Size: 10 – 30cm in height; 7 – 15cm in width
Position and Usage: Midground to background
Growth rate: Slow to moderate
Lighting: 2/5 – 5/5
Water Conditions: 15 – 26°C
CO2: Recommended but not required
Known as the ‘Cardinal Flower’, Lobelia cardinalis is an unusual stem plant native to North America. Seen often in Dutch-style aquascaping, this adaptable plant is easily grouped and pruned into neat rows of variable height. In an open aquarium, it will extend beyond the water’s surface attractively: submersed leaves will be light-green in colour whereas emersed leaves will take on darker hues, and true to its name, emersed plants may bear a beautiful spike of scarlet flowers. Submersed leaves may also sport cardinal-coloured undersides.
L. cardinalis is well-suited to beginners and may be grown in low-tech tanks. Although it will tolerate low-intensity lighting, high-intensity lighting will promote lush, compact growth. Likewise, although CO2 supplementation and water column fertilization are not required, they will encourage vigorous growth. Higher nitrate (10-20ppm), phosphate (1-2ppm), and micronutrient dosing will yield the best results. Healthy plants will likely produce numerous side shoots as well as nodal roots, which can be carefully pruned away. Plant tops may be clipped and re-planted to propagate.