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Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower

The genus (Lobelia) includes more than 350 annuals and perennials, many native to North America. The perennial varieties can be found growing in wetlands where they bloom from summer to early fall. In garden settings, they are prized for their spires of colorful flowers, which open progressively from bottom to top, adding vivid color to borders and moist meadows in sun or part-shade and attracting pollinators including hummingbirds. Many annual Lobelias have a cascading habit that makes them ideal for containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes. They produce masses of tiny flowers and serve as colorful ‘spillers,’ but they may subside in intense summer heat. All Lobelia thrive in full sun or partial shade (which they require in the South) and average to damp soil with a slightly acid pH.