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For Your Garden - July 2008

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Wildflowers bloom abundantly in July. Have you included any native wildflowers in your garden? Native wildflowers are resistant to cold and drought and are rarely attacked by disease and insects. They are perennials that you can enjoy year after year without having to provide them with much care.

cardinal-flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

The brilliant red blossoms of cardinal-flower are present from July through October. Each flower may be two inches long, and the flower has an upper two-lobed lip and a lower three-lobed lip. This plant naturally grows in marshes, wet meadows, wet prairies and along streams, ponds and lakes, so you will want to be sure that there is plenty of soil moisture available where you plant it. The cardinal-flower plant can grow very tall if conditions are favorable. Leaves are arranged alternately on the stem. The leaves and stem are usually fuzzy. A single leaf may be up to eight inches long and two and one-half inches wide. Cardinal-flower can be found throughout Illinois.

Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.

Illinois Range

Native Plant Information

For more information about Illinois native plants, visit our Native Habitat Descriptions, Requirements, and Plant Lists page. The following publications are available from the IDNR on our publications page.


​Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Campanulales
Family: Campanulaceae

Illinois Status: common, native