the lobelia on a related issue (I declined, but he did offer it)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I know Arizona Aquatic buys Florida Aquatic plants from the same source as I do, they may also import from Oriental, I have no idea. I do not know what they are selling. From the description it sounds like the import stuff, but who knows. If they are using the term "small form", that is not a term Florida Aquatic uses, but if it is potted, then it is not imported because no potted plants are allowed into the USA. Maybe AZ is potting them themselves....if it was a potted plant from FAN it would have one of their identification tags in the pot.

I only buy plants from two sources, Florida Aquatic Nurseries and Oriental Aquarium, thats all I know. When you are talking about different variations of the same plant specie it is difficult to know for sure. Some of you guys get into arguements about plant names all the time!

Tony has your lobelia grown to over a foot tall? Or has it stayed short? I am sorry I can not be more helpful, but that is as much as I know. What I have now is OA's small form Lobelia cardinalis.
 
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