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Lobelia, Vulcan Red

Buy Any 3 Perennial Plants or Bulbs & Save 20%
Buy Any 3 Perennial Plants or Bulbs & Save 20%. Cannot be applied to previous orders. Limited time only. While supplies last.

Short Description

Fiery cardinal-red spikes.

Full Description

Fiery cardinal-red flower spikes bloom on strong stems over deep purple foliage on full, well branched plants, making this a truly outstanding perennial selection. Blooming from late summer into fall, this native plant features tubular flowers that are irresistible to hummingbirds and butterflies. Grows well in wet soils, at the edge of a pond or stream, in the border or containers, and is particularly effective when massed.
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Order: 1 Pkt. ( 20 seeds)
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Product properties

Zone This refers to the USDA hardiness zone assigned to each part of the country, based on the minimum winter temperature that a region typically experiences. Hardiness zone ranges are provided for all perennial plants and you should always choose plants that fall within your range.


Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

24-32 inches

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

10-14 inches

Bloom Season The time of the year when this product normally blooms.


Resistant To Adverse garden conditions, such as heat or frost, deer or rabbits, that this product can tolerate well.

Deer, Rabbit, Wet Soil

Plant Shipping Information

Plants begin shipping week of:

Mar 16, 2020

Click here for Spring shipping schedule


Item 22289 cannot ship to: AE, AK, AP, AS, CN, FM, GU, HI, MH, MP, PR, PW, VI
See all Burpee plant shipping restrictions for your state

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Introduction to Perennials
Introduction to Perennials
Perennials return year after year blooming on their own. Watch this introduction and discover how easy and rewarding growing perennials can be.
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Perennials Tour #1
Perennials Tour #1
Take a garden tour and see favorite perennial plants in a garden setting. In this video- Shasta Daisy, Ornamental Grass, Butterfly Bush, Echinacea and Hydrangea.
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Lobelia: Indoor Sow or Potted Perennial Plant

How to Sow and Plant Lobelia Perennials

Sowing Lobelia Seed Indoors:

  • Sow indoors seeds 8-12 weeks before the last frost
  • Sow thinly and just press into seed-starting formula
  • Keep the soil moist at 65-75 degrees F
  • Seedlings emerge in about 20 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • If you are growing lobelia in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 2 pairs of true leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
  • Before planting lobelia in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning.  This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Planting Lobelia in the Garden:

  • Select a location with well-drained, rich, moist soil in partial shade to full sun. If in full sun, make sure plants get plenty of water.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 6-12 inches removing any debris, and lightly raking as level as possible.
  • The addition of organic matter (leaf mold, compost, well-rotted manure) benefits all gardens and is essential in recently constructed neighborhoods.
  • Plant on a cloudy day or in late afternoon to reduce transplant shock.
  • Dig a hole for each plant, approximately 6-8 inches apart large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
  • Unpot the plant and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root growth.
  • Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
  • Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.

How to Grow Lobelia Plants

  • Keep weeds under control during the lobelia growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their germination.
  • Mulches can also be used to help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For perennials, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time.  Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
  • Growing lobelia plantsCareful watering is essential in getting lobelia perennials off to a good start. Water thoroughly at least once a week to help new roots grow down deeply. Soil should be damp at about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can check this by sticking your finger in the soil. Water early in the morning to give all leaves enough time to dry. One inch of rain or watering per week is recommended for most perennial plants. You can check to see if you need to add water by using a rain gauge.
  • Until the plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Good air movement is also important.
  • After new growth appears, a light fertilizer may be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the plant crown and foliage to avoid burn injury. Use low rates of a slow release fertilizer, as higher rates may encourage root rots.
  • Deadhead to encourage repeat blooming.
  • Pinch plants if you prefer bushier growth.
  • Do not cut back in fall, cut back in spring.
  • Divide every 2-3 years.

Lobelia Varieties Available at Burpee Seeds

Lobelia Growing Tips

  • Perennial lobelias are useful for difficult, wet locations. They are attractive in the middle or back of the border, and naturalize well in woodlands and along stream banks. They are very effective massed in the landscape.
  • Lobelias make great cutting flowers as well. Cut when flowers are 1/3 open.

Perennial Growing Tips

Full Sun
24-32 inches
10-14 inches
Bloom Season
Resistant To
Deer, Rabbit, Wet Soil
Ornamental Use
Borders, Cut Flowers
Planting Time
Fall, Spring
Life Cycle
Lobelia, Vulcan Red is rated 2.4 out of 5 by 9.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful plant Bought 3 of them this spring. They arrived as small plants about 2 inches. Had to keep them in the pots for a few weeks til i could prepare the area and didn't see much growth. But after planting in the bed they took off. Each has a couple of stalks, but they will fill out more next year when they have a full season. They are simply gorgeous. Definitely will order more next spring.
Date published: 2019-07-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A little disappointed. Planted 4 of these in the spring. Very small when they arrived (about 1/2 inch high), but appeared healthy. So far 2 of them are about 3 inches and the other 2 are about 4 inches high. I was expecting faster growth. They are nowhere near blooming size. Hmm...maybe better luck next season.
Date published: 2018-06-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Upset I bought these and planted a few weeks ago, however nothing has come up. I was so excited to try these in big planters for our backyard. Normally I have a decent green thumb. Very disappointed in these
Date published: 2018-04-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Deos not even germinate Not a good choice . Didnt even germinate even though i bough two packages and not one single seed came out,
Date published: 2018-03-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from 100% Failure I ordered and received my packet of Lobelia, Vulcan Red Cardinal Flower seed in the same shipment as a packet of Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed seed. There were 20 of the Lobelia seeds in the vial in the packet and 40 of the Asclepias seeds in their packet.All of the seeds were planted in a 70 cell grow pack at the same time in the same growth medium according to the instructions on the specific packets. Of the 40 aclepias seeds planted, 37 germinated and 35 were eventually transplanted and are doing well. Of the 20 Lobelia seeds planted 0 germinated. This was particularly distressing as it was the Cardinal flowers in which I was most interested. I live on a pond along which Cardinal Flowers formerly grew. It was my plan and hope to reestablish the Cardinal Flowers where they previously were established. I already have a number of Butterfly Weed, (Not Butterfly Bush which is Not native to Delaware and is invasive), plants and collect seed from them which I grow more plants as pollinator forage. I ordered the Asclepias seed primarily to fill out my order to qualify to receive your "Pollinator Seed" packet. So all in all, although I have had good results with Burpee in the past, the Lobelia, Vulcan Red was as epic fail, and I have lost a season in my plan to re establish this plant.
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bold Exciting Humingbird Magnet We have several different Cardinal Flowers. This is one of my most favorite. Stands upright without leaning. Flowers are a little darker red than some others. Shade of burgundy on leaves much darker. The leaves are shaped differently and for me lay more hortizontal. The overall look is quite stunning . Makes am amazing display ... other worldly ... I agree Vulcan!
Date published: 2017-01-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Seeds didn't germinate I was very disappointed that I couldn't get the seeds to germinate. Looks like a beautiful plant
Date published: 2016-09-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from About 1/3 of the plants look great year 1 We have one dog who knocks over the plants. The ones he didn't get look great. I would advise not to plant in partial shade as those plants did not grow as well as full sun. I would post pictures but apparently they are too large to post. The contrast of the foliage is nice against a green back drop (shrub). We have seen a couple of humming birds come to the plants.
Date published: 2016-09-17
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