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Mexican Cardinal Flower
Lobelia laxiflora

Family: Campanulaceae (kam-pan-yew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lobelia (low-BEE-lee-a) (Info)
Species: laxiflora (laks-ih-FLO-ruh) (Info)
Synonym:Lobelia mexicana

Category:

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Height:

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Danger:

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Red-Orange

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Foliage:

Evergreen

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Mesa, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Brentwood, California

Carlsbad, California

Fresno, California

Livermore, California

Los Angeles, California

Manhattan Beach, California

Mission Viejo, California

Riverside, California

Roseville, California

Sacramento, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

San Leandro, California

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Cruz, California

Simi Valley, California

Eustis, Florida

Mcdonough, Georgia

Bossier City, Louisiana

Austin, Texas (3 reports)

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

4
positives
1
neutral
0
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Jul 30, 2013, ClimbTheMtns from Walnut Creek, CA wrote:

I'm on the boarder of Neutral to Positive. As others have stated, the hummingbirds love this plant, however, if you don't control it, it'll spread and spread and spread. Mine is over 4' in circumference at about 4-5 years old. Dies back in our Zone 9 Winter *Walnut Creek, CA*
It definitely flops over - that's just it's nature! Easily transplanted from runners and even self seeds a bit.

Positive

On Jul 15, 2012, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

Not my plant but in the local botanical gardens, they grow this against a south facing wall, sometimes it will stay evergreen, but most of the time, it will be herbaceous here, returning from the ground. However it flowers without fail every year, and the flowers are really quite wonderful, with very warm colours.

Excellent addition if the climate allows for it.

Neutral

On Apr 5, 2012, missdaphne from Fresno, CA wrote:

This plant thrives on neglect in my hot, dry garden in Fresno, Ca. I first encountered it in a semi-shady pine glade at my sister's in Pacific Grove where it surely received much more moisture and less sunlight. I took a little piece of it home and got it started in my yard where it's flourished for years. The hummingbirds love it and I like the color. My only ambivalence, hence the neutral rating, is prompted by its rampant and floppy growth habit. No adjacent plant stands a chance without human intervention.
This is not a tidy, little plant.

Positive

On Jul 5, 2011, Anniesfollies from Carlsbad, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

The hummingbirds love this plant, as do I. The bright orange flowers add great color to the garden and it blooms prolifically almost year round. It is in the middle of an island planted with succulents and drought tolerant shrubs and takes the midday hot sun well with a minimum amount of water. However, it is a very vigorous grower and takes constant pruning to keep it from covering up other plants. Mine looks much wider than those in the Dave's Garden Images and it definately would be much to tight in the 9-12" spacing listed. Am I giving it too much water, or is this the nature of this plant? It has had no fertilizer since it was planted two years ago. I'm thinking of moving it somewhere where it won't interfere with other plants and replacing it with a 'Tiny Mouse' Cuphea, but thought I... read more

Positive

On Apr 14, 2010, otter47 from Livermore, CA wrote:

This lobelia is very different from the more familiar edging lobelia (Lobelia erinus) and the taller perennial species (L. cardinalis, L. siphilicita and hybrids of these), all of which like moist soil. Lobelia laxiflora thrives in my front yard that faces the hot southwestern sun with only occasional watering in the summer. I live in Livermore, CA, which has some of the warmest summertime temperatures in the Bay Area.