Cardinal Flower Blooms Brightly

Cardinal Flower close up

Close-up of cardinal flower

A cluster of Cardinal flowers in bloom in a Brimingham garden

A cluster of cardinal flowers in bloom in a Brimingham garden

If your garden is shady and you want something to brighten it up in mid-summer, cardinal flower is for you. This native perennial loves shade and moist locations. The ones shown above are in my friend, Fred’s, garden. I think it is in almost the perfect location; shady, but on the edge of a sunnier space, and in a low space that you can easily keep moist. This is one of those perennials that also likes good well-drained soil for best result, and it seeds freely. While this is a good perennial for shady places and is a very dependable summer bloomer, it is not a long-lived perennial. They last three to four years at the most when I have grown them, but since they seed freely, I have had good luck with seedlings coming up and replacing the older plants. This is not a perennial easily found in local nurseries, but the native plant booth at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens plant sale always has them. This is a most desirable flowering native plant.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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