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Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower

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Lobelia cardinalis

A native perennial called cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis typically grows in moist locations near streams, sloughs, springs, swamps, and low-wooded areas. A short-lived, clump-forming perennial with large, red flowers on unbranched, alternate-leafed stalks reaching 2-3 feet high. Two-lipped tubular flowers have three lobes on the lower lip and two lobes on the upper lip. Dark green, lance-shaped leaves with fine teeth. It blooms late in the summer. Butterflies and hummingbirds love flowers, but cardinals don't. There are also white and rose-colored versions.

Easily grown in full sun to part shade, they prefer rich, medium-to-wet soils. Adaptable to brief flooding, but requires constant moisture. It is important to keep the ground moist at all times. It tolerates full sun in northern climates, but prefers part afternoon shade in hot climates of the lower Midwest and South. As well as retaining moisture, mulch will help keep the soil cool.

Nectar Source Plant: Cloudless Giant Sulphur (Phoebis sennae), Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)


Height: 2’-4’
Spread: 1’-2’
Bloom: July-September
Light: Part Shade, Full Shade
Water: Medium, Wet
Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Origin: North America
Deer Resistant: Yes

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