Lobelia cardinalis ‘Mini’

Posted by on Dec 12, 2009 in All Categories, Plant Profiles | 0 comments

Lobelia cardinalis ‘Mini’

With all this hype for aquascaping and Nature Aquariums, I still feel very much attracted to the old school style of the Dutch Aquarium. (- Which doesn’t mean I don’t like Nature Aquariums – quite to the contrary). One of the typical features of the Dutch Aquarium is the so-called “Street”. (BTW when I say “typical” I don’t mean “must have”. You can live without it. No need to develop a guilty conscience if your Dutch aquascape doesn’t sport one of those…)

For those of you who don’t know what a Street is, I recommend looking at the winning tanks at the Nederlandse Bond Aqua Terra. (This is a framed site so I can’t post a direct link. Make sure you click on “KEURINGEN” and then go to “Gezelschapsaquaria”). The 2009 entries were a bit disappointing but check out those of the past 5 years and you’ll find some great examples.

There are several popular species of plants used for this feature. Lobelia cardinalis is by far the most popular as it is easy to keep, can be trimmed indefinitely and will last forever. Moreover, this plant will form a lovely, smooth and leafy surface if maintained properly and is thus an ideal plant for the Dutch Street.

If you think you can just go out and buy just any old Lobelia cardinalis, stop right there. You may be in for a surpise. You may buy the wrong L. cardinalis. It is a little known fact that this species exists in two varieties. Both are lovely plants but only one lends itself to being used as  a Dutch Street. If you want to build a street, get L. cardinalis ’Mini’, sometimes known as L. cardinalis‘Round Leaf’. This variety will stay much smaller and finer than the species and its leaves really are round and small. In Holland, the round-leaved variety is about the only variety used for this feature.

Here is a direct comparison of the two:

Lobelia cardinalis "Mini"

Lobelia cardinalis "Mini"

It has to be said that it takes a lot of experience to get the Lobelia street to look just like this but isn’t it wonderful…? This street is relatively low and does not climb up much towards the back (which is something that I like :) )

Compare this to the species:

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia cardinalis

Again, this is a very lush planting, showing off the Lobelia at its best but the street character is probably achieved best in the top example.

Anyway… should you have trouble choosing the right variety, now you know what each one does.


Copyright of images : Stephan Mönninghoff

Highslide for Wordpress Plugin