Cardinal Flower

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SKU
AM013990

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Cardinal Flower, a hummingbird favorite, puts on a show in late summer with tall, vivid red flower spikes that add bold color to the late-season garden. Native to North America, it thrives in partially-shaded areas with moist soil and will naturalize if conditions are favorable. Tolerates deer. (Lobelia cardinalis)
Zones 3 - 9
Advantages
Attract Butterflies
Attract Hummingbirds
Deer Resistant
Native
Good For Cut Flowers
Light Requirements
Half Sun / Half Shade
Mature Plant Size30-36" tall , 10-18" wide
Bloom TimeMid summer to fall
SizePlant - 3" Pot
SKUAM013990

USDA Hardiness Planting Zones

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.

  • If the coldest winter temperature expected in your area is -15°F (zone 5) then any plants rated zones 3-5 will survive the winter temperatures in your area.
  • If you live in very warm winter areas (zones 9-11) plants with zones 3-4 ratings are not recommended. The lack of freezing winter temperatures do not provide a time for winter dormancy (rest).

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Plant Information
The stunning Cardinal Flower is one of our most famous native plants, and usually called Americas most vivid native flower. Each summer, brilliant red Cardinal Flower lights up the August woods all over the east, and new generations of hikers are always thrilled when they come across it in our forests. Of course, the fact that it does not bloom in spring, but adds color later, makes it of huge value in a wild garden.

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.

More Information
SKUAM013990
Item Package Size
Plant - 3" Pot
Common Name
Cardinal Flower
Botanical Name
Lobelia cardinalis
Zones
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Light Requirements
Half Sun / Half Shade
Flower Color
Red
Mature Height
30-36" tall
Estimated Mature Spread
10-18" wide
Growth Rate
Medium
Bloom Time
Mid summer to fall
Planting Depth
Crown of plant should rest just at or above the surface after watering in.
Ships As
Potted Plant
Foliage
Lanced shaped green leaves.
Soil Type
Loamy Soil, Moist/Wet Soil
Soil Moisture
Average, Moist / Wet, Well Draining
Tolerates
Wet Sites
Advantages
Attract Butterflies, Attract Hummingbirds, Deer Resistant, Native, Good For Cut Flowers
Ideal Region
Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West, Southwest, Pacific Northwest
Planting Time
Fall
Neonicotinoid Free
Poisonous or Toxic to Animals
Poisonous if ingested.
Item Unit
Plant
Ships to Hawaii, Alaska & Canada
No
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No longer available this season.

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