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For Your Garden - July 2008

Listen to the podcast (English or Spanish) of this information.
 
Click here to read the Spanish-language translation of the text.
 
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)      
Photo © 2008, Adele Hodde, IDNR Office of Public Services.
 
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.

Native Plant Information

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For more information about native Illinois plants, including where to purchase them and planting guides, view the following publications at our publications page. You can access more information on the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant page, too.
 
  • Prairie Establishment and Landscaping
  • Landscaping for Wildlife
  • Butterfly Gardens