Plant of the Month August: Cardinal Flower
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is a strikingly beautiful wildflower found along stream banks and in bogs and swamps. The unbranched plant grows up to four feet in height with dark-green toothed leaves.
Its brilliant-red spike flowers, which are occasionally pink or white, appear in early August and last about three weeks. Hummingbirds find the flowers irresistible. Although classified as a perennial, Cardinal Flower is not long lived. However, it re-seeds prolifically and sometimes will form colonies.
To grow successfully, it needs constantly moist soil and, in our area, generally thrives better with some afternoon shade. If you lack wet natural areas, Cardinal Flower will also grow in flower beds, as long as it is kept constantly moist.
See Go Native—Grow Native at www.nnnps.org to learn more about native plants that grow well in the Northern Neck.