With the weather warming up and the longer daylight hours, it’s hard not to start planning our flower beds and planters for the upcoming season. For me, one of the staples for planters and hanging flower pots is the Lobelia.
A pretty, miniature flower that grows to abundance, overflowing its container to tumble down the sides. It adds fullness and colour to any garden.
It is easy to grow. In our climate, it’s an annual plant easily found in greenhouses every spring. Lobelia grows in sunny and part shady environments. Lobelia thrives in well drained soil and can be propagated with seeds. It comes in a wide range of colours and flowers all summer long.
There are about 400 species of Lobelia, most of which reside in primarily tropical to warm regions in the world. However, there are some that do well in cooler climates as well.
Native Americans used Lobelia to treat respiratory disorders, muscle disorders and as a purgative. It’s been used to treat asthma and even as a cure for syphilis. Modern day studies of Lobelia show it may be beneficial in treating nicotine and methamphetamine dependency. In China, Lobelia chinensis is used as one of the fifty fundamental herbs in Chinese medicine.
There is some disagreement amongst botanists regarding the actual genus; some place it in the Lobeliaceae family whilst others place it in the Lobeliaideae family. Lobelia is also called Asthma Weed, Indian Tobacco, Pukeweed and Vomitwort- horrible names for such a pretty plant!
It may have other uses, but to me it will always be the pretty miniature flowers that ensure my hanging pots and planters are bountiful and cascading in a rainbow of colour all summer long.