Lobelia cardinalis, Cardinal Flower

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic 

Native to a large portion of North America from eastern Canada into much of the United States, this lovely wetland wildflower shines with brilliant scarlet flowers, which are a favorite of hummingbirds.

Print Version:  Lobelia cardinalis, Cardinal Flower
Lobelia cardinalis, Cardinal Flower: Attributes: Height: 2–4 feet; Spread: 1–2 feet; Bloom Color: Red. Characteristics: Thick, rigid, and erect leafy stems in clumps; Dark green lance-shaped leaves; Showy red flowers, with 3 lower and 2 upper petals joined into a tube, bloom in 8-inch terminal spikes from July to October; Tolerates wet soil and rabbits; no serious pests or diseases; deer seldom severely damage except for young plants; Short-lived so allow plants to self-seed; All parts are poisonous if eaten by humans; may cause contact dermatitis in some individuals; Attracts hummingbirds songbirds, and butterflies. Growing and Maintenance Tips: Soil Requirements: Humus-rich soil; Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade; Water Requirements: Moist, Wet, Partial shade preferred in warmer climates; requires constant moisture; Divide clumps in spring or fall; do not cover basal rosettes with leaves or mulch in winter; Use in butterfly, hummingbird, rain or woodland gardens or near fresh water’s edge.Hardiness: USDA Zones 3–9 Excellent Replacement for Canna cultivars; Crocosmia, Gladiolus – Gladiola, Lychnis chalcedonica - Maltese Cross, Lythrum salicaria - Purple Loosestrife, and Pentas lanceolata - Egyptian Star Flower (annual).
Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets.