Lobelia laxiflora (Mexican Cardinal Flower), a small shrub native to Central America and Mexico, is known for its striking crimson, vinous flowers and adaptability in a variety of climates. This plant grows between two and five feet tall, and prefers to be planted in an area that is in either full sun or semi-shade, depending on the amount of heat it is exposed to. The Mexican Cardinal Flower does not require much water, but prefers to grow in areas with regular, moderate water for optimal bloom.
This annual flower should be planted in USDA Zone 9-11, and the mature plants can be up to very cold hardy for up to a short period in temperatures as low as the 30s F. In cold regions, Lobelia laxiflora should be planted in containers that can be moved to a warm location when necessary. When potting, use a well-drained, soil-based potting mix as well as mulch to conserve soil moisture.
In addition to its beauty, Lobelia laxiflora's flowers produce a nectar that attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, making it a popular addition to many gardens. While the nectar is safe, the plant itself can be toxic if ingested, so it is important to keep away from small children and animals.