LOBELIA

LOBELIA

Lobelia is a genus of about 200 species native to Oceania, America, and South Africa that belongs to the Campanulaceae family. Lobelias are annual or perennial, herbaceous plants that do not tolerate the winter cold and are cultivated seasonally in Italy. They produce tubular flowers whose lower lips are longer than their upper lips. The leaves of some lobelia species were used by the American Indians as a tobacco substitute. The species most commonly cultivated in gardens are: Lobelia erinus, with light blue, blue, red, and white flowers; L. cardinalis, with red flowers; and L. fulgens, with red leaves and flowers. The plants form little, flowering shrubs 20-30 cm high, with branches that bend downward. These plants are useful for creating borders, vases, and flower boxes in shady positions. In fact, they grow well in the shade or in part-shade. They do not require particular soil conditions, but the soil must nevertheless be organic and always remain cool and moist, without waterlogging. For potting it is advisable to prepare a compost with 70% peat and of inert material that assures easy drainage of excess water. Blooming begins in June, late in the season, and continues up to October. These plants are generous and must be fed with a complex soluble (NPK) fertilizer, dissolved in water, to be distributed once a month through irrigation. Lobelias are very resistant to disease and do not need any particular treatment besides being careful to place them in a shady spot and avoid waterlogging.

pianta da fiore lobelia