Ask a Question forum: Cardinal flowers and azalea turning white

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Bronx NY
jaynsand
May 31, 2018 10:08 AM CST
Last year I planted some cardinal flower plants in my garden, which bloomed a gorgeous red for months. I liked them so much I bought seeds and planted them as well. The old plants resprouted this year, the seeds grew new plants, but they've all bloomed WHITE flowers this year. A month ago my erstwhile pink azalea also bloomed white, which makes me think there's a common cause. What to do?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 31, 2018 12:45 PM CST
Welcome!

Can you post some photos?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Bronx NY
jaynsand
May 31, 2018 8:10 PM CST
Thank you for the welcome!

Here's a picture. You see aside from the color the plants look healthy enough (at least to my dilettante eyes):
Thumb of 2018-06-01/jaynsand/d3ca96

Name: Virginia
Charleston, SC (Zone 8b)
Köppen climate classification Cfa
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scvirginia
May 31, 2018 9:44 PM CST
I can't say what happened with the azalea, but the lovely flowers you posted a photo of do not look like Cardinal Flowers (which can be white), but more like Penstemons, a different species of plant altogether from the Lobelias.

Your plants do look healthy, but I wonder if the seeds you bought could have been mislabeled? And possibly the plants that bloomed last year have not survived, or have not yet bloomed?

Hopefully, someone else will chime in. I planted a Cardinal Flower once, but it didn't like my conditions enough to stick around.

Good luck,
Virginia
[Last edited by scvirginia - May 31, 2018 11:05 PM (+)]
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Bronx NY
jaynsand
May 31, 2018 9:51 PM CST
Funny, the leaves of the old Cardinal plants lived through the winter and it LOOKED like the shoots came from them. But I bow to your greater experience (Goes off to look up Penstemon...)
Name: Virginia
Charleston, SC (Zone 8b)
Köppen climate classification Cfa
Image
scvirginia
May 31, 2018 10:25 PM CST
Here are a coupla photos of white Cardinal flowers if you want to compare them to your plants:
https://www.wildflower.org/gal...
https://www.wildflower.org/gal...

The flowers and leaves in your photo didn't look the same to me, but have a look at some online photos of Lobelias and Penstemons, and see what you think. I'm just going by the one photo, but photos aren't always the best way to ID plants...

The white looks pretty with the red rose, IMO, so maybe that's serendipity.

Virginia
Bronx NY
jaynsand
May 31, 2018 10:29 PM CST
You're right, they do look quite different - though they look slightly like some of my plants that haven't bloomed yet, so maybe there's hope...
Thanks for all your help!
Name: Virginia
Charleston, SC (Zone 8b)
Köppen climate classification Cfa
Image
scvirginia
May 31, 2018 10:49 PM CST
I hope your Cardinal Flowers from last year just haven't bloomed yet, but will get a Round Tuit.

If they bloom later than the white flowers, that's an extended bloom season, and you should pat yourself on the back for being so clever. Thumbs up

I may try growing Cardinal Flowers again since I'm having good luck with their close relative, Great Blue Lobelia:
https://www.wildflower.org/gal...
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
May 31, 2018 10:55 PM CST
Virginia is right. Those are white Penstemons.
It could, possibly, be this species


Lobelia cardinalis doesn't generally start blooming until July or later so there is still hope. Big Grin

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