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Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower

 Sun Exposure: Sun, Part Sun

Soil Moisture: Wet, Medium-Wet

Soil Type: Loam, Sand-Loam, Organic matter helps retain moisture

Height: 2.5 - 4 feet

Spread: 1 foot

Blooms: July, August, September

Root: Taproot

Habitat: Wet Prairies/Meadows, Floodplains, Edges of ponds, streams, marshes, Moist depressions in woodlands

Landscape uses: Pollinator gardens, Low area garden, Wet Meadow plantings, Pond edges

Complimentary Plants: Joe Pye Weed, Great Blue Lobelia, Bebbs Sedge, Fox Sedge

Wildlife Value: The nectar of the flowers attracts the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and various Swallowtail butterflies. Sometimes the larger bumblebees will steal nectar through slits in the tubular corolla.

Seed Origin: Blue Mountains, Ontario

Germination Code: C(60), D


Photo credits: #1/2 by Sundaura Alford-Purvis

Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower

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  • Cardinal Flower is an beautiful plant for moist garden areas or shores of ponds and streams. Basal leaves develop first follwed by a rising show of scarlet red flowers. Plants with red flowers typically attract hummingbirds; sometimes they also attract Swallowtail butterflies because their compound eyes, unlike those of bees, can detect the color red. Ensure soil stays moist during hot summer spells and sprinkle seeds on raked soil before winter to promote expansion of this plant. 

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