Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) [lo-BEE-lee-ah kar-din-AL-iss]

Other Names Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis (NGN), Lobelia cardinalis 1 Gal., Lobelia cardinalis-#1 Pot, Lobelia cardinalis-04 Pot
Family Campanulaceae

Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis, is a herbaceous perennial that may grow 4 to 5 feet tall.


It was introduced to Europe in the mid 1620’s where it earned its common name, likely because the bright red flowers – described as scarlet, crimson, or vermilion – are the same color as the vestments worn by Roman Catholic cardinals. 


The leaves alternate with a toothed margin. Brilliant red blooms first mature in late summer and continue into mid-fall. The showy flowers begin opening at the bottom of a terminal flower spike and continue to the top.


The flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. It is also good for cut flowers but the stems do have a milky sap. This plant is effective in moist areas of woodland/shade gardens, wet meadows, or along streams or ponds. Also water gardens and rain gardens. It also adds late summer bloom and height to borders as long as the soil is kept uniformly moist.

Named Cultivars Lobelia cardinalis 'Pink Flame', Lobelia cardinalis 'Black Truffle', Lobelia cardinalis 'Fried Green Tomatoes', Lobelia cardinalis 'Golden Torch', Lobelia cardinalis 'New Moon Maroon', Lobelia cardinalis 'Pink Flamingo', Lobelia cardinalis 'Queen Victoria', Lobelia cardinalis 'Tan Line'
Plant Data
I am a... Deciduous Perennial
Mature Size 24 - 48 inches tall. 12 - 24 inches wide.
Sun Exposure Partial Shade - Full Sun
Moisture Tolerance Medium - Wet: Water the plants twice a week in the absence of rainfall for the first month, and weekly thereafter throughout spring and summer. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the plants to help the soil hold in moisture.
Zones 3a - 9b
Tags Accent, Attractive to Butterflies, Attractive to Hummingbirds, Attracts Butterflies, Attracts Hummingbirds, Border, Butterfly Garden, Clay Soil, Container, Cottage Garden, Cut Flower, Deciduous, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Eclectic Garden, Edging, Formal Garden, Fragrant Flowers, Hummingbird Garden, Illinois Nativar, Illinois Native, Low Maintenance, Moist Soil, Most Popular, Native to North America, Normal Soil, Perennial, Pond, Popular For Fall, Rabbit Resistant, Rain Garden, Rock Garden, Sandy Soil, Showy Flowers, Thornless, Well-Drained Soil, Wet Site Tolerant
Bloom Period July to September
Flower Color Scarlet Red, White Or Rose
Animals That Use It



Data Sheets
   In the Landscape Focused on the Plant Leaves Flowers Fruit Fall Leaf Winter Form

More Photos: Google Image Search & Flickr

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