A fiery color glows near a woodland stream at the end of summer. This is a colony of cardinal flowers, perennials growing wild in North America. These deep-red tubular flowers on spikes two or more feet tall bring the same magical drama to the home garden and attract hummingbirds, besides.
How to grow: Cardinal flowers need moist, rich soil. In southern regions they like a lot of shade, but in places where summers are cool they prefer more sun. They can survive occasional dry periods. Protect plants from slugs.
Propagation: By division in spring or fall, also from seed.
Uses: Mass cardinal flowers in clumps in moist, partly shaded garden spots. They combine well with ferns.
Related species and hybrids: Lobelia syphilitica, blue or white, is similar in form to Lobelia cardinalis and has been hybridized with it. Lobelia Ruby Slippers has four-foot spikes of ruby-red flowers. Lobelia Grape Knee-Hi is a dwarf hybrid with vivid purple flowers for many weeks in fall.
Scientific name: Lobelia cardinalis