mxk3

Cardinal flower

mxk3
10 months ago

Talk me into or out of Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis).

Comments (17)

  • dbarron
    10 months ago

    I also allow them to reseed about the yard (they seem to never come up in the bed). I thought about moving them (they move easily early in the year), but it seems easier to often just let them be and mow around most of them.

    They sometimes pop up in fortuitous places, and the bog I'm slowly developing (had no notion...but roof run off is causing it) is very popular with them.

    Love em, but I hear from most people they don't do well. My guess is lack of sun or lack of moisture..both of which are critical from my observation.

    Lobelia cardinalis, lobelia sylphitica, both do well for me and self-sow, as does (even more generously) mimulus alatus (monkey flower). I have spagnum moss and a few varieties of fern interlacing somewhat. Hummingbirds perceive lobelia cardinalis as Fort Knox and must guard it with their very lives.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    I was going to say all that dbarron said, but I realized that we are in almost the same climate, so maybe that's the key. It does well for me, but I too have a very wet yard. Wonder if that is the key for them to do well? Even more than sun? Because it's in a spot that receives quite a lot of sun, but isn't my sunniest spot. The L. syphilitica gets even less sun and still blooms. I'd have to guess even moisture is the key.

  • dbarron
    10 months ago

    Rob333, my point is they will not thrive in a shady location, though yes, syphilitica is more tolerant of that than cardinalis. For some reason people seem to want to put them in shade (which is wrong).

  • sah67 (zone 5b - NY)
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    Individual plants are fairly short-lived, but another plus is that even if conditions aren't ideal for reseeding (i.e. heavy mulch) or if you deadhead them, they're still very easy to propagate from the offshoot rosettes that form in fall.

  • rob333 (zone 7a)
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    I agree, they need the shade... but balanced. It's more like "afternoon only" shade. But not full shade. Not even half shade. Just time specific.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    10 months ago

    Not a 'doer' here in the PNW. Unless one has a perpetually wet area of the landscape, they are just not happy in our long and usually very dry summers. Not even on the recommended plant list for local rain gardens, as they are also very seasonal in their moisture levels. Consistent irrigation could help but that's a situation many here try to avoid.

    A much better choice for this area is Lobelia tupa. This is a big, bold and very robust species with bright red flowers over a long period in summer to fall. Also extremely attractive to hummingbirds, it needs full sun and is very drought tolerant once established. But not reliably hardy below zone 7.

  • mxk3
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    Ok, well, it wasn't so difficult to talk me into it LOL! I have a couple areas around downspout and low-lying areas that I can put this one. Also considering ordering L. siphilitica, since I have a deep-seated love of blue/purple - what's a few more plants, right?

  • peren.all Zone 5a Ontario Canada
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    Good glad you are going for it!

    I like siphilitica too but just be sure to deadhead. They seed quite rampantly and I just pull/dig unwanted ones if I missed deadheading. Did not want you thinking "I wish someone had warned me"

    Cardinalis will seed but they take up less room than L. s. Since L. c. is short lived I always let it seed about.

  • mxk3
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    ^^ Any photos of L. siphilitica? Looking to get an idea of foliage effect for best placement.

  • peren.all Zone 5a Ontario Canada
    10 months ago

    I am usually taking pics of bees (and hummingbirds) on the flowers but I did find some of the foliage just getting ready to bloom in the 1st pic

    s. 'Alba' but the foliage is the same.

    All three Lobelia.

    The foliage of L. siphilitica is nothing to write home about. Ideally the plants get placed behind others since it is more about the flowers.

  • dbarron
    10 months ago

    For me, siphilitica is more vigorous too. Just a comment.

  • mxk3
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    The foliage looks nice and bushy and healthy -- so should be easy to place (opposed to sparse and/or ratty foliage). Thanks for the pics. Oh, also -- "late summer bloom" means what in terms of when they actually bloom? (i.e. what months). Monkshood is the start of the show come about September, so wouldn't want to place the blue near the monkhood if bloom time overlaps.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    10 months ago

    In my garden, the siphilitica blooms late August right through a killing freeze.

    In the wild, in some of the local parks, I see cardinalis blooming at the edges of woods, and at the tops of slopes down to creeks. In my yard, they are both thriving in slightly raised, somewhat improved beds, with full midday sun but shade in the AM and late afternoon. My yard is wet in late winter and spring, but generally with long dry spells mid summer - fall which doesn't seem to bother them. They don't seem to reseed into paths and yard where the unamended clay soil is.

  • peren.all Zone 5a Ontario Canada
    10 months ago

    Yes, just went through my pics and for L. s. they start in Aug. but earlier in the month than for raee. Mine start in the 2nd week and go until killing freeze which is earlier than for you or raee. Hmm, perhaps they adjusted their timetable to accommodate my shorter season.

    For interest sake I have some pics of L. c. blooming in July but mostly Aug. onward.

  • bellflower
    10 months ago

    snails.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    10 months ago

    My L. siphilitica are overly enthusiastic seeders. I ripped out the single original plant more than 15 years ago when I realized how weedy it is in my garden and lawn and fields, but I am still finding plants from dormant seed.

    I love L. cardinalis! It grows wild here, not only on the sunny, west-facing river bank below the high water mark, but I have also seen it growing on mossy rocks in a woodland stream when it got at best dappled shade - very little sun. In both settings the bright flowers really sing and are visible from quite a distance.