Cardinal flower Lobelia × speciosa 'Tania'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
lobelia 'Tania'


The Lobelia × speciosa 'Tania', commonly known as the Tania Cardinal Flower, is a striking perennial known for its unique and vivid appearance. This plant features showy spikes of flowers, which are a deep, reddish-pink hue, combining the richness of red with the cool undertone of purple. These blossoms are densely packed along the flower spikes and are tubular in shape, which adds an interesting textural element to the plant's aesthetic. Each individual flower is relatively small in size but together they create an impressive display. The foliage of the Tania Cardinal Flower is equally appealing, typically consisting of dark green leaves that are lance-shaped with finely serrated edges. The contrast between the dark foliage and the bright flowers makes for an eye-catching combination in any garden setting. The leaves are arranged in a basil rosette, which means they grow in a circular pattern closer to the ground, with flowering spikes rising above this foliage clump. Overall, the Tania Cardinal Flower is admired for its bold flowering spikes and deep-colored blossoms, which add a splash of color and elegance to any setting. It's a favored choice for gardeners looking to create a focal point with plants that have a rich palette and a dramatic floral presentation.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Cardinal Flower, Hybrid Lobelia

    • Common names

      Lobelia × speciosa 'Tania'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Lobelia, specifically Lobelia × speciosa 'Tania', contains several alkaloids including lobeline, which can be toxic if ingested in large quantities. If humans consume parts of the plant, they may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, dizziness, tremors, and even more severe reactions like hypotension or difficulty breathing in extreme cases. Ingestion in small amounts typically results in mild gastrointestinal upset. It is recommended to avoid consuming this plant and to seek medical attention if any significant quantity has been ingested.

    • To pets

      Just as in humans, the Lobelia is known to be toxic to pets due to its content of the alkaloid lobeline and other related compounds. In pets, symptoms of poisoning may include excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, tremors, and seizures. In severe cases, ingestion could lead to more critical conditions such as hypotension and respiratory difficulties. If a pet ingests Lobelia, immediate veterinary care is essential to manage the poisoning and avoid more severe consequences.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Adds vibrant color with its deep burgundy-red flowers and attracts attention in garden settings.
    • Attracts Pollinators: Invites bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, supporting local biodiversity.
    • Easy to Grow: Adapts well to a variety of soil conditions and is relatively easy for gardeners to cultivate.
    • Compact Size: Suitable for small gardens or containers due to its moderate growth habit.
    • Seasonal Interest: Provides a long flowering season from mid-summer to early fall, contributing to the garden's dynamism.
    • Deer Resistant: Less likely to be damaged by deer, making it a good choice for gardens in areas with deer populations.
    • Hybrid Vigor: Being a hybrid, it often displays improved growth and resistance to diseases compared to its parent species.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it can withstand periods of dry weather, making it suitable for xeriscaping.
    • Versatility: Can be used in mixed borders, wetland plantings, and as a focal point in garden designs.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Lobelia can be used as a natural fabric dye, where the flowers, leaves, and stems can potentially create a range of colors depending on the mordant used.
    • In art, the vivid colors of lobelia flowers can be used to make botanical prints or added to paint for a unique texture and color dimension.
    • Lobelia's dense foliage can provide a living mulch in the garden, helping to retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.
    • Due to its structure, lobelia can be utilized in garden design to create vertical accents in floral arrangements and borders.
    • Enthusiasts of model scenery, such as railway or diorama builders, sometimes use the fine, textured leaves of lobelia for crafting miniature trees and shrubs.
    • The nectar-rich flowers of lobelia can be used to attract and sustain beneficial pollinators to support biodiversity in the garden.
    • In culinary arts, the bright petals of lobelia can be used as a colorful garnish for salads and desserts, though they are not widely recognized as edible.
    • The robust nature of lobelia makes it a candidate for bioengineering experiments, like creating living structures or green sculptures.
    • Lobelia can be used in companion planting as a trap crop, attracting pests away from more valuable plants in the vegetable garden.
    • Educationally, lobelia serves as an excellent model for students to study plant growth habits, floral structure, and pollination mechanisms.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Cardinal Flower is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Cardinal Flower is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Distinctiveness: Lobelia, particularly the 'Tania' variety with its unique coloration, symbolizes the trait of being distinctive or standing out from the crowd due to its vibrant and unusual bloom.
    • Devotion: In Victorian flower language, lobelia was often associated with devotion or undying love, possibly due to the plant's perennial nature.
    • Malevolence (negative aspect): Some species of lobelia are known to be toxic, and thus in certain contexts, it could represent malevolence or ill will.

Every 2-3 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Cardinal flower 'Tania' prefers consistently moist soil, so it should be watered regularly. Aim to keep the soil damp but not soggy, which often means providing about 1 inch of water per week. During the hotter and drier periods, you may need to water twice a week, especially if the plant is in a container or if the soil is sandy. It is best to water deeply to encourage root growth, which means slowly watering until you see the excess water starting to seep through the drainage holes. Avoid getting water on the foliage, as this can increase the risk of disease. Always check the top inch of soil for dryness before watering again to prevent overwatering.

  • sunLight

    Cardinal flower 'Tania' thrives in partial shade, which means it does best with morning sun and afternoon shade, or dappled sunlight throughout the day. An ideal spot would be under the canopy of tall trees that provide filtered light or on the east side of a building. Avoid placing it in full sun, especially in hot climates, as this can cause the foliage to scorch and inhibit blooming.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Cardinal flower 'Tania' can grow well within a temperature range of 60°F to 80°F. The plant is tolerant to minimum temperatures down to about 50°F, but should not be exposed to temperatures below freezing. In summer, it is important to protect the plant from extreme heat above 90°F, which can stress it especially if accompanied by dry conditions.

  • scissorsPruning

    The Cardinal flower 'Tania' benefits from regular deadheading, which is the removal of spent flowers to promote more blooms and prevent self-seeding. Prune the plant back in late winter or early spring before new growth starts; this helps to maintain its shape and vigor. It is typically pruned once a year, but if the plant becomes leggy or overgrown, a midseason trim can be beneficial.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Cardinal Flower 'Tania' thrives in a well-draining, rich loam soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.0. A mix of garden soil, peat moss or coconut coir, and perlite or vermiculite is ideal, ensuring good aeration and moisture retention. Enrich the soil with compost or a slow-release fertilizer to provide essential nutrients for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Cardinal Flower 'Tania' should be repotted every 2-3 years or when rootbound. It is best to do it in spring before the new growth starts. Regular repotting ensures the plant has enough space to grow and access to fresh nutrients that help maintain its vibrant blooms.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Cardinal Flower 'Tania' prefers a high humidity environment; around 60% humidity is ideal. If grown indoors, it may benefit from regular misting or placement of a humidity tray nearby to maintain the required moisture levels.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright, indirect light and keep moist.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, keep soil damp.

  • circleLife cycle

    Lobelia × speciosa 'Tania', commonly known as Tania Cardinal Flower, begins its life cycle as a seed, which, when sown in spring, will germinate in warm, moist soil. After the emergence of seedlings, they go through a growth phase where they develop a rosette of basal leaves. As the plant matures, it sends up flowering stalks, generally in the second year for perennials, and blooms occur in late summer to early autumn, showcasing spikes of star-shaped, reddish-purple flowers. Following pollination, which is often aided by hummingbirds and other pollinators, the flowers give way to seed capsules that eventually release seeds, continuing the reproductive cycle. In colder climates, Lobelia × speciosa 'Tania' dies back to the ground after frost, but the roots remain alive and will regrow in spring if it is a perennial variety. To ensure continued vigor and longevity, Tania Cardinal Flower may be divided every few years in early spring, promoting more robust growth and preventing overcrowding.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time


    • The most popular method of propagation for the Lobelia x speciosa 'Tania', commonly known as the Cardinal Flower, is by seed. To propagate by seed, you should sow them indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. The seeds require light to germinate, so do not cover them with soil, instead, press them gently into the soil surface. Maintain a consistent soil temperature of about 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius). Keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged as overly wet conditions can lead to seed rot. Germination usually takes about 2 to 3 weeks. Once the seedlings are large enough to handle and after the danger of frost has passed, they can be transplanted into the garden, spacing them approximately 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) apart.