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Cardinal Flower

Scientific name: Lobelia cardinalis

Unsurprisingly, this bright scarlet flower gets its name from the red robes of the Roman Catholic Cardinal. This 1-6 foot native perennial sports racemes of flowers along a long spikey stem. Each flower has three lower petals and two upper petals which are united at the base.

At our Leon Levy Native plant garden, we have had great success with the cardinal flower. It is planted on a border right up against the parking lot. So, while you might read that it is a wetland plant, if it is located in a rich soil (which we created in this location), it does just fine. We have also had no issues with the deer.

This flower is in bloom for many weeks starting in late July up until September, so it has a long bloom time. If you would like to see hummingbirds in your yard, grow it, as it is a favorite of theirs!



Cardinal Flower


Dark green leaves, tapered at the end.


Blooms from July to September.


This is a wetland indicator plant, meaning it grows in wetlands and is found in marshes and along stream banks. In our experience, it can do well in a many different settings It likes sunlight with filtered shade, but can definitely handle full sun part of the day.

Similar Species

It is a member of the bluebell family.

Ecosystem Connections

The cardinal flower depends on the hummingbird for pollination, as its long tubular flowers are difficult for some insects to navigate.

Human Connections

This would be an eye-catching addition to the edge of a woodland bed, especially as it blooms later in the season.

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