Renee Stjohn

Renee Stjohn

Modified & Updated: 09 Sep 2023


Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is a stunning native North American plant that is commonly found in wetlands, meadows, and along the edges of streams and ponds. With its vibrant red blooms and towering height, the cardinal flower is sure to catch the eye of any passerby.

Aside from its visual appeal, the cardinal flower also boasts a fascinating array of characteristics and properties that make it a truly remarkable plant. In this article, we will explore 20 surprising facts about the cardinal flower, delving into its historical significance, ecological importance, and unique adaptations.

From its relationship with hummingbirds to its medicinal uses, the cardinal flower has an intriguing story to tell. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of the cardinal flower and discover why it has captured the hearts of both nature enthusiasts and botany enthusiasts alike.

Table of Contents

The Cardinal Flower is a stunning perennial plant

Cardinal flowers (Lobelia cardinalis) are beautiful flowering plants that belong to the Campanulaceae family. They are native to North America and are known for their vibrant red flowers.

It was named after the vivid red robes worn by Catholic cardinals.

The Cardinal Flower gets its name from the bright red color of the petals, which resembles the robes worn by Catholic cardinals. The vibrant hue adds a pop of color to any garden or landscape.

Cardinal Flower attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

These stunning flowers have evolved to attract hummingbirds and butterflies with their bright red color and tubular shape. The nectar-rich blooms act as a magnet for these pollinators.

It thrives in moist, well-draining soil.

The Cardinal Flower prefers to grow in moist soil, such as near streams, ponds, or in rain gardens. It requires a well-draining soil to prevent root rot and other waterlogged conditions.

The leaves of Cardinal Flower have medicinal properties.

The leaves of the Cardinal Flower have been traditionally used by Native Americans for their medicinal properties. They were used to treat ailments such as headaches, respiratory issues, and digestive problems.

Cardinal Flower is a favorite among gardeners.

Gardeners love to include Cardinal Flowers in their gardens due to their striking appearance and ability to attract pollinators. They make a beautiful addition to flower beds, borders, and naturalized areas.

It blooms in late summer to early fall.

The Cardinal Flower blooms from late summer to early fall, providing a burst of color in the late season garden. The flowers are also long-lasting, ensuring a vibrant display for weeks.

Cardinal Flower can reach heights of up to 4 feet.

These tall plants can grow up to 4 feet in height, making them stand out in the garden. Their upright growth habit and showy flowers make them an eye-catching focal point.

It is a low-maintenance plant.

Cardinal Flowers are relatively easy to care for and require minimal maintenance. They are generally pest and disease resistant, making them a hassle-free addition to any garden.

The Cardinal Flower is a symbol of hope and strength.

Throughout history, the Cardinal Flower has been associated with qualities like hope, strength, and positivity. Its striking appearance and vibrant color have made it a symbol in various cultures.

Cardinal Flower is a popular choice for rain gardens.

Due to its preference for moist soil, the Cardinal Flower is often used in rain gardens. These gardens are designed to collect and filter rainwater, making it an eco-friendly option.

It requires partial shade to full sun.

The Cardinal Flower grows best in partial shade to full sun conditions. It thrives in areas that receive at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day but can tolerate some shade.

The flowers of Cardinal Flower can be used in floral arrangements.

The bright red flowers of the Cardinal Flower make a stunning addition to floral arrangements. They add a vibrant touch and can be paired with other flowers or used as a focal point.

Cardinal Flower is a native plant in the Eastern United States.

The Cardinal Flower is native to the Eastern United States, where it can be found growing in wetland areas, along streams, and in wooded areas. It is well-adapted to the local climate and soil conditions.

The plant attracts bees, which help with pollination.

While hummingbirds and butterflies are the primary pollinators of Cardinal Flowers, bees also play a role in pollination. Their visitation helps ensure the production of seeds and the continuation of the species.

Cardinal Flower is an excellent choice for wildlife gardens.

By attracting pollinators and providing a food source, Cardinal Flowers contribute to the ecosystem and support wildlife. They are a valuable addition to wildlife gardens and habitats.

It is deer resistant.

Deer tend to avoid eating Cardinal Flowers, making them an excellent choice for gardens in areas with high deer populations. This resistance helps protect the plants from being damaged or destroyed.

Cardinal Flower can be propagated through division.

If you want to multiply your Cardinal Flowers, you can divide the clumps and replant them in different areas of your garden. This allows you to spread the beauty of these stunning plants.

It is a magnet for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

With its vibrant red flowers and attractive presence, the Cardinal Flower attracts photographers and nature enthusiasts. Its beauty is often captured in stunning photographs and admired by nature lovers.

The Cardinal Flower is a symbol of love and passion.

In the language of flowers, the Cardinal Flower symbolizes love, passion, and desire. Its fiery red color is often associated with strong emotions and romantic sentiments.


In conclusion, cardinal flowers are truly fascinating plants that offer a wide range of benefits and add beauty to our surroundings. From their vibrant red blooms to their ability to attract hummingbirds and butterflies, these plants are a must-have in any garden or natural habitat.Their medicinal properties such as their ability to relieve respiratory issues and soothe skin irritations further underscore their value. Additionally, the fact that cardinal flowers can adapt to various growing conditions and are native to North America make them a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for any gardener.Whether you’re a nature lover, a gardening enthusiast, or simply someone looking to enhance their outdoor space, considering cardinal flowers is a decision you won’t regret. With their stunning appearance and impressive array of benefits, these plants are sure to make a lasting impression and provide enjoyment for years to come.


1. How tall can cardinal flowers grow?

Cardinal flowers can grow up to 3 to 4 feet in height, making them an excellent choice for adding vertical interest to your garden.

2. Can cardinal flowers tolerate shade?

While cardinal flowers prefer full sun, they can tolerate some shade, especially during the hottest part of the day. However, they will produce more blooms in sunnier spots.

3. Are cardinal flowers easy to grow?

Cardinal flowers can be a bit challenging to grow from seeds, but once established, they are fairly low-maintenance. Providing them with moist, well-draining soil and regular watering will help ensure their success.

4. How do I attract hummingbirds to my garden with cardinal flowers?

Hummingbirds are attracted to cardinal flowers’ bright red blooms and their nectar. Planting cardinal flowers in clusters and providing a hummingbird feeder nearby will help grab their attention and encourage them to visit your garden.

5. Are cardinal flowers deer-resistant?

Unfortunately, cardinal flowers are not deer-resistant. If you have a deer problem in your area, you may need to take extra measures to protect your cardinal flowers from being eaten.

6. Can I grow cardinal flowers in containers?

Yes, cardinal flowers can be grown in containers. Just make sure the container is large enough to accommodate their root system, and use a well-draining potting mix to ensure proper moisture levels.

7. When is the best time to plant cardinal flowers?

The best time to plant cardinal flowers is in the spring after the last frost date. This will give them plenty of time to establish their root system before the hot summer months.