Lobelia is a large genus of almost 400 species of annuals, perennials, aquatics, and shrubs from around the globe, but especially the Americas. There is great variability within the genus, but all species have 2-lipped, tubular flowers, often very brightly colored. Grow perennials in a border or at waterside, annuals as edging or in containers, and aquatics in a wildlife pond.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsBrightly colored 2-lipped flowers. Most are native to the Americas. Plants often attract hummingbirds. The milky sap may cause skin irritation.
CareLobelia need consistently moist, deep, fertile soil in full sun or partial shade.
PropagationSow seed of annuals in late winter at 55° to 64°F, and perennials at the same temperature as soon as seed is ripe. Divide perennials in spring. L. cardinalis can be propagated from bud cuttings in mid-summer.
ProblemsRust, smut, leaf spots, slugs.