Ohio NativesPlantsJune 1, 2023by Colin0Great Blue Lobelia


Great Blue Lobelia, scientifically known as Lobelia siphilitica, is a stunning native perennial that adds a touch of elegance and vibrancy to gardens and landscapes. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the history, growing instructions, maintenance tips, and other essential aspects of Great Blue Lobelia.

History and Significance

Great Blue Lobelia has a rich history and cultural significance. It has long been used in traditional medicine by Native American tribes for its potential healing properties. The plant’s striking blue flowers and upright growth habit make it a popular choice among gardeners looking to add color and height to their landscapes.

Growing Great Blue Lobelia

Here are some essential guidelines for successfully growing Great Blue Lobelia:

  1. Location: Great Blue Lobelia thrives in partial shade to full sun, although it prefers partial shade in hotter regions. It can tolerate a wide range of soil types but prefers moist, well-drained soil. Choose a location with soil that retains moisture but is not overly waterlogged.
  2. Planting: Start Great Blue Lobelia from nursery-bought plants or sow seeds directly in the garden. Plant the young plants or seeds in spring or fall, spacing them about 12 to 18 inches apart to allow for their growth. Ensure they receive adequate sunlight and have enough space to spread.
  3. Watering: Great Blue Lobelia requires consistent moisture, especially during dry periods. Water the plants regularly to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Mulching around the plants helps retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
  4. Maintenance: Great Blue Lobelia is relatively low-maintenance. It forms clumps and spreads slowly through rhizomes. Remove any faded flowers or dead foliage to maintain the plant’s appearance. Dividing the clumps every few years can help control its spread and rejuvenate the plant.
  5. Propagation: Great Blue Lobelia can be propagated through division or by collecting and planting seeds. Divide the clumps in early spring or fall by carefully separating the roots and replanting them. Collect seeds from the dried seed pods and sow them directly in the garden or save them for future planting.

Uses and Benefits

  1. Ornamental Beauty: Great Blue Lobelia is renowned for its stunning blue flowers, which attract attention and add a splash of color to gardens, borders, and wetland areas. Its upright growth habit makes it an excellent choice for creating vertical interest.
  2. Pollinator Magnet: Great Blue Lobelia is a favorite among bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, serving as a valuable nectar source. By planting this flower, you can attract and support pollinators, contributing to the health and balance of your local ecosystem.

Interesting Facts

  • Great Blue Lobelia gets its scientific name, Lobelia siphilitica, from the belief that it had medicinal properties to treat syphilis. However, it is important to note that scientific evidence does not support this claim.
  • The flowers of Great Blue Lobelia can range in color from deep blue to violet-blue, creating a captivating display of shades in the garden.
  • In its natural habitat, Great Blue Lobelia is often found near wetlands, stream banks, and other moist areas. It can adapt to garden settings but appreciates consistent moisture.

Great Blue Lobelia is a captivating native perennial that offers elegant beauty, cultural significance, and ecological benefits. By incorporating this plant into your Ohio landscape, you can enjoy its striking blue blooms, attract pollinators, and enhance the natural charm of your garden.

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