This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
There are now many varieties of Lobelia all more or less attractive, some for their neat habit of growth, others for their fine telling colours, while in many instances there is a pleasing combination of both, which makes the Lobelia a general favourite. The variety specially under our notice at present is Lobelia cardinalis, var. Victoria, a tall erect-growing variety of neat-branching habit, something in the style of a branched chandelier. It grows from 3 to 4 feet high, with large bright-scarlet blooms, which are produced in great profusion. The terminal shoot, blooming first, generally puts out a lateral shoot immediately under the bloom-spike, which is tied to the stake (of which we only use one) and is thus ready to bloom along with the branches. When in full bloom these, with their dark-crimson foliage and scarlet blooms are very telling subjects in a general collection of plants, judiciously arranged. They like a rich compost and occasional feeding with liquid manure. Their propagation is easily effected by off-sets, which they throw up in quantities, often carpeting the surface of the pot, and also by cuttings, which strike freely in a compost of equal parts, sand and leaf-mould, placed in heat and kept regularly moist.
We have tried them in the flower-garden, and for centre-pieces, cross-bars, and such like, and think they will soon out-rival the almost indispensable Irisine Lindenii and Dell's Beet - the former of which has been very patchy this season, and the latter, as far as we have seen, very coarse and badly coloured. J. Proctor.