Something supposed to be just a walk in the woods, it has turn out of the blue in yet another collection. Lobelia siphilitica, the Great Blue Lobelia was flowering at the edge of the forest and a few plants growing in full sun had already mature capsules. This is a great North American Lobelia for the garden that usually grows in part shade; it will tolerate full sun if it has enough moisture. It will self-seed when moist and happy, which I really like in this case.
It grows tall to 1 m in the shade but remains shorter when growing in full sun. In late summer the large bright, blue flowers (rarely white) disposed in dense inflorescences along the stems are attracting lots of pollinators. Bumblebees are really in love with it!
So, here it is, a hardy, beautiful blue-flower plant for the woodland, with a desirable late summer bloom but still not very often seen in the gardens. Would it be more successful if called – Chinese Blue Lobelia? (just a thought)…
The Native Americans use it as a cure for syphilis, hence the not so great name ‘siphilitica’; it didn’t prove to have the implied properties but it did end up to be indeed a Great Blue Lobelia for the garden!