AVAILABLE SPRING 2020. A Chilean native, Lobelia Tupa is quite unlike any other lobelia you will have seen, big and rather exotic in appearance with very large pale green lanceolate leaves and, from late summer, tall spikes of dark crimson tubular flowers. Spectacular. Sometimes known as Devil's Tobacco - see below for more on that. Sun or semi-shade. Moist soil. To 6 feet. 2 litre pot.
We have been growing the wonderful Lobelia Tupa for a number of years now: it has a reputation of being on the tender side , but we have never suffered losses even in the hardest of winters. Mind you, the RHS rates it as H4, ie -10C to -5C, which means most of the UK.
The common name of Devil’s Tobacco refers to the former use of the sap as a hallucinogen. The genus name Lobelia honors Matthias de l'Obel, a 16th to 17th century Flemish-born physician and botanist, who spent the latter part of his life in England as botanist and physician to KIng James I. His other claim to fame is as co-author of the botanical book Stirpium Adversaria Nova which broke new ground in its time.
It is worth remembering that Lobelia Tupa is a big plant and will require some space, given that it can reach six feet in height and half that in width, so don’t position it where it might overwhelm other plants, but provide it with a spot where it can be given free reign and you can enjoy it in all its magnificence. Care-wise, we find that providing a Chelsea chop in May can keep it more compact and avoid any flopping. Other than that, cutting back old foliage in early winter or spring is about the height of your responsibilities.
Lobelia Tupa is a tall hardy perennial plant with reddish stems and spikes of tubular red flowers in late summer and autumn suitable for sun or semi-shade.
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