Growing Lobelia

February 13, 2006
Botanical Name: Lobelia
Life Cycle: annual
Planting Time: spring or summer
Height: 3" to 9"
Exposure: full sun (cooler zones) or partial shade (warmer zones)
Soil: moist, well-drained soil with a neutral pH
Hardiness:dependent on variety
Bloom Time: summer
Flower: variety of colors
Foliage: green
Propagation: seeds
Suggested Use: beds, borders, edging, ground cover, fillers, planters and boxes
Growing Hints: Due to its seed to bloom time (about 2 months), lobelia is often sold as small seedlings already in bloom. These can be transplanted 4 to 6 inches apart after all danger of frost is past. Seeds can also be started indoors from 10 to 12 weeks before last frost date.

Seeds are small and should be broadcast on top of fine grade soil and left uncovered. Removing spent flower spikes will encourage plants to produce new growth.
Interesting Facts: Lobelia was first introduced in the wild form over 200 years ago from the Cape of Good Hope region in South Africa. Also known as Indian tobacco, it has historically been smoked as a treatment for respiratory ailments by Native Americans. In the 19th century, American physicians began to prescribe lobelia to induce vomiting in order to detoxify the body. This is how is it also earned the name "puke weed."
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