(Monet Moment Cardinal Flower) What a great, long-blooming perennial! The bright pink flowers of Lobelia 'Monet Moment' are plentiful and attract lots of buzz from butterflies and hummingbirds.
The unusually shaped tubular flowers of Monet Moment Cardinal Flower are slit nearly to their base to form two lips. The bottom lip has three lobes; the top has two. The flower spikes are tipped with tiny, mid-green leaves and rise up vertically out of a a clumping, basal rosette of foliage.
This rewarding American native grows quickly, is easy to cultivate and tolerates both heat and cold. Although it does fine with average watering, it loves moisture and thrives in damp spots including locations near ponds and bogs.
Although it enjoys full sun, Monet Moment still blooms like crazy when planted in partial shade. Try it in patio containers, borders and seasonal flowerbeds. It's especially ideal for woodland and native plant gardens.
The genus name Lobelia honors Flemish botanist Matthias de L'Obel (1538-1616) whose work focused on medicinal plants. Historically, some Lobelias have been used to treat asthma, baldness, depression, syphilis and withdrawal from smoking. Research continues about medical use of the genus. Please remember that no herbal substance should be consumed before consulting a physician.
(Swamp Milkweed) The light green of this Milkweed's slender, lance-shaped leaves compliment its rose-pink umbels of tiny, star-shaped flowers that smell like vanilla. As its common name implies, this plant is a great solution for saturated soils, such as in rain gardens and the edge of ponds. Yet it can get by on average watering based on local conditions.
This butterfly magnet tolerates heat and cold. Plant it as part of a tall perennial border in a sunny location. It forms upright clumps reaching up to 48 inches tall when in bloom and spreading 36 inches wide. Although slow to emerge in spring, it is a reliable perennial in USDA Zones 3 to 9. Planting bulb flowers in the same area can help to mark its location.
The Milkweed genus (Asclepias spp.) is native to America and particularly important to the endangered Monarch butterfly. Monarchs will only lay their eggs on Milkweeds. The roughness of the species’ fuzzy foliage makes it easy for eggs and chrysalises to connect. Monarch caterpillars consume powerful chemicals in the leaves which protect them as babies and adults against predators for whom the chemicals are toxic.
In spring 2013, The New York Times reported a precipitous decline in the Monarch butterfly migration due to causes including North America’s rapidly decreasing supply of Milkweed growing wild in agricultural fields. According to The Times , the increasing use of seed genetically modified to withstand herbicides has eliminated at least 120 million acres of Monarch habitat.
Backyard gardeners can help butterflies, including Monarchs, by planting nectar and host plants. Similar to predators, deer avoid it.
Photo Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder - Thank you!
(Sierra Madre Cardinal Flower) Butterflies and hummingbirds love the long, scarlet and orange trumpet blossoms of this Lobelia native to the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico.
Mexican Cardinalflower is another common name for Sierra Madre Cardinal Flower. In its scientific name, the term laxiflora refers to the looseness of this long-blooming, clump-spreading plant's flower stems. Angustifolia concerns the narrowness of its shiny leaves.
The Lobelia genus is named for French botanist and herbalist Matthias de l'Obel (1538-1616) who served as physician and botanist to Britain's King James I.
Sierra Madre Cardinal Flower triples in height when in bloom. It grows well in full sun to partial shade and tolerates heat. Although it thrives with average watering based on local conditions, this beauty also tolerates drought. It is perennial in a broad range of zones and, due to rapid growth, is a good bedding plant in areas with frigid winters. Plant it in rich soil.
(Giant Red Cardinal Flower) Similar to the plumage of a Northern Cardinal, the long-blooming flowers of this Lobelia hybrid are startlingly red. The tubular blossoms have lips that flare at their openings into petals shaped like poinsettia bracts.
When in bloom, Giant Red Cardinal Flower doubles in height. It's spectacular cardinal red flower spikes make dramatic additions to cut flower arrangements.
The clumping foliage, which forms a mound, has lance-shaped, mid-green leaves with serrated edges. Remember that young children and pets should not chew on the leaves due to their alkaloids.
Although the origin of Lobelia hybrids can be difficult to nail down, a number of sources identify Giant Red as a cross between L. cardinalis, L. siphilitica and L. fulgens. The first two plants are native to the U.S. while L. fulgens comes from Mexico.
Butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds all are drawn to Giant Red. The great news for gardeners who enjoy developing small wildlife habitat is that this plant is easy to cultivate and grows rapidly. Although it does fine with average watering based on local conditions, it loves wet feet. So it does well in and near ponds and boggy areas in full sun.
Plant Giant Red in containers, borders, native plant gardens and seasonal flower beds. It's especially ideal for woodland gardens.
Although this is a perennial species, most people in the U.S. who are familiar with Chinese Sage, probably know the annual variety Salvia chinensis . The perennial form is reliable; we’ve grown it for several years. However, little has been written about it.
We’d love to hear from you if you grow perennial Chinese Sage. Aside from its profuse panicles of dusky, mid-blue blossoms that bloom in summer, this medium-sized sage has striking foliage. The leaves have hairy bottoms and topsides that are glossy dark green with a purple sheen.
Water loving and heat tolerant, Chinese Sage is a particularly good choice for areas with humid, hot summers. The perennial form tolerates morning sunshine combined with afternoon shade, but prefers either full day partial or full shade. Give it rich, well-drained soil.
Perennial Chinese Sage works well as a groundcover or in a perennial border or woodland garden. Use it in moist parts of your yard. We have discovered that honeybees love it. However, similar to most sages, deer avoid it.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the correct name for this plant.
(Bog Sage) Highly adaptable, Salvia uliginosa is ideal for the beginning sage gardener. It isn't fussy about soil type, sun exposure, drainage or frequency of watering.
This fragrant sage's common and scientific names don't communicate its beauty or growing range. Both names refer to the boggy conditions in which it grows in the wild in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. However, although it appreciates moisture, Bog Sage also does well in dry conditions that cause this stoloniferous plant to spread less.
Lovely sky-blue blooms, with white beelines on the upper and lower lips, top the many slender, graceful stems from summer to fall. When swaying in the breeze at the back of a perennial border or as part of a screen, Bog Sage is a pleasing sight for butterflies, honeybees, hummingbirds and humans alike.
Although it has an average height and spread of about 40 inches with flower spikes making it a bit taller, Bog Sage sometimes can reach heights of more than 72 inches, according to Mississippi State University.
Partial shade is preferable, but Bog Sage also grows well in full sun in all but the hottest and most arid environments. Cold and heat tolerant, it grows well in regions ranging from the arid Rocky Mountain West to the humid Deep South. Give it partial shade if possible. Full sun is fine in all but the hottest and most arid environments. We always sell out of this plant early in the season.
Nature doesn't come to a sudden, overall halt, when the timing of its ecosystems slip, including ones involving hummingbirds. Instead, change occurs gradually. Plants and the animals that pollinate them have coevolved to meet each other's needs. An example is the long beaks of hummingbirds and deep, tubular flowers. Both sides of this survival equation suffer when the phenology -- or timing -- of hummingbird and plant connections is thrown off. Recent scientific studies explore these shifts and climate change. You can help by planting hummingbird habitat in your home garden. We detail ten nectar-rich Salvias and companion plants that are hummingbird favorites.
Hummingbirds love Salvia (sage) nectar and are attracted to it by the bright colors of tubular sage blossoms. In particular, these little whirlybirds can easily spot flowers in the red spectrum, which is prevalent among sages. Here are some hummingbird gardening tips.
Fragrance as well as color attracts butterflies. However, they don't have noses. Instead, butterflies smell and taste with their antennas and feet. Here are some ways to attract them: