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LOBELIA cardinalis

Image of Lobelia cardinalis

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Lobeliaceae

Botanical Name

LOBELIA cardinalis

Plant Common Name

Cardinal Flower

General Description

Cardinal flower is a short-lived herbaceous perennial native to much of eastern North America. Its glossy dark green, slightly toothed leaves and stems have a purplish tint. In summer, vivid red flowers open successively from the bottom to the top of tall spikes, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. The plant dies back in fall to a semi-evergreen basal rosette.

Cardinal flower grows it best in partial shade and moist to wet, fertile soil with lots of organic matter, making it ideal for use near ponds. It is also suitable for the mixed border and wildflower garden. It often self-sows.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    24"-36" / 61.0cm - 91.4cm

  • Width

    10"-15" / 25.4cm - 38.1cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    North America, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, South-Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Ample Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Red, Crimson, Dark Red

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Purple, Dark Green, Burgundy

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Purple, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Mixed Border, Water Gardens, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes