My blue lobelia, Lobelia siphilicata, has always seemed a rather raggedy plant compared to the Lobelia cardinalis, or cardinal flower, which the hummingbirds love. By mid-summer the blue lobelia looks a bit dried up and not terribly attractive. Perhaps, I thought, it's less robust than the cardinal flower, which seems to handle drought pretty well for a water-loving plant.
While the cardinal flower happily seeds itself in throughout the yard, the blue lobelia has not reproduced at all...until this year. I was actually on the verge of pulling it out, when I discovered a flock of low growing, flowering new lobelias around the mother plant. Not only were they quite pretty, they also included some white flowers as well as the usual blue.
I realized that what I seeing must be the result of a mutation. Now I'm fascinated. What will happen next year? Will I have more white plants? And is the much shorter height also a mutation? I don't recall that in its first year of flowering the parent plant was short like these. For now, the blue lobelia stays!