Lobelia siphilitica (Blue Lobelia)
(Cardinal Flower or Indian Pink)
(Often used in hanging baskets)
The variety of Lobelia known
as Indian tobacco has been used by herbalists
as a herbal remedy for troublesome respiratory conditions such as bronchitis,
asthma and pneumonia and to provide relief from coughs dating back for
Native Americans have traditionally used lobelia as a treatment for muscle and respiratory and muscle disorders, and also as a purgative to remove toxins.
Lobelia is a genus of plant originally from South and Central America with 360–400 species.
The Lobelia of gardens is a perennial of spreading habit in its native country, the colour of flowers varying from blue to pink or white.
There are alos the popular annual varieties of Lobelia that are so often seen in hanging baskets.
The compact varieties of Lobelia grow from 4 - 6 inches high and many shades of colour of Lobelia flowers come true from seed, thus avoiding the necessity of raising from cuttings, including white, pale blue, mid-blue, dark blue, purple, and crimson.
There are also spreading and trailing varieties of Lobelia in similar colours.
As long as lobelias have sufficient moisture, they will remain in flower the whole summer through and are therefore invaluable for bedding.
A bed with all the colours available mixed together makes a striking sight.
Lobelia are also useful as bedding plants and ground cover with taller plants of contrasting colours planted among them, in patches in the rock garden, in window boxes, tubs, hanging baskets and in pots in the cool greenhouse.
Trailing lobelia are particularly attractive grown in hanging baskets.
As lobelia seed is so small, care must be taken in sowing. To ensure
against sowing too thickly, a good way is to
measure out a small amount of seed according to the number of plants required, allowing a margin for accidents of course, and mix with sand before sowing.
Seed should be sown in February or early March in heat and pricked out as soon as large enough, planting in the open towards the end of May and early June.
The growth of Lobelia seedlings is slow, WAtch the seedlings carefully in the early stages as they are prone to damping off.
Lobelias do best in a rich, well-cultivated soil which does not dry out.
The plants thrive in full sun or in partial shade.
When grown in pots, Lobelia plants must never be allowed to become dry and when the plants come into flower, regular weekly doses of a good general fertilizer are beneficial.
Lobelia is also known by the names Asthma Weed, Pukeweed, Indian Tobacco and Vomitwort.
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How to grow Lobelia - a favourite flower for hanging baskets and tubs. Expert advice on growing lobelia plants plant from seed or young plants. Trailing Lobelia and bush varieties