Cardinal flower: Lobelia cardinalis
Lobelia cardinalis is native to central, eastern, and southern North America. Cardinal flower is typically found in partially shaded areas along streams, in swamps, and in other low wooded areas. The cardinal flower, as it is commonly called, is one of the few flowers actually mentioned by George Washington as growing in his garden.
Cardinal flower is a moisture loving herbaceous perennial. Spikes of scarlet red flowers bloom from July to September reaching 2-4' high and 1-2' wide. Butterflies and hummingbirds love to feed on the nectar. In optimum conditions, it will self-sow and naturalize. Deer and rabbit resistant.
Sow seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before planting outside in the early fall or direct sow seeds into the garden. Press seeds gently into the soil. Do not cover. Keep the soil moist. Seeds germinate in about 3 weeks at a soil temperature of 75°F. When the plants are well established, they may be propagated by division in the spring or fall. USDA Zones 3-9.