The brilliant scarlet-colored flower of this summer-blooming North American species was considered the finest red in nature upon its introduction to Europe in 1629. Cardinal Flowers grow in moist woodland areas of Monticello, although the seed Thomas Jefferson sowed in a Monticello oval flower bed in 1807 was probably obtained from Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon. Jefferson-documented: Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) was documented by Thomas Jefferson in his Garden Book, Notes on the State of Virginia, or other writings.
Sow seeds indoors 8-12 weeks before last frost date at 70 degrees F. To improve germination, provide 30-60 days of cold, moist stratification before sowing. Transplant to 3” pots once they have several true leaves, then harden off and transplant outdoors after last frost. Approximately 125 Lobelia cardinalis seeds per packet.
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