This is a must-have in any garden, as the brilliant-red flowers bloom up a tall spike. The blooms certainly can resemble a cardinal in flight, so it’s easy to see why the common name is so appropriate. If you have a sunny, moist area in your garden then this will be a favorite.
Art Trail, East Terrace
Site selection is important for this species, as it prefers a sunny location in moist soil. They grow naturally along streambanks and moist meadows, so scout appropriately. It is best used in small groupings to really show off the intense flower color. Cardinal flower is technically a native annual, as the roots and flower stalk die after setting seed; however, they can appear as perennials because offsets grow roots easily from the lower leaf axils. They also produce thousands of tiny red seeds that can germinate in the proper soil.
This is a favorite nectar source for butterflies and hummingbirds.
Dark green leaves typically grow low on the plant and end around where the flowering stalks first bloom. The lowermost leaf axils produce roots, so offsets can help keep this plant in your garden for years.