Native To Know: Cardinal Flower, Lobelia Cardinalis

Cardinal Flower1 Native To Know: Cardinal Flower, Lobelia Cardinalis

Photo Courtesy of: BigDan


The Cardinal Flower is a bright, brassy North American native plant that grows up to 3 or 4 feet tall, and sports spiked torches of blood red blossoms!  In the last several years this Lobelia has gained popularity in garden centers, and home landscaping, but it’s use around the house can go much farther than just as the back row of a wildflower bed.

Where To Plant: Gardens, Containers and Naturalization

  • Lobelia cardinalis is a perennial plant working well anywhere from partial shade to full sun
  • Cardinal Flower enjoys wet feet, so it is a great addition to a pond, or water garden container.  Plant this in the shallow wading region of a pond, or in a raised basket planter.
  • Add this flower as the centerpiece to a rain garden, or ditch garden that fills will street water run-off, and allow it to naturalize.
  • Work Cardinal Flower into a wildflower meadow for yearly self seeding, and colorful displays.
  • Plant this along the edge of a woodland area to brighten the transition strip between the lawn and the tree line.

What You’ll Love:

  • This plant is a magnet for attracting Hummingbirds!
  • Combine this Lobelia with your favorite Butterfly garden selections to invite traveling insects for a stopover.
  • Although it works well in a water garden, it’s actual water needs are very low, and it can be used in dry areas relying only on rain water!
  • Cardinal Flower is hardy to minus 40 degrees fahrenheit and grows from the Canada to Arizona and everywhere in between.


Cardinal flower can come in colors other than red, with plants that bloom in only pink or crisp white. Check your local garden center for this great native plant, and for more great water garden ideas, read up on the 6 water garden plants you can find anywhere!



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