Lobelia cardinalis or cardinal flower is a perennial which typically grows in moist locations along streams, sloughs, springs, swamps, and in low wooded areas. This is a 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 24 to 36 inches (infrequently to 48 inches).
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 (up to 4 inches in length). The bloom period is July to September. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
White and rose colored forms are also available.
How To Make Your Lobelia Cardinalis, or Cardinal Flower Thrive
Cardinal flowers are easily grown in rich, humusy, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade; this plant needs constant moisture to thrive. Lobelia cardinalis will tolerate full sun in cool, northern climates, but otherwise this plant appreciates part shade.
General Lobelia Cardinalis, Or Cardinal Flower Information
Pests & Diseases
There are no serious diseases or insect problems; this is a very hearty plant.
You should divide clumps in spring as needed; it may self-seed in optimum growing conditions.
Cardinal Flowers are a wonderful late summer bloomer in your perennial border, wild garden, native plant garden, or your woodland garden. If you are trying to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden this is a very effective choice; it is also an excellent choice to use near ponds or streams.
- Family: Campanulaceae
- Common Name: Cardinal flower
- Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
- Hardiness Zones: Zones 3 to 9
- Height: 24 to 48 inches
- Width: 12 to 24 inches
- Bloom Time: July to September
- Bloom Color: Scarlet red, white, or possibly rose
- Sun: Full sun to part shade
- Water: Medium to wet (it does not tolerate wet feet in the winter)
- Maintenance: Low
- Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
- Attracts: Hummingbirds, butterflies
- Tolerate: Rabbits, deer, and wet soil
Google – Lobelia Cardinalis Photos
Flickr – Lobelia Cardinalis Photos