Nodding Onion Gardens

Native Plant Nursery

Where Wildflowers Grow

Columbia Station, Ohio, USA


 Lobelia siphilitica - Great Blue Lobelia

Ohio Native Plant - Natural Range

Lobelia siphilitica 

The United State Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources has a wonderful map showing the natural range of the Great Blue Lobelia

Native Plant of the Year - LEAP (Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Biodiversity) - Native Plant of the Year 2014 -
 Lobelia siphilitica
Great Blue Lobelia - Roger Dahlin
Bee on Lobelia
Bee visiting Lobelia siphilitica

Wildlife Significance

Great Blue Lobelia
Pollen - Bumble bees, the Halictidae bee family collects pollen but are non pollinating

Nectar -
sometimes Humming Birds and butterflies.

- This plant is not a favorite of deer and small mammals as it contains the chemicals lobeline and lobelanine. Ingesting the leaves of this plant will create symptoms similar to nicotine poising.

For more detailed information visit the Illinois Wildflower website.
blue lobelia
Close up of Great Blue Lobelia

Historically Speaking -

Great Blue Lobelia -
Is a cousin to Cardinal Flower and is sometimes referred to as the Blue Cardinal Flower
During the 1700's both in Europe and America it was considered to be a cure for Syphilis and its Latin name remain.

 Great Blue Lobelia - Lobelia siphilitica
Lobelia siphilitica - Roger Dahlin

Cultivation Information

Lobelia siphilitica 

Prounced - low - BeaL - ee -AH

Height -
2 to 3 ft
Blooms - July - October
Color -
Zone -
3 to 9
Sun - Light shade, sun
Soil - Moist to wet

Family - Campanulaceae
Our Research - Roger Dahlin - Baldwinsville, NY
Great Blue Lobelia [Blue Cardinal  Flower]  Started from on November 16, 2011 shows that Nodding Onion Garden's seeds are fertile.

Most interesting point . As you know most sources, such as the Prairie Moon Nursery where you get some of your native plant seeds say these seeds need to be stratified. That is, exposed to a cold cycle like it would get in normal outdoor winter setting and should include light .
The book "Growing and Propagating Wildflowers' by William Cullina gives a different appraisal . Cullina says the Lobelia will behave like an aster without stratification but it must have light to propagate. This photo that shows the plant about an inch high supports his claim.

Propagation Notes- Great Blue Lobelia

Cold Storage 60 days - Small Zip lock plastic bag with a few table spoons of  moistened vermiculite

Seeds Planted - 2-9-2012

Sprouted - 2-18-2012 - Many!

Night Temperature - 61 - 63°F

Day Temperature - 64 - 65°F -Under florescent lights

Seed Provenance - Lobelia siphilitica -

Nodding Onion Gardens - 2012 - present. Prairie Moon Nursery, Winona, MN - 2010 - 2011