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Plant A Patch: Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

A favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies, this clump-forming native perennial sports 8 inch spikes of striking red blooms beginning in July and continuing until frost. In the wild, Cardinal flowers are typically found in wetlands, along the edges of streams and in ravines and ditches. Cardinal flowers require a consistent moisture to thrive which makes themĀ the perfect choice to add height to a rain garden. They prefer rich soil in full sun, but will also grow in average soil or partial sun. Plants average about 24 – 48 inches in height and will spread up to 18 inches. Cardinal flowers are fairly short-lived, but will reseed if the ground around the plant is disturbed in the spring and can be propagated by anchoring a healthy stem in mud. Applying a layer of mulch will protect the shallow roots in the winter and retain moisture in the summer. Cardinal flowers are deer and rabbit resistant.