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Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower)

Cardinal Flower, Water Gladiole, Red Bay, Scarlet Lobelia, Slinkweed, Bog Sage, Hog's Physic, Indian Pink, Lobelia fulgens, Lobelia splendens

AGM Award
Lobelia Cardinalis, Cardinal Flower, Water Gladiole, Red Bay, Scarlet Lobelia, Slinkweed, Bog Sage, Hog's Physic, Indian Pink, Lobelia fulgens, Lobelia splendens, Red flowers
Lobelia Cardinalis, Cardinal Flower, Water Gladiole, Red Bay, Scarlet Lobelia, Slinkweed, Bog Sage, Hog's Physic, Indian Pink, Lobelia fulgens, Lobelia splendens, Red flowers

A top performer that is perfect for the late summer garden, Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower) is a popular, upright, clump-forming perennial boasting a profusion of flower spikes densely packed with brilliant, cardinal red, two-lipped blossoms, 2 in. long (5 cm), from midsummer to early fall. Borne on erect, alternate-leafed stalks rising above a rosette of lance-shaped, glossy bright green leaves, this architectural plant adds vertical interest to the landscape. Extremely hardy, low care, and fairly pest and disease-free, Cardinal Flower tends to be short-lived, although it may self-seed in ideal growing conditions (without becoming invasive)!

  • Winner of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society
  • Grows up to 2-4 ft. tall (60-120 cm) and 1-2 ft. wide (30-60 cm).
  • Performs best in rich, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Appreciates some shade from hot afternoon sun and loves a lot of moisture. Tolerates damp soils and poor drainage. Can be grown in water to 3 in. deep (7 cm).
  • A welcomed addition to beds and borders, wild gardens, butterfly gardens, cottage gardens, bog gardens, rain gardens and near ponds or streams.
  • A magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects, it is deer and rabbit resistant.
  • Deadhead for a neat appearance, to encourage rebloom or prevent any undesired reseeding. Pinch back for bushier and more compact plants. Cut back after flowering. Divide plants every 2-3 years.
  • Propagate by seed sown in gentle heat as soon as ripe, or by bud cuttings in late summer.
  • Native to North America.
  • Ingestion may cause discomfort.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Campanulaceae
Genus Lobelia
Common names Red Bay, Lobelia, Cardinal Flower
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 12" - 24"
(30cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs High
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy
Native Plants United States, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, California, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah
Tolerance Deer, Rabbit, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Bog Gardens, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens, Water Gardens
Garden Styles Traditional Garden, Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Lobelia x speciosa ‘Starship Deep Rose’ (Cardinal Flower)
Lobelia cardinalis ‘Queen Victoria’ (Cardinal Flower)
Lobelia erinus (Trailing Lobelia)
Lobelia x speciosa ‘Vedrariensis’ (Cardinal Flower)
Lobelia siphilitica (Great Blue Lobelia)

Recommended Companion Plants

Crocosmia (Montbretia)
Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker)
Monarda (Bee Balm)
Helenium (Sneezeweed)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

A Terrific Border Idea with Kniphofia, Lobelia, Helenium and Canna
Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 9
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Campanulaceae
Genus Lobelia
Common names Red Bay, Lobelia, Cardinal Flower
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 2'
(30cm - 60cm)
Spacing 12" - 24"
(30cm - 60cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs High
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Poorly Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy
Native Plants United States, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, Northeast, California, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah
Tolerance Deer, Rabbit, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Hummingbirds
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Bog Gardens, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens, Water Gardens
Garden Styles Traditional Garden, Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Lobelia
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Lobelia
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