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Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal flower

Clump forming brilliant red spikes set against green and purple bronze colored foliage. Each individual spike of scarlet flowers open from bottom to top and stays in bloom for several weeks. A favorite of hummingbirds. Makes an excellent cut flower. A real show stopper!

PRICING
Lobelia cardinalis LP50 - 50 per flat $54.00
Lobelia cardinalis - 72 per flat $48.24
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Height

2-4 Feet

Spread

2 Feet

Spacing

12 Inches

Bloom Color

Red

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Cardinal flower Interesting Notes

It is hard to describe the intensity of a Cardinal Flower in bloom. It is as if the flowers catch sunlight inside some sort of crystal matrix and let it bounce around for awhile until it has been stripped of all but the deepest, purest red imaginable. Then and only then is the light released to burn crimson red into our corneas. I will never forget the first time I found one in the wild, just a single plant growing in a low area behind my house. I stood there stunned for about five minutes trying to fathom how such a magical thing had come there. I know now that the seed had probably been lying in the soil, dormant for years before being kicked up into the light by some worm or squirrel ( or maybe a curious child's foot?).

Lobelias are not true perennials, because the flowering stem and its associated roots die after setting seed. They are perennial in effect only because new offsets grow from the axils of the lowermost leaves and quickly put down their own abundant white roots. It is especially important, then, that these new offsets be coddled a little in the fall. William Cullina, Growing and Propagating Wildflowers

Lore: The root was part of a Native American love potion and the powder of the entire plant may have been used as sort of a magic power to dispel storms and was used in ceremonys.

Lobelia cardinalis Growing and Maintenance Tips

Needs constant moisture so mulching would be quite beneficial. Propagate by seed or cuttings. May self seed. Best used as a border, wild, hummingbird, butterfly and water gardens. Also to add color to woodland gardens.

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Butterflies
Butterflies
Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds
Full Sun
Full Sun
Part Sun
Part Sun
Summer
Summer
Drought Tolerant
Drought Tolerant
Wetlands
Wetlands
Cut Flower
Cut Flower
Moist
Moist

Additional Information

Growth Rate
Medium
Attributes
Border
Erosion Control
Pond Edge
Native to Northeast
Meadow
Wildflower Garden
Stream Edge
Bog
Native to US
Moist Shade
Soil Moisture Needs
Wet
Propagation Type
Open pollinated