Devil's Tobacco

Lobelia tupa

Family: Campanulaceae (kam-pan-yew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lobelia (low-BEE-lee-a) (Info)
Species: tupa (TOO-pa) (Info)


Alpines and Rock Gardens



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


Unknown - Tell us


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Clayton, California

Encinitas, California

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Portland, Oregon (2 reports)

Walterville, Oregon

Austin, Texas

King George, Virginia

Artondale, Washington

Ridgefield, Washington

Seattle, Washington (3 reports)

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 7, 2009, edgeplot from Seattle, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Dramatic hummingbird magnet from June through September. Looks spectacular in front of large bronze phormiums. I grow this in my South Seattle yard in poor, dry soil in full sun. Each year it comes back bigger and stronger and has self-sown a bit lately. My two three-year old plants survived the harsh winter of 2008-2009 just fine without any protection or mulch.


On May 3, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

I have this growing in poor, dry soil, full sun, by the front door. It looks spectacular from July through September and comes back stronger every year. Hummingbirds love it.


On Sep 8, 2004, little1 from Lebanon, PA wrote:

TUPA (Lobelia tupa), a tall, variable plant of the high Andes, is also called tabaco del diablo ("devil's tobacco"). In Chile, the Mapuche Indians smoke the dried leaves of this beautiful red-flowered plant for their narcotic effects. Whether they are truly hallucinogenic has not yet been established. They contain the alkaloid lobeline and several derivatives of it. The same alkaloid occurs in some North American species of Lobelia, especially L. inflata, known locally as Indian tobacco. It has been used medicinally and as a smoking deterrent. There are 300 species of Lobelia, mostly tropical and subtropical, and they belong to the bluebell family, Campanuloceae. Some are highly prized as garden ornamentals.

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