Plant Cardinal Flowers for Brilliant Color in Your Butterfly Garden!
Cardinal flower seeds are tiny, but from these tiny seeds come bold blooms! Lobelia cardinalis is a beautiful nectar plant which not only attracts butterflies, but hummingbirds as well.
Although native to most of the US, this plant is for your moist/wet garden areas. It rewards cultivation and will even do well in containers kept in trays of water (if you don’t have a moist area for it).
Characteristics of Lobelia cardinalis
There are very few descriptions of this plant that don’t rave about the deep vibrant red color of the flowers. The flowers appear for about a month in late summer at the peak of butterfly and migration activity. When in bloom the flower stalks reach about 2-3′ tall.
Cardinal Flower is easy to grow when in fertile moist/wet soils. It is a short-lived herbaceous perennial, but will reseed. It grows in clumps of dark green leaves. This plant can be grown in sun or shade. However, in warmer climates you will need to provide for more shade than in cooler climates. Lobelia cardinalis is hardy in zones 3-9.
How to Start Cardinal Flower Seeds
Cardinal flower seeds can be sown in the fall. Surface sow; they need light to germinate. They will need continual moisture in the spring to germinate and grow. These tiny seeds can also be started indoors or spring-planted, but they must have 2 months of cold-stratification in order to germinate.
After cold stratification, surface sow and keep moist (it is best to cover your container with plastic and mist when needed or bottom-water). They might take 3-5 weeks to germinate at room temperature. The plants will bloom the second year from seed.
Cardinal Flower is a native that offers spectacular color, feeds butterflies and hummingbirds, makes great cut flowers, and excels in your wet/soggy areas; a beautiful addition to a moist butterfly garden area!
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