With us you can usually find annual varieties of the bellflower family from Africa. Lobelia originally come from South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho, which is why they prefer a sunny location in our latitudes. As a ground cover and in rock gardens, the plant is an ideal enrichment for biodiversity. Faithful to men lends itself very well to the design of an insect-friendly garden, because it attracts butterflies and is popular with bees. The colorful blooms are pleasing to the eye and attract nectar-seeking insects to the local summer meadow.
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Propagation is usually easy with seeds. These are best preferred indoors at constant temperatures of at least 15 degrees (ideally 16-18 degrees).
- Sow from January in the greenhouse, seed tray or under glass
- constant temperature and light humidity are important
- Cover the seeds very lightly with soil!
- Lobelia are light germs!
- Prick out small plants so that individual, strong plants emerge
- Leave pots in the house until mid-April
- then only outdoors during the day, possibly in the cold frame
- Plants are sensitive to frost, so do not plant them out until mid-May
- plant in groups so that the flowers are close together
Direct sowing outside in the bed or tub can be carried out from an outside temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. However, pre-breeding is more promising.
The male loyal to us, which is customary in the trade, is usually between 10 and 20 centimeters high with a width of 10 to 30 centimeters per plant. They have delicate lip-flowers arranged in clusters and simple deciduous leaves. Faithful to men is not hardy. The lobelia grow quickly and several plants together can create the impression of a carpet of flowers, which is equally decorative in the bed and in the tub. However, there are numerous varieties that differ from one another in small aspects and, above all, in color.
The most common male faithful is still in all shades of blue, but there are now also red, white and pink varieties. Depending on the variety, the plants have a lower and more compact growth, for example the Compacta variety; or grow hanging over pots and hanging baskets, such as the Pendula variety. The hanging lobelia develops long, blooming shoots that create a particularly attractive effect in window boxes, planters and hanging baskets.
In terms of color, Männertreu offers a whole range, especially the Kaiser Wilhelm variety impresses with its deep cornflower blue. The varieties Kristallpalast and Schwabenmädchen are dark blue, the latter has a white eye. The Cambridge Blue has bright, light blue flowers and the Saphir variety is purple with a white eye. Snowball and Alba are both pure white. Pendula is available with blue, red, white or pink flowers. This list is only an excerpt and is in no way complete. There really is a lot to choose from!
Annual plants generally do not need to be repotted. If the location is to be changed in the middle of summer, the following applies:
- Repot in the morning or in the evening if there is no direct sunlight
- Move the plant with the root ball and soil
- Water generously at your new location
Loyal to men requires moderate care. However, normal balcony potting soil is sufficient to thrive in the planter. The soil used should be fresh, permeable to water and not dried out. Faithful to men, regular watering and fertilization are required, but waterlogging must be prevented. A drainage layer can be used for this in flower boxes and planters. It is also worth covering the hole in the bottom of the flower pot with a larger pebble or a piece of pottery so that excess water can run off unhindered. In the garden bed, the soil should be sandy-loamy to sandy-clay. A cut at the end of July frees the plant from withered flowers and provides new shoots that can bloom vigorously into autumn.
In order for men to bloom profusely, the plant needs:
- lots of sun, light and warmth
- sunny to partially shaded locations
- as soon as it is too dark, true to men, the plants wither
- Place as sheltered from the wind as possible, as there is a risk of frostbite in a frosty wind
- Various possible uses: in garden beds, as path delimitation, in rock gardens, as a container plant, in window boxes and hanging baskets
Lobelia are particularly well tolerated with geraniums and petunias. The plants have very similar requirements in terms of location and care, which makes gardening easier. This trio also complements each other optically.
Other good plant neighbors are fire sage (Salvia splendens), marigold (Tagetes), Carpathian bellflower (Campanula carpatica, also in the White Clips variety), golden baskets (Chrysogonum) and sun rose (Helianthemum).
For a visually appealing garden or balcony design, it is advisable to combine plants with different heights. In terms of color, either a color family (blue – purple) or complementary colors (blue – yellow) can be planted together. If you like it colorful, you can bring a nice contrast to the blue men’s faithfulness in the picture with red flowers.
Faithful to men is small in size and is therefore often planted with other plants, as a kind of gap filler. This works well as long as the loyal man gets enough light. Man-true can also be used as underplanting in large pots, provided that the other plants really let enough sun through.
- Regular watering is important with the summer flower
- A lot of water is required for lasting bloom
- best to water in the morning
- on hot days water again in the late afternoon
- Avoid waterlogging
Faithful to men, it impresses with its fine, yet intensely colored flowers. To ensure that the bright color is retained for several months, it is worthwhile to use a fertilizer containing phosphorus and nitrogen every one to two weeks during the growing season. A liquid fertilizer can easily be added via the watering can. If you don’t want to use artificial fertilizers, you can use horn meal. It consists of horn and hoof material and is therefore an organic, renewable raw material. Horn meal is also characterized by its good soil compatibility, the slow interaction with the soil leads to a natural long-term effect. Both nitrogen and phosphorus ensure vigorous growth and abundant flowering.
- in order to maintain a permanent flower pile, cut back male-true after the first flowering (usually at the end of July)
- As long as the plants are bearing fruit from withered flowers, the bud formation will noticeably decrease!
- Cutting off the withered flowers, even cutting back to 2/3 the size of the plant possible
- so the plant sprouts stronger in summer and blooms until autumn
- The easiest way to cut is with a hand hedge trimmer
Faithful to men reacts sensitively to cool temperatures and dies completely at the latest when it starts to frost, so it is not winter hardy. The cultivated plant available from us Männertreu is usually annual and does not need to be overwintered. Nevertheless, there are voices that say the species is persistent and can be overwintered in a cold house. So it depends on a try. New plants can usually be bought fairly cheaply next spring or grown from seeds yourself.
Solitary shrubs from the lobelia family such as Lobelia cardinalis and Queen Victoria can only be overwintered with plenty of cover in wine-growing areas. These perennials also belong to the lobelia, but they are characterized by a vigorous growth up to over a meter in height and are among the perennial plants of this genus. Alternatively, perennial lobelia can also be planted in large pots. Then the bucket has to be brought in before the temperature reaches 0 degrees Celsius. Hibernation works at temperatures of 5 to 10 degrees. The plant should continue to be watered at regular intervals, but with less water. After the rest period and as soon as there is no more risk of frost, the container plant can be moved outside again.
Since Männertreu is sold as an annual plant through the trade, propagating your own plants is hardly an option. Most of the time you enjoy the extravagant flowers and do not want to gain seeds yourself. However, Männertreu can be easily propagated through sowing, but it is better to buy the seeds from a specialist gardener. There are also pre-grown plants there in spring. Direct sowing outside can begin as soon as temperatures are around 15 degrees Celsius. The pre-cultivation in the house can be done from January in a greenhouse or a covered seed tray at temperatures of at least 15 and a maximum of 18 degrees. Do not cover the seeds with soil, because lobelia need light to germinate. Small plants are pricked out and only planted outside from mid-May.
- Prefer plants at home or buy them in the garden
- as soon as there is no more threat of frost put in the ground
- regularly after the ice saints in mid-May
- Planting small plants in clusters ensures a closed flower cover
- Direct sowing of the seeds can take place as soon as the temperatures move around 15 degrees
- Planting of preferred plants is more promising
Diseases and pests
Loyal to Men is known neither for severe pest infestation nor for common diseases. The soil around the plants should still be cleaned from time to time so that neither mushrooms nor snails get out of hand. If men develop spotty leaves, this can indicate fungal infestation (rounded spots) or a bacterial disease (more angular, yellow-rimmed spots). In any case, the affected parts of the plant must be removed.
It is especially important for parents of young children and pet owners to note that loyal men are poisonous. For this reason, plants, for example on the balcony, should be kept out of reach of cats and children and other pets should be supervised when they go out into the garden. In order to still be able to enjoy the splendor of the flowers from Männertreu, hanging variants in a hanging basket that are out of reach are suitable in such cases. For butterflies, bees, bumblebees and other insects, the nectar from Männertreu is a welcome food and not poisonous. They like to come to the pollen harvest and keep the garden moving.