Nodding Onion Gardens

Native Plant Nursery

Columbia Station, Ohio, USA

 Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower 


Monarch on Cardinal Flower
Odd Looking Hummer!
Cultivation Information
Height - 2-3 feet
Flower Color - Red
Blooms - July - September
Sun - sun to light shade
Hardy Zone - 3 -9
Soil -moist to wet/rich humus
pH -4.0-6.0
Family – Campanulaceae

Plant suitable for Rain Gardens. Plants will do well in sunny locations if they remain moist

Cardinal Flower
Cardinal Flower - Roger Dahlin
Cardinal Flower Seeds
Cardinal Flower Seeds Are Very Tiny
Wildlife Significance
Nectar Source - Butterfly, humming birds and Bumblebees.

- Flowers that attract humming birds attract Sphix moths, both have a long "tube like" mouth piece that works like a straw. Moths are " dinner" for birds that feed at night, like Night Hawks and Whiporwills.

Birds - Butterflies, moths and skippers are all a high protein food source for birds

Deer - Are not fond of this plant

For more details on this plant visit the Illinois Wildflower site.
Hummingbird on Cardinal Flower Jim Wohl
Hummingbird on Cardinal Flower - Jim Wohl
Cardinal Flower -  Has no scent and is primarily propagated by Humming birds. Birds have no sense of smell but humming birds are attracted by the deep red color.

Most important their long bill can reach down into the flower unlike most insects and bees

Historically Speaking

In early times, the Iroquois Indians in the State of New York used the plants for cough medicine.

Seed Provenance - Nodding Onion Gardens - 2012 - present -  Prairie Moon Nursery, Winona, MN - 2010 - 2011
Cardinal Flower - Lobelia cardinalis
Lobelia cardinalis - Roger Dahlin
Ohio Native Plant - Natural Range -

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has a wonderful map showing the natural range of Cardinal Flower.
Cardnial flower seed
Seed almost but not quite ready
Propagation Notes -

Collecting Seed -
Wait until seed is dark brown, dry in a paper bag before cleaning and storing

Outside - Seeds seen to germinate best when temperatures reach 70º F. Seeds need light to germinate don't cover them with dirt

Stratifying Seeds in Refrigerator - 2012

December 15, 2012
- Seeds placed in Cold Moist Storage

Supplies Needed For Seed Stratification -

1. Zip lock plastic bag

2. Few table spoons of Vermiculite

3. Dampen vermiculite - not soggy

4. Store in refrigerator for 60 days

Sprouted - 2-18-2012 - Many!
Night Temperature - 61 - 63°F

Day Temperature - 64 - 65°F -Under florescent lights

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Protected Native Plant list shows this plant and its cousin the Great Blue Lobelia are exploitably vulnerable native plants likely in the near future throughout all or a significant portion of their range with the state if causal factors continue unchecked.
Cardinal Flower - Lobelia cardinalis
Ken & Paula Kober's Garden