This native biennial wildflower is a spectacular sight with thick spikes of bright red flowers atop sturdy, unbranched stems with needle-like foliage. The flowers bloom from the tip down and the plant’s silhouette gradually increases from top to bottom, giving the impression of an elongated Christmas tree. While it can grow to 6 feet, it typically grows 2 to 4 feet tall in a wide range of average to well-drained soils. Full sun is ideal, but it will tolerate light shade. The red, widely flared flowers with orange spots are a favorite of hummingbirds, which are attracted to tubular shapes and shades of red and orange. The first year of growth produces a rosette of fern-like foliage that sends up a flower spike in the second year. Remove the spent flower stalk to encourage additional stalks for summer-long blooms. The flowers release seeds to provide color for years. Mass in sunny borders, cottage and native plant gardens, and naturalized areas. The flower spikes are excellent for cut-flower arrangements.
Height: Up to 6’ tall but typically 2-4’ tall and 1 ½-2’ wide.
Sun: full to part sun.
Soil: dry and well-drained sandy, rocky, or loamy soils. Tolerates drought.
Bloom time: June-August.
Wildlife Value: Attracts hummingbirds and other pollinators. Deer resistant.
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