The shape and color of cardinal flower attracts hummingbirds to the garden.
Common name: Cardinal flower
Botanical name: Lobelia cardinalis
Virtues: Long bloom time, from midsummer into autumn. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
Flowers: Spikes of bright red flowers rise above the plant from July to September. Flowers face outward and slightly up, making them ideal feeding stations for hummingbirds. White- and rose-colored varieties exist. A related species, Lobelia siphilitica, has blue flowers.
Habit: Clumping herbaceous perennial, 2 to 4 feet tall and half as wide.
Origin: Damp to wet areas, such as stream banks, swamps and damp woods, of the eastern half of North America.
Cultivation: Grow in partial shade, in moist soil. Tolerates wet soil. Individual plants are short lived but in good conditions they will spread by self-sowing. Tolerates more sun in cool climates. USDA Zones 3–9.
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