For Your Garden

July 2008

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 .

For more information about native Illinois plants, including where to purchase them and planting guides, the following publications are available through the IDNR order form at

Prairie Establishment and Landscaping

Landscaping for Wildlife

Butterfly Gardens