Want to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your shady garden, and you have too many rabbit or deer visitors? Planting cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is your answer. A Southeastern native perennial, the cardinal flower grows best in moderately moist to wet, organically rich soils. It’s also an excellent addition to a rain garden or near partially shady ponds or streams. This beauty will grow 2 to 4 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide, and the scarlet-red flowers bloom from July to September. Cardinal flower makes a great addition to a garden setting where rabbits and deer are frequent dinner guests, but the flowers readily attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
For more information on growing perennials, please see HGIC 1153, Growing Perennials.