Cardinal flower is very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, but not cardinals. With its brilliant red blossoms, Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis, is aptly named. It grows best in moist, even wet soil in light shade to full sun and will thrive along the margin of a garden pool. Once established, it usually will re-seed itself assuring future nectar for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Provides late summer bloom to the perennial border, wild garden, native plant garden or woodland garden.
Excellent for butterfly or bird (hummingbird) gardens. Also effective near ponds or streams. An individual stalk of Cardinal Flower continues to blossom for several weeks. By the time the flowers at the top of the stalk are open, the older flowers at the base have already set seed.
All of our woodland plants grow naturally on rich, moist forest floors and are perfectly suited for your garden. Add them to an existing wooded area or create your own woodland garden. Dappled shade and humus-rich soil provide perfect growing conditions.
Hardiness: Zones 4-9
Common: Cardinal Flower/Red Lobelia
Botanical: Lobelia cardinalis
Flower: Scarlet Red
Exposure: Light Shade to Full Sun
Pests: No serious disease or insect problems.
Notes: Abundant blazing red blooms on tall spikes that grow in marshes, stream banks and low woods. Much beloved of hummingbirds who graciously pollinate the flowers. Cardinal flower is a native perennial which typically grows in moist locations along streams, sloughs, springs, swamps and in low wooded areas. A somewhat short-lived, clump-forming perennial which features erect, terminal spikes (racemes) of large, cardinal red flowers on unbranched, alternate-leafed stalks rising typically to a height of 2-3' (infrequently to 4').
Tubular flowers are 2-lipped, with the three lobes of the lower lip appearing more prominent than the two lobes of the upper lip. Finely-toothed, lance-shaped, dark green leaves (to 4" long). Late summer bloom period. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds, but not cardinals.
Planting instructions: Easily grown in rich, humusy, medium wet to wet soils in light shade to full sun. Needs constant moisture. Will tolerate full sun in cool, northern climates, but otherwise appreciates part shade. Divide clumps in spring as needed. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions. Mulching helps to keep the roots moist. Be careful not to allow fallen leaves to smother next season's rosettes.
Dig a hole large enough to hold the roots. If any roots seem tightly bound, loosen before planting. Fill the hole with water and position the plant so the crown (where the roots meet the stem) is just slightly below the soil line. Fill the hole with soil and water again.