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About Lobelia
Lobelia is either an annual or perennial flowering plant. Originally native to southern Africa, lobelia comes in both trailing varieties that snake along the ground, and more compact, bedding types. The wild forms of lobelia have been specially bred for two hundred years to bloom more profusely than the original plants. Lobelia is most commonly grown in window boxes, planters and as a ground cover.

Lobelia thrive best in full sun in areas of moist soil where the summers are relatively cool. They will, however, grow well in hot areas if partial shade is provided. Hummingbirds are particularly fond of the fragrant blooms, which are from one-half to three-fourths of an inch in diameter. The blooms of lobelia range from deep purple to bright red to white and everything in between. The foliage is rich green or crimson.

Most of the varieties of lobelia seldom grow to more than six inches in height. Some varieties, however, can reach heights of from one to three feet. The bloom period of lobelia ranges from late spring into mid autumn. They require an average amount of water, and are able to adapt to a wide range of soil conditions. Propagation of lobelia is most successfully done by seeds that have been sown indoors for ten to twelve weeks before the last frost. The plants should then be transplanted into the garden once all danger of frost has past.

Early North American doctors used lobelia to treat coughs, as well as spasms in the lungs and elsewhere in the body. Lobelia is considered by some authorities to be a wonderful expectorant in bronchitis. The species lobelia siphilitica received its name from its use as a supposed cure for syphilis. Lobelia is considered poisonous in large doses, and should not be used as medicine without proper training and research.

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