In the dog days of August, just when the border is not looking so lively, this genus of colorful, stately selections rejuvenates the garden with spectacular leafy flowering spires, attracting crowds of eager hummingbirds. Perfect in meadow plantings, these sturdy herbaceous perennials appreciate a well drained site, a light winter mulching, rich, moist soils and partial shade in warm climates, except for Lobelia tupa and Lobelia laxiflora, which like it hot and on the dry side.
The lushly tropical color scheme of this somewhat tender Chilean native is alluring. Cloaked in broad and pointed, pale green, felted foliage, each soaring, purple-tinged stem is crowned with a large, tapering raceme of warm, brick-red blossoms. From the swollen base of each flower, a clawlike lower lip curls under and a tuft of gray stamens extends upward.
A perennial of nearly monumental stature, associate Lobelia tupa with Melianthus, Muhlenbergia and Morina longifolia for a dynamic melange of color and shape in the border.
Size: 6' 0" – 8' 0" high x 3' 0" – 4' 0" wide.
Hardy to zone 8.
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