Lobelia 'Cotton Candy'
Common Name: cardinal flower
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Campanulaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Wet Soil


Easily grown in rich, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Needs constant moisture. Tolerates full sun in northern climates, but appreciates part afternoon shade in hot summer climates of the lower Midwest and South. In nature, lobelias are typically found in wet areas such as bogs, moist meadows and along streams. This hybrid is similarly well-suited to very moist soil conditions, but does surprisingly well in average garden soils as long as those soils are not permitted to dry out. Divide clumps in spring. Root mulch should be applied in cold winter climates such as St. Louis to protect the root system and to prevent root heaving.

Noteworthy Characteristics

'Cotton Candy' is a hybrid lobelia introduced by Thurman Maness. It is a vigorous, clump-forming perennial which features erect, terminal spikes (racemes) of cotton candy pink flowers on alternate-leafed stalks typically growing to 2-3' tall. Stalks rise up from basal rosettes. Flowers are two-lipped, with the three lobes of the lower lip appearing more prominent than the two lobes of the upper lip. Long late July to September bloom.


No serious insect or disease problems. Snails and slugs may damage the foliage. Hybrid lobelias have not performed well at the Kemper Center in St. Louis for reasons that at this point are unclear.

Garden Uses

Effective in moist areas of woodland/shade gardens, wet meadows or along streams or ponds. Also adds late summer bloom and height to borders as long as soils are kept uniformly moist.