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Lobelia siphilitica

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium, high

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: rich, loam, clay, sand

Height: 2'-4'

Bloom Time: July, August, September

Bloom Color: blue

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts butterflies, attracts hummingbirds, clumping, cottage garden plant, deer resistant, naturalizing, pond margin plant, stream margin plant, swamp plant

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)
  • Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)
  • Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)
  • Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)
  • Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

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Description

Lobelia siphilitica

Also known as:

great blue lobelia

,

blue lobelia

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Lobelia siphilitica is a perennial wildflower with showy bright-blue flowers. It is an erect, typically unbranched plant that tops off at a height of 4' under ideal conditions. The tubular flowers develop from the leaf axils of the upper third of the stems, creating a dense blue spike. The leaves are alternate, and elliptical with serrated margins.

Cultivation

Lobelia siphilitica will adapt to full sun and open shade alike, in soil that is kept consistently moist. So long as the moisture requirement is met, it is very easy to grow and will thrive in both high quality, and degraded areas. It can spread from seed under ideal conditions, but is not an aggressive species. Because it is well behaved and very adaptable, it can be combined with a wide variety of wildflowers in perennial gardens and in wild, naturalized settings. It has a long blooming period that lasts about 2 months, and occurs from mid-summer to early fall. Zones 4-8

Propagation

Propagate by division of mature clumps in spring. Sow fresh seeds in fall. Stored seeds do not require cold stratification before sowing, though doing so can improve germination rates.

Additional Notes

Great blue lobelia is an excellent source for nectar and pollen, and will attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The botanical name siphilitica stems from an early belief that this plant could be used to cure syphilis. All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested in large quantities.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: MA
  • Exploitably Vulnerable: NY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Campanulales
Family Campanulaceae Bellflower family
Genus Lobelia lobelia
Species Lobelia siphilitica great blue lobelia