Native Plant Highlights

What’s in Bloom | Cardinal Flower

August 5, 2020

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is arguably one of the more striking wildflowers with its bright red blooms. This perennial plant has a wide native distribution and is found throughout much of the US and parts of Canada and as far south as parts of South America. It blooms in Virginia in late summer.

It can grow up to 6 ft tall, has lance-shaped leaves and terminal spikes lined with red flowers. It prefers wet soils and is often found growing in floodplains, marshes, wet meadows and swamps.

Benefits to Biodiversity | This plant is a wonderful feature in gardens as long as the soils are continuously wet. Rain gardens and wet meadow plantings would be best. It provides a rich nectar source and is one of the best plants to choose to support hummingbirds — the primary pollinators of cardinal flower.

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