The scientific name of the cardinal flower is Lobelia cardinalis, this flower has been called the reddest red in nature and they flourish in wet areas near ponds or streams. The cardinal flower is a native perennial wildflower that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Furthermore, the brilliant color of this plant actually earned it its common name, which refers to the traditional red vestments of cardinals. According to history, explorers first encountered this native plant near a river in Canada, and they sent it back to Europe for classification.

Cardinal Flower Info

Botanical name: The botanical name is Lobelia cardinalis

Native area: US Native Wildflower

Plant type: Native perennial wildflowers

USDA Handiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Stratification: Cold/Wet for eight weeks

Germination Ease: Stratify eight weeks

Position: Full Sun, Part Sun

Plant height: forty-eight inches

Flower color: Red

Blooming time: Blooms Late Summer, Blooms Early Fall

Plant uses: Attracts honeybees, attracts pollinators, and hummingbirds


How to grow cardinal flower from seed

Sowing cardinal flower seeds: You can directly sow the cardinal flower seeds in late fall, planting them on the surface of the soil since the seeds need light to germinate. For spring planting, mix the cardinal flower seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for about sixty days before planting. To start the plant indoors, sow the cardinal flower seed six to eight weeks before the last frost of spring and also keep the soil lightly moist until germination. Transplant the cardinal flower seedlings as soon as they can safely be handled and there is no chance of frost.

Growing: Make sure you keep the cardinal flower seedlings well watered and also control weeds. These plants need continual moisture, and they thrive even in a very wet soil. The plant may self-sow in growing conditions. The mature plants can be divided in early spring. These flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and they flourish near ponds or streams. Rabbit, deer, and small pests usually avoid cardinal flowers. 

Harvesting cardinal flower: These blooms actually make excellent cut flowers. Choose stalks with flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately, strip the foliage that will fall below the surface of the water.

Seed saving: Once the flowers fade, watch the cardinal flower seed heads carefully since the tiny seed can easily blow away in the wind. Shake the cardinal flower seed heads over a container to remove the ripe seed; repeat until all the seed has ripened. You can store the cleaned cardinal flower seed in a cool, dry place.

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