LOBELIA cardinalis

Cardinal Flower  –

0206 One of our best-known native wildflowers, the Cardinal Flower adapts well to garden condition, especially in moist areas beside ponds or water features. It forms an upright mound of green foliage, bearing taller spikes of scarlet-red flowers in mid to late summer. Attractive to both hummingbirds and butterflies. Not usually long lived but will sometimes self-seed where happy. Clumps may be divided in early spring. Received a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit (1993). CAUTION: Harmful if eaten.

Winchester Gardens generally stocks this item. 

Bloom Color:
Foliage Color:
Drought Tolerant:
Shade Tolerant:
Full Sun:
Partial Sun:
Deer Resistant:
Attracts Butterflies:

Cardinal Flower 


Summer, Fall
Deep Green



Site Location
Annual lobelia will grow nearly anywhere. Lobelia seeds can be sown directly in the garden or indoors for later transplanting. These plants typically require an area with full sun but will tolerate partial shade. They also prefer moist, rich soil.

Planting Instructions
Start indoors about 10-12 weeks prior to the last frost in your region. Spread the tiny seeds just on top of the soil and water thoroughly. Place them in a warm, well-lit area.
The seedlings should pop up within a week or two, at which time you can begin thinning them out. After all danger of frost is gone and the plants are at least 2-3 inches tall, transplant them to the garden—spacing about 4-6 inches apart.

Once established, the lobelia plant requires little maintenance. During hot, dry periods, care of lobelia requires that the plant should receive frequent watering, however, especially those in containers. A general-purpose liquid fertilizer can be given once a month or every 4-6 weeks, if desired.
Lobelia should delight your garden with beautiful blooms about mid-summer, continuing on up to the first frost. Although not necessary, you can deadhead lobelia plants to maintain a neat appearance.

Companion Plants
Primrose – Near ponds and streams, spring-blooming primroses of many sorts are charming with their white, pink, or yellow flowers, often in tiers one above the other. Later on lobelias bring interest to the same area.
Iris – The glorious open flowers of Japanese iris bloom with the earliest lobelias with a contrast in flower shape. Both thrive in damp soil.
Astilbe – Astilbes bloom with fluffy plumes of red, pink, or white flowers just ahead of lobelias, which then carry the colorful interest into fall. They enjoy similar conditions.
Turtlehead – The rounded mounds of handsome dark foliage and inflated pink or white flowers of turtlehead make fine companions for lobelias where soil is rich and damp.

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