Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower Seeds & Plants
(low-BEE-lee-uh  car-dih-NAH-lis)
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Lobelia cardinalis cardinal flower picture

Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower Sulphur Butterfly picture Bloom Period Color Height Inches Moisture Plant Spacing Lifespan
Sun to Light Shade August and September Red 24 to 48 Inches Moist 8 to 24 Inches Perennial

Ruby Throat Hummingbird on Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower   
Click on picture for larger image

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower) potted plants are $6.00 each plus UPS shipping.  Shipping costs are determined by your zip code & the weight of your order.  Please contact us by email with your address / zip code for shipping charges on potted plants.

For other flowers visit the wildflower seed list , to order copy the orderform or 
email questions, comments, and orders to john@easywildflowers.com  

Lobelia cardinalis seed
Cardinal Flower seed 

number of seeds

approximate coverage
in square feet

     packet  -  $2.50 plus shipping

1/4 ounce -   $ 20.00

1/2 ounce -   $ 30.00

1 ounce    -   $ 50.00

 400,000 2,000 to 8,000 sq ft

1 pound --   not available

   sq ft

   Cardinal Flower seeds are very tiny, 1/4 teaspoon may contain a few hundred seeds

Lobelia cardinalis, Cardinal Flower's brilliant fiery red flowers on dense spikes grow up to 4 feet tall to make this one of the showiest wildflowers.  The tubular cardinal red flowers lasts 4 to 6 weeks and are a favorite with hummingbirds, Swallowtail butterflies and Sulphur butterflies.  Lobelia cardinalis is best planted in rich moist soil in full sun to light shade in a formal perennial bed, moist meadow, water garden, or as a container plant for a patio.  Grow Cardinal Flower in the butterfly garden, hummingbird garden and use as a cut flower.  The basal rosettes need sunlight in the winter so fallen tree leaves should be removed.  Wild Cardinal flower looks good when planted with Irises, Asclepias (Marsh milkweed), Hibiscus (Rose Mallow), Veronicastrum (Culver's-root), and Great Blue Lobelia.  Cardinal flower seeds are very small and germinate without pretreatment.

Lobelia cardinalis cardinal Flower can be planted with Bluestar, Marsh Milkweed, Showy Milkweed, false Aster, Buttonbush, Purple Coneflower, Rose mallow, Iris, Blazingstar, Blue Lobelia, Bunchflower Lily, Foxglove Beardtongue, Obedient Plant, Orange Coneflower, Sweet Coneflower.  

   Native Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower plants occur naturally in moist meadows, borders of ponds and streams, and wet open woods from Florida to Texas, north to New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.   Campanulaceae (Bellflower Family)  

Cardinal Flower is also sometimes mistakenly call
ed Indian pink.  
(Indian Pink usually refers to Spigelia marilandica Indianpink Woodland Pinkroot)

   The map below shows areas where native Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower wildflower plants grow wild but they can be planted and will grow over a much wider area than shown.  USDA plant hardiness zones 2 to 10.

Lobelia cardinalis
Cardinal Flower



New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina

Rhode Island
South Carolina
West Virginia

State Distributional Map for lobelia cardinalis, cardinal flower wild flower seed


Use the chart below for shipping charges on Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower seeds, to order copy the order form or email questions, comments & orders to john

Please contact us by email with your address for shipping charges & availability on potted plants

We accept payment by check, money order, and through Paypal

The minimum seed order amount is $10, this can be a combination of different seeds.

subtotal for flower seeds 

shipping charge for seeds

seed orders up to  $20.00    =    $3.00 shipping
$20.01 - $50.00    =    $4.00 shipping
$50.01-$100.00    =    $5.00 shipping

over $100.00    =    5 % of subtotal

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Easyliving Wildflowers
PO Box  522
Willow Springs,  Mo.  65793
phone-fax 417-469-2611 

Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower Plant distribution map complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
  (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

 Ethnobotanic: The Iroquois had many medicinal uses for cardinal flower.  The root was boiled together with the root of Cichorium intybus and the liquid was used to treat fever sores.  The mashed roots, stems, leaves, and blossoms were made into a decoction and drank for cramps.  The plant was also used as an emetic for an upset stomach from eating something bad.  The plant was added to other medicines to give them more strength.  The Delaware used an infusion of the roots to treat typhoid.  The Meskwaki used this plant as a ceremonial tobacco, throwing it to the winds to ward off a storm.  The Pawnee used the roots and flowers of cardinal flower in the composition of a love charm. 

 Wildlife: Hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar.  Deer browsing often damages young plants.

  General: Bellflower Family (Campanulaceae).  Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal flower is a herbaceous perennial is 5 to 15 cm. tall with unbranched stems.  The alternate leaves are toothed and oblong to lance-shaped and pointed at both ends.  The irregular, two-lipped flowers are tubular with the upper portion two-lobed and the lower spreading and divided into three parts.  The fire engine red flowers appear in long terminal racemes and they are from 30-45 mm.  The anthers are at the end of a slender red filament tube extending out over the lower lip of the corolla.  The corolla has a slit on each side near the base.  The seeds come in a two-celled, many-seeded capsules opening at the top.  They are small, less than 1 mm. and numerous.

Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal flower is found in wet soil from New Brunswick to Minnesota, south to the Gulf of Mexico.  For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.  

 Adaptation: Cardinal flower is comparatively easy to grow.  The capsules can be collected in autumn, usually October.  The stalks are cut below the capsules, and placed upside down in a paper sack.  Once, home, the bag is opened so that the capsules are exposed to the air for a few days.  Shake the bag to release the seeds.  Crushing the capsules with a rolling pin and picking out the seeds from the litter can retrieve the capsules that have remaining seeds.  The seeds can then be planted right away.

 Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal flower Propagation by seeds: The seeds will germinate without cold stratification, but they need light, so sow the seeds in a flat with a damp fine grade peat light mix.  Keep the flats moist and under lights or in a greenhouse.  They should green up in a few weeks.  Transplant them in 4-6 weeks into individual pots such as 70 cell plug trays, use the same potting mix and keep fertilizing.  The seedlings are tiny at first, so fertilize them every other week with a liquid fertilizer.  After another 4 weeks they can be put out in the garden or transplanted into larger pots of 4 to 6 inch diameter.  Plant the plants in an outdoor spot that is in full sun or very light shade and never dries completely.  Space the plants 8 to 12 inches apart.  Add plenty of peat moss when planting and mulch well to keep the soil cool and moist.  Protect the plants from deer.  Cardinal flower will take two years to bloom, forming a large rosette the first year.  Allow the plants to self-sow.  They are heavy feeders, so compost or a shot of granular fertilizer when they begin growth is recommended.

 Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal flower propagation by cuttings: Take two node stem cuttings (4-6 inches) before the flowers open and remove the lower leaf and half the upper leaf.  Treat the cutting with hormodin 2 or roottone and place the cuttings in a sand and perlite medium, cover lightly, water, and remember to keep the medium moist.  Roots will form in 2-3 weeks, but the cuttings need to force a good new crown from the lower node to successfully over-winter.

 When well established, clumps of Cardinal Flower can be divided in the fall or spring by separating the rosettes or basal offshoots from the mother plant and replanting these divisions and watering them immediately.  In the winter, keep the leafy offshoots at the base of the drying stems of old plants free of leaf litter to allow them full exposure to the air and sunshine.