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Blue lobelia

Lobelia siphilitica

Lobelia siphilitica

Regular price $6.48 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.48 USD
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Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade

Soil moisture: Medium to wet

Height: 2-3'

Spread: 1-1.5'

Flowering period: August

Blue lobelia’s formally elegant blooms provide a charming stage for their rough-and-ready pollinator, the bumble bee. Each flower possesses a central cavity into which bees crawl when seeking nectar. It is a delight indeed to watch the bumble bees work, rummaging for nectar in spaces that seem much too dainty for them, their hind portions protruding conspicuously from the flower openings. Although bumblebees are the primary pollinators of blue lobelia, the plant attracts a variety of bees of varying sizes, as well as butterflies.

Adapted to both full sun and partial shade, blue lobelia grows well in soils of wet to moderate moisture, especially in riparian areas. As a point of interest regarding local adaptation, some research suggests that naturally occurring blue lobelia populations possess optimized interactions with co-occurring fungal communities. These interactions enhance the plant’s uptake of phosphorus, an important nutrient for growth and metabolism.

In the garden, blue lobelia may be expected to attain a height of 1-4’ and to bloom for approximately 2 months in the latter part of summer. To keep this short-lived perennial coming back year after year, maintain some bare soil around the plant where it can deposit its seeds.

References: 1,2,3,4,5,6.

Photos by Julie Slater.

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