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Growing Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Brighten the summer garden with spires of bright red blooms of cardinal flowers and the hummingbirds and butterflies they attract.

This North American native is hardy in zones 3 to 9 and can be found growing in swamps, along streams and in low woodland areas. It grows best in rich moist to wet soil and full sun to partial shade. Give it a bit of afternoon shade if your summers are very hot.

Mulch the soil surface with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic materials. This keeps the roots cool and moist in summer and helps prevent frost heaving in regions where the soil is subject to freezing and thawing.

Grow cardinal flower in meadow, rain, natural and even formal gardens as long as the soil remains moist. And if you have tried growing this plant and failed, give it another try in a more suitable location.

A bit more information: The cardinal in the common name of Lobelia cardinalis refers to the red in the robes of the Roman Catholics cardinals, not the bird.

Upcoming Appearances


Jan. 29, 2022
WCBA's Home Building &
Remodeling Expo

West Bend, WI
(in-person event)

Feb. 2, 2022
Small Space Gardening
(webinar)

Feb. 11-13, 2022
PBS Wisconsin
Garden & Landscape EXPO

Madison, WI
(in-person event)

Feb. 18-20, 2022
NARI Milwaukee
Spring Home Improvement Show

Milwaukee, WI
(in-person event)

Feb. 23, 2022
Dahlias - Proven Performers!
(webinar)

March 1, 2022
Michigan Green Industry Assn.
Annual Tradeshow & Convention

Novi, MI
(in-person event)

March 5-6, 2022
Maryland Home & Garden Show
Lutherville-Timonium, MD
(in-person event)

​​​​​​​March 26-27, 2022
​​​​​​​REALTORS Home & Garden Show
West Allis, WI
(in-person event)

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