Discover Nature: Cardinal Flower Blooms | KBIA

Discover Nature: Cardinal Flower Blooms

Sep 15, 2020

This week along Missouri waterways, watch for one of our state’s bright-red wildflowers in full bloom.


Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) grows in wet environments – especially along Ozark rivers and streams, in openings of bottomland forests, ditches, sloughs, swamps, and lakes. It also grows well in cultivated rain gardens with rich, wet soils, and tolerates medium shade. 


From July to October, bright red flowers in dense racemes emerge from up-to-five-foot-tall stalks. Numerous alternate, dark-green, lance-shaped and finely-toothed leaves grow to six-inches long. 


These showy native wildflowers in the bellflower family attract pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds. 


In the waning weeks of summer, watch for the bright red flowers of cardinal flowers, feeding our late-season pollinators, and providing a splash of vibrant color along your local stream or rain garden.  


Learn more about cardinal flowers and other Missouri-native wildflowers at


Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.