Lobelia is a class of flowering plants consisting of over 200 species worldwide. Two of the most well known are the wild flower Lobelia infanta, also called Indian tobacco, and the dwarf lobelia (Lobelia erinus), an ornamental plant.
Typically, lobelia can produce flowers for most of the summer and into the fall. Lobelia erinis can remain in bloom from May until the first frost. Lobelia infanta can bloom from midsummer to October.
Lobelias can grow successfully in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 9, depending on the species. Watch for wilting flowers and lack of new blooms if you live in a region with average temperatures above 55 to 65 Fahrenheit. Lobelia flowers react negatively to hot weather, in which new growth will shut down. However, they will typically start blooming again after the weather cools.
Some Native American tribes smoked the Lobelia infanta plant to aid in respiratory problems. The Europeans who noticed this started calling the plant Indian tobacco. Current research has not conclusively shown whether the plant is effective for this purpose.
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