Lobelia bequaertii is native the alpine zone of the Ruwenzori Mountains in Zaire and Uganda between 3000 and 3500 m, where the extreme climate is usually clear and cold in the mornings with intense sunshine, cloudy or foggy in the afternoons and clear and frosty at night.
Lobelia bequaertii forms a short-trunked, compact rosette of broad, stiff leaves with a reddish hue from a branching underground rhizome. When mature, which in its cold habitat can take decades, a rosette forms an impressive, large, terminal, conelike inflorescence with recurved bracts that is pollinated by birds.
Similar to many bromeliads, the leaf rosette holds a reservoir of water among the tightly fitted leaves, which is key to it survival in this unhospitable habitat. This reservoir freezes at night, a process that produces just enough warmth to keep the core of the plant alive until the morning sun thaws the ice.
In cultivation, the giant Lobelia are rare and will do best at high elevations in the tropics or in temperate, highly oceanic climates such as Ireland, New Zealand, southern Chile or the Northwestern U.S. Germination: Light germinator! Only sprinkle on the surface of the substrate + slightly press on. Substrate: Coir, pure sand or sowing mix + 2/3 sand or perlite. Keep bright and constantly moist but not wet.