Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: 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)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

21 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens

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:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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

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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive edgeplot 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.

Positive anelson77 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.

Positive little1 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.



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
Ridgefield, Washington
Seattle, Washington (3 reports)

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