Plant types and subtypes: Annuals
Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade
Water Use: low, medium
Soil Moisture: dry, moist
Soil Description: average, poor, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock
Bloom Time: July, August, September, October
Bloom Color: purple, blue
Leaf Color: green
Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, attracts butterflies, colonizing, deer resistant, fall interest, naturalizing, poisonous, rock garden plant
Pricing & Availability
Lobelia inflataAlso known as:
Lobelia inflata is a late season blooming annual that grows to a height of 3'. The stems are rigid, angular, and often unbranched, and conspicuously hairy on the lower part of the plant. The leaves are obong to ovate, with some hair on their undersides. Small, attractive, pale blue to violet flowers emerge on the upper half of the stems and all along the branchelets. It produces rounded seed pods that are unusually large in relation to the size of the flower, hence the epithet 'inflata'.
Indian tobacco is easy to grow under moist to dry conditions, and in average to poor, even rocky soil. It can tolerate full sun if the soil is consistently moist while the plants establish, after which the developed tap root allows the plants to be carefree. Although few flowers are open at the same time on any individual stem, the bloom period is extensive, lasting 2 to 3 months from mid-summer to mid-fall. zones 3-8
Although this species can be propagated by cuttings taken before the flowering racemes develop, as an annual, it is easiest to propagate by sowing freshly collected seeds in fall, or allowing the plants to self-seed and establish a permanent presence in the garden.
Though Lobelia inflata has been associated with many medicinal applications, smoking it is not one of them and Indian tobacco should be considered a misnomer. Although it is a medicinal plant, all parts of the plant should be considered toxic, however this also makes it highly deer resistant.
Native Range & Classification
Recorded County Distribution: USDA data
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV