Audubon® Great Blue Lobelia
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Most of our woodland wildflowers bloom in spring, taking advantage of the warmer temperatures and the sunlight shining through the bare branches of the trees. When summer comes, they go dormant and retreat underground. This means that shady native spaces are typically not very colorful when the weather gets hot. What a pleasure it is, then, to see Great Blue Lobelia blooming away in late summer! Its periwinkle-blue blossoms bring a feeling of freshness to the garden. They bring hummingbirds, too! The Ruby-throated wonders will be frequent visitors during this stellar Spirit’s long bloom time.
May Benefit & Attract: Hummingbirds
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-9
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Recommended by Our Growers
Great Blue Lobelia grows in wet but well-drained soil in open woods over much of the eastern U.S. It is most abundant in the Midwest, but its range extends west to Colorado, south to Louisiana, and east to Massachusetts. This humble wildflower has been hailed as a supposed cure to many diseases over the years, the most famous being syphilis. In the 1700s, European settlers learned of the Iroquois using the plant to treat syphilis. Intrigued, they sent it to Europe for study, though scientists could find no proof of its effectiveness. Nevertheless, it was given a botanical name that would forever allude to the story. Among botanists, Great Blue Lobelia is known as Lobelia siphilitica.
Besides Hummingbirds, Great Blue Lobelia also attracts bumblebees to pollinate its flowers. These and other long-tongued bees are able to reach into the deep flowers for the nectar. Butterflies enjoy the blossoms, too. Monarchs and Swallowtails are special fans.
How to Grow
Steady moisture with good drainage is key with Great Blue Lobelia. It does not take kindly to drying out. Mulch well, preferably with compost or leaf mold, to keep the roots cool and moist. Protection from the hot afternoon sun is also important, especially in warm climates. In cool northern regions, full sun may be an option. Great Blue Lobelia is not a long-lived Spirit, but plants reseed when happy, so provide the right conditions, and the planting will endure indefinitely. Cut plants back any time after they have cast their seed and before new growth resumes in the spring.
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