Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
[lo-BEE-lee-ah kar-din-AL-iss]

Deciduous Perennial in the Campanulaceae Family
Buy Cardinal Flower
Size Notes Price Availability
#1 gallon Field $11.58 Likely available
5/30 - 6/2
6/13 - 6/16
7/4 - 7/7
38 Flat Field $81.87 Likely available
5/30 - 6/2
6/13 - 6/16
7/4 - 7/7


Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis, is a herbaceous perennial that may grow 4 to 5 feet tall.


It was introduced to Europe in the mid 1620’s where it earned its common name, likely because the bright red flowers – described as scarlet, crimson, or vermilion – are the same color as the vestments worn by Roman Catholic cardinals. 


The leaves alternate with a toothed margin. Brilliant red blooms first mature in late summer and continue into mid-fall. The showy flowers begin opening at the bottom of a terminal flower spike and continue to the top.


The flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. It is also good for cut flowers but the stems do have a milky sap. This plant is effective in moist areas of woodland/shade gardens, wet meadows, or along streams or ponds. Also water gardens and rain gardens. It also adds late summer bloom and height to borders as long as the soil is kept uniformly moist.


Plant Data

Mature Size 24 - 48 inches tall. 12 - 24 inches wide.
Sun Exposure Partial Shade - Full Sun
Moisture Tolerance Medium - Wet: Water the plants twice a week in the absence of rainfall for the first month, and weekly thereafter throughout spring and summer. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around the plants to help the soil hold in moisture.
Zones 3a - 9b (Usually hardy to -40° F)
Tags Attracts Butterflies, Attracts Hummingbirds, Container, Deciduous, Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Edging, Formal Garden, Fragrant Flowers, Full Sun, Good for Accents, Good for Borders, Good for Butterfly Garden, Good for Cottage Garden, Good for Cut Flowers, Good for Rain Garden, Good for Rock Garden, Illinois Native, Low Maintenance, Medium, Most Popular, Nativar, Native to North America, Normal Soil, Partial Shade, Partial Sun, Perennial, Pond, Popular For Fall, Rabbit Resistant, Showy Flowers, Tolerant of Clay Soil, Tolerant of Moist Soil, Tolerant of Sandy Soil, Well-Drained Soil, Wet, Wet Site Tolerant
Bloom Period July to September
Flower Color Scarlet Red, White Or Rose
Animals That Use It




More Info from Experts

Commonly Planted with...

Swamp milkweed, spotted water-?hemlock, large blue lobelia, monkey flower, bristly buttercup, water parsnip, blue vervain, wild iris, swamp rose.

Photos of This with...

Kalm's St. John's Wort, Purple Loosestrife, Ostrich Fern
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Pricing and Availability History

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Limited Availability

We try very hard to source exactly what you’d like, but sometimes growers run out of plants! While this variety is a great deal at the price shown, we know that it has limited availability. If you want the plant even if it might be more expensive, or in a different size or quantity -- after you place your order, just send us a quick note at Then, we’ll try to get you some version of this from one of our growers. And if we can’t get it from anywhere, of course, we’ll send a refund!

Field-Grown vs. Greenhouse-Grown Plants

Plants which are well-adapted to our local climate are most often field-grown (outside). Field-grown plants are generally cheaper and have the advantage of already somewhat acclimated to our cold winters, but that means they’re not artificially far along in the spring and tend to bloom at the normal time in our area.

Spring annuals and tender perennials are typically grown in Greenhouses so they can be ready and luxurious exactly when customers want them. Some perennials are also “forced” into early bloom in greenhouses. In May, there can be a very big difference between field-grown and greenhouse-grown plants of the same type. The latter typically look good right away (so they’re a great choice where that’s important), but we typically pay a premium for it.

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To secure the best prices for club members and make sure we know the current plants available from each nursery, we take orders only a couple of times a month.

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No Pricing or Availability Right Now

We order from a rotating cast of the best nurseries in the Great Lakes region. It looks like we've offered this plant in the past, but the nurseries we're working with this week don't appear to have it in stock at the moment.

Our goal is to bring as many plants together under "one roof" as possible, so we'll try hard to make it available again in the future!