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Cardinal flower

Lobelia cardinalis


Plant Type


Hardiness Zone

3 - 9

Flower Color


Bloom Period

July through August

Height at Maturity

3 to 4 feet

Width at Maturity

1 to 2 feet

Sun Requirements

Full sun to part shade

Soil Type

Moist, rich, slightly acidic
If your soil is poor add compost.

About this species:

This plant is part of the bellflower family known as campanulaceae. It is an herbaceous perennial with a short tap root. If the spot you want to plant this is poor add compost. It blooms for six weeks in late summer with clusters of flaming red spires. This plant may need to be staked. Deadhead for a neat appearance and reblooming or to prevent reseeding. Wait till the spike has faded before clipping out the stem. Divide the plant every two to three years. Propagation is done by bending a stem down into the mud or fastening it with a rock

or stick. Its common name alludes to the bright red robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals.

The cardinal flower is known to have medicinal value if properly attended to. Yet it has poisonous parts and is toxic to people, dogs, cats and other animals. Its bitter taste discourages deer.

Hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths are the major pollinators of the cardinal flower. It makes a great cut flower.


Key to Label Symbols:

Hollow stems, leaves and roots are sources of shelter for wildlife. Insects may make a winter home under dropped leaves. Other animals may make shelters within the roots of the plant.
Food Source
Birds and other wildlife use the seeds, berries and leaves for their food source. Leaves may be used to help build nests for birds
Nectar Source
Bees, butterflies, birds and some insects use nectar for their food. Pollen is also used by some wildlife.
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