bright red flowered perennial with 4 hours of direct sun

rouge21_gw(5)August 14, 2013

I need prompt help here GWers! (It is getting late in the season so supply of interesting plants is falling rapidly).

At first I thought it would be phlox ("Red Flame"?). But of course there must be tons of other possibilities.

It needs to be 3 feet tops in height and less than 18" in pretty compact. As well it must be deer "resistant".

I thought maybe as an alternative to a phlox paniculata could be Lobelia cardinalis but w/o going into too much detail this garden is very much clay with not the greatest drainage. So the plant we choose must be a bit forgiving.

I am all ears!

This post was edited by rouge21 on Wed, Aug 14, 13 at 18:09

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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I would certainly try lobelia in that situation - they can take 'wet feet' and clay too...

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 8:21PM
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I tried Lobelia cardinalis for several years in situations that were supposedly ideal - bummer, not worth the trouble. I hope there are other sugggestions, I'd like some bright red flowers, so far I've just gone with zinnias.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 9:36PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Maybe a red-flowered heuchera? Or a red sedum? Not sure on the clay drainage with that one though. There was that zingy red echinacea on the joyful plants thread.

Or hey, I hear there is this cool red daylily named Chicago Apache?

Just some random thoughts. Red flowers are not my strong suit.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 10:19PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

I grow Lobelia cardinalis and Lobelia cardinalis 'Queen Victoria'. Both are in clay, shaded by a large birch tree so 4 hours direct sun sounds about right. Both plants are doing spectacularly. When I planted them, I dug out the hole, mixed it with manure and added it back in.

Here a picture of 'Queen Victoria' taken a few weeks ago.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 11:47PM
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Thanks for the ideas everyone. Love that picture a2zmom. Have your lobelia returned each spring?

I had never even considered a (infamous) daylily...something to think about.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:26AM
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Rouge, I see you're in Z4. When we lived in Chicago, I grew that Lobelia cardinalis 'Queen Victoria', and it proved to not be very winter hardy. I had them on an eastern exposure, so they got morning sun. I think I tried them three times because I loved them so much, but I lost them all.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:37AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Perennial lobelias are short lived at the best of times. (see link below.) Some will come back from seed. If it's the 'right' plant for the look wanted in the garden, you just have to resign yourself to replacing it every now and then!

Here is a link that might be useful: cardinal flower

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:44AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

If you don't mind a bit of an orange tinge to the red, how about Helenium 'Ruby Tuesday'? Said to get only 2-3 ft tall and up to 18 inches wide, though I'm sure that is an overly conservative estimate.

Only four hours isn't ideal- I've found Heleniums usually bloom better in full sun. But it is worth a shot if nothing else fits the bill I guess ;-)

I don't have clay so am not sure about that factor. Maybe someone else can chime in with the answer to how Heleniums do in it...

This post was edited by christinmk on Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 11:11

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:01AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I couldn't be without my Lobelia cardinalis. Not only is it gorgeous, but the hummingbirds go crazy over it. It grows quite well in part sun, but must have good moisture. Clay and poor drainage is probably good! It's not that crazy about my well-drained sandy loam, but does okay.

I have some clumps that were purchased as mature plants in fall of 2007 so they are at least 8 years old. One of the tricks of getting Lobelia cardinalis to over-winter, is to remove most of the seed heads. Cardinal flower can exhaust itself going to seed. Usually I just run my hand up the shoot to remove the pods as they form. Leaving one stalk to go to seed is quite sufficient, since it makes many hundreds of seeds in each pod.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:10PM
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Lobelia and helenium do well for me in both clay and part sun.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:28PM
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Thanks terrene for the info re. Lobelia....very useful information re seed removal.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:42AM
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I use Heuchera Paris for their red blooms. Pretty much non stop from May to Octobe in my garden, which receives 3-4 hours sun. one plant sends off multiple bloom spikes constantly. Very cute. Only thing is that the plant is only ~1 ft tall, the blooms spike add another foot.

Another option is a red daylily, as you suggested. Chicago Apache is every where here in Chicago right now. They do add plenty of color. But most of the place they receive too much sun so the foilage can become yellow, which I personally do not like. Your spot maybe ok with less sun.

I have one daylilly shown below. It was labeled as Purple d'oro. Its flower is a very nice red, big and stands out from a distance. It is not the heaviest bloomer (because it only gets 2-3 hrs sun) but it consistantly blooms for at least 6 weeks, typically mid/late June to mid/late August.

Another red daylily I have is Ruby Stella. It blooms more and longer (since late June this year, it is still on going strong). But the flowers are smaller, less striking from a distance. I will take a picture tomorrow and post here.

In a couple of places, I use knockout roses (double red and double pink). Boy. They will bloom almost non-stop from May to late October, with only a couple of weeks break in between. They can get to 3 feet so you need to trim every spring to keep it shorter. I trim them after every flush of bloom and they pretty much stay within 3 feet.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 11:12PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

I just saw heuchera 'Paris' at the garden center today after seeing it here on another thread. *Want!* But all my spots are filled (and budget is exhausted). Next year, perhaps. I thought it was more cherry/dark pink than red, but no matter how you describe it, it's fabulous. Glad to hear it does well for you.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 12:12AM
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Yes 'karin', it is a wonderful heuchera. "Lipstick" does similarly well. You have something to look forward to next season.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 1:11AM
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Nice picture 'vivian'. I in fact bought both "Chicago Apache" and "Earlybird Cardinal" (and yet the spot is large enough for only one of these plants!)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 1:33AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

You bought them both?! Classic! Next thing you know, in order to accommodate both of them, you'll find yourself neck-deep in an overhaul. :)

I have to go back to the garden center today and I have a big coupon. Think I can get out of there without succumbing to 'Paris'?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 9:27AM
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Rouge, That is the way to go, getting both of them!

Karin, You are correct. Paris' blooms are more a hot pink than red. They are very cute though so watch out when you go to the garden center......

Heuchera Paris taken today, notice several new blooms....

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 3:21PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Fantastic photo Vivian! Thanks for adding to my plant lust. I managed to not buy it, but I did fondle it. :)

Next year!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Great picture 'vivian'.

Here is one of our "Paris" as of today:

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 1:33PM
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Rouge, Nice Paris and love the combo. I planted Paris for its long blooming periods and did not think I would like the foliage. But I was wrong. The foliage is an added bonus as well. It also surprises me with good sun tolerance. I am thinking about dividing and plant in another garden as well this fall.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:43PM
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why not try a crocosmia?
they have some wonderful varieties.
my favorite is 'lucifer' perhaps a taller plant than what you wanted originally, but worth a look. prefers moist soil, so I don't think slightly wet feet would bother him too much.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:37AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I tried Lobelia to try to attract hummingbirds, but they didn't come back for me after the first winter. I have clay but my garden is a really dry garden due to many Silver Maples in neighboring yards. Before I understood that I also tried Astilbes and I think I have one left that is barely hanging in there. I have brown edges on the leaves of a Viburnum, this year, even after all the rain we had. Never have a puddle in my yard either, no low spots for a little patch of Lobelia.

I am wondering about a plant that is a bulb that looks like a tapered bottle brush and comes in hot colors. I can't remember the name of it, sorry.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 6:45AM
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I believe there is a brick red Lilium canadense which might work. But I have read that deer like it.

Kniphophia and Crocosmia would need full sun I think.

When do you want this plant to be in flower? Is the shade from trees or buildings? ie permanent or seasonal?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 7:57AM
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Thanks for the continuing feedback but I have now planted both "Chicago Apache" and "Earlybird Cardinal" day-lilies. I am hoping that with EBC flowering early and CA blooming later there will be color for much of the summer in this section of the garden.

Even today "Apache" gives a hint at hopefully future floriferousness with this one bloom.

(The Crocosmia suggestion was interesting but the place I had in mind was not full sun and being in a z4 I think they might have difficulty overwintering)..

This post was edited by rouge21 on Tue, Aug 20, 13 at 17:18

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 8:20AM
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If you really MEAN BRIGHT RED, then I would suggest All American Chief daylily instead. It is the only one I've seen that I would call bright red, the rest are just red-wannabes. What's more, it actually grows and blooms!, unlike many other daylilies here. One of the few, who actually deserves its Silver Stout Medal.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 7:26PM
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