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This famous plant is native all the way from Quebec and Minnesota south to Florida and Texas. It is so beautiful it is over picked and now quite rare in some areas. However, if conditions are right (wet, mostly) it will grow easily, even in full sun, but is usually found as a woodland beauty along streambanks or near ponds where the soil is always moist. It is even happy growing right in the shallow water of small creeks and brooks.
This tells you that you must supply constant moisture for Cardinal Flower, and if you do, the rewards are spectacular.
Growing Lobelia cardinalis Allen Armitage, the famous perennial expert writes in his Armitages Native Plants that Cardinal Flower is a short lived perennial but if...(conditions are good)... it will return many years. This is correct. It is not difficult to grow at all; it is simply difficult to maintain a clump of plants over the years, unless you are attentive. Armitage tells us he believes the plants do best in full sun. I found the opposite growing them in Vermont. But sun or shade, the most important item is the moisture. The roots should never really dry out. We had many growing along a small brook in the middle of a wooded garden (See photo above). All went well, and the plants performed with bigger and bigger flower spikes each year, until.....we had a spring flood one year. The brook raged out of its banks, and the rushing water uprooted all the plants and swept them away. So that year, we had to start over with new plants. They have very shallow roots, and come out of the mud easily.
This wild beauty is one that you must watch, and you'll learn to love it. It grows quickly and easily, but it has two very powerful enemies--people who love to pick it, destroying the display, and either too little or too much (rushing) water.
|Common Name||Cardinal Flower|
|Botanical Name||Lobelia cardinalis|
|Zones||3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun, Half Sun / Half Shade|
|Mature Height||36-48" tall|
|Estimated Mature Spread||24-36" wide|
|Bloom Time||Mid to late summer|
|Planting Depth||Crown of plant should rest just at or above the soil surface after watering in.|
|Ships As||Potted Plant|
|Foliage Color||Almost Black|
|Foliage||Nearly black foliage that fades to deep maroon.|
|Planting Time||Spring / Summer|
|Soil Type||Clay Soil, Loamy Soil, Moist/Wet Soil|
|Soil Moisture||Average, Moist/Wet, Well Draining|
|Advantages||Deer Resistant, Attract Butterflies, Attract Hummingbirds, Native|
|Neonicotinoid-Free||Yes - Learn More|
|Ships to Hawaii, Alaska & Canada||No|
Shipping begins in late March based on ground temperatures, warmest zones first.
As soon as your order is placed you will receive an order confirmation email that will include your shipping information. We ship perennials and spring-planted bulbs at the proper planting time for your hardiness zone. Perennials and spring-planted bulb orders will arrive separately from seeds. If your order requires more than one shipment, there is no additional shipping charge. See our shipping information page for approximate ship dates and more detailed information. If you need express shipping or have any questions, please call Customer Service toll-free at (877) 309-7333 or contact us by email.
You will receive a second email the day your order ships telling you how it has been sent. Your order is scheduled to arrive at your door, fresh and ready to plant, usually within 3-5 days of leaving our warehouse, depending on your shipping address. We pack our plants to withstand up to 10 days in transit, in the event transit is delayed. We cannot guarantee arrival on a specific day. Please make sure to open your package upon receipt and follow the instructions included.
To determine if a plant is sufficiently cold hardy, the USDA created numbered zones indicating winter low temperatures; the lower the zone number the colder the winter.
Enter your Zip Code to find your USDA Planting Zone
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