- Silene Species, Bloody Mary, Bloody William, Lampflower, Mullein Pinks, Rose Campion
- Plant of the Week: Rose Campion
- Rose CampionLatin: Lychnis coronaria
- Lychnis Rose Campion Care
- How To Propagate Lychnis Campion
- What Are The Main Lychnis Pests or Disease Problems?
- Uses For Lychnis
- Rose Campion
- Review Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) – a plant with potential medicinal value
- Ravensong Seeds & Herbals
- Red Campion
Silene Species, Bloody Mary, Bloody William, Lampflower, Mullein Pinks, Rose Campion
View this plant in a garden
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Sun to Partial Shade
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 °C (-40 °F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 °C (-35 °F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
Where to Grow:
Unknown – Tell us
Pollen may cause allergic reaction
Unknown – Tell us
Unknown – Tell us
Late Spring/Early Summer
Unknown – Tell us
Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
By dividing the rootball
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Hazel Green, Alabama
Town Creek, Alabama
Arroyo Grande, California
Canoga Park, California
Citrus Heights, California
Long Beach, California
Los Angeles, California
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
San Jose, California
Santa Ana, California
Santa Cruz, California
Vista, California(9 reports)
Old Lyme, Connecticut
Old Town, Florida
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Villa Rica, Georgia
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Bossier City, Louisiana
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Dover Foxcroft, Maine
South Berwick, Maine
Hyde Park, Massachusetts
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Greenfield, New Hampshire
Neptune, New Jersey
Roswell, New Mexico
Bellmore, New York
Binghamton, New York
Brooklyn, New York(2 reports)
Croton On Hudson, New York
Hilton, New York
Himrod, New York
Hopewell Junction, New York
Levittown, New York
West Kill, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
High Point, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Tuxedo, North Carolina
Wilsons Mills, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Columbia Station, Ohio
Lewis Center, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Baker City, Oregon
Gold Hill, Oregon
Grants Pass, Oregon
Klamath Falls, Oregon
MOUNT HOOD PARKDALE, Oregon
Portland, Oregon(3 reports)
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania(2 reports)
Middletown, Rhode Island
Rumford, Rhode Island
Chapin, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Greenville, South Carolina
North Augusta, South Carolina
Pelzer, South Carolina
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Winnsboro, South Carolina
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Austin, Texas(2 reports)
Fort Worth, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah
Mc Lean, Virginia
South Boston, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Friday Harbor, Washington
Lea Hill, Washington
North Bend, Washington
North Sultan, Washington
Seattle, Washington(4 reports)
Spokane, Washington(3 reports)
Great Cacapon, West Virginia
Magenta and white-flowered rose campion, Lychnis coronaria.
Rose campion is one of about 20 species of perennials and biennials in the genus Lychnis. This group in the pink family (Caryophyllaceae) is closely related to – and is sometimes included in – the genus Silene. The genus Lychnis, from the northern temperate zone, is quite variable, but all species have vividly-colored flowers. The genus name, used by Theophrastus from the Greek work lychnos which means “lamp”, is thought to refer to the use of the woolly leaves as lamp wicks in ancient times. The common name of rose campion supposedly comes from the use of its flowers to make garlands for athletic champions.
L. cornonaria (also known by the synonyms Agrostemma coronaria, Coronaria coriacea and Silene coronaria) has small but showy, deep pink to fuchsia to magenta or white blossoms. It is a short-lived perennial or biennial from southeastern Europe hardy in zones 4-10. Most plants do not survive harsh winters after flowering, but it does readily self seed to perpetuate a planting. Despite its short life span, rose campion is certainly worth growing.
The leaves of rose campion are covered with fine hairs for a fuzzy appearance.
Sometimes called Dusty Miller for the soft, silvery-gray, velvet-like foliage (one of several completely different plants known by this common name), it forms Verbascum-like rosettes of leaves the first year and spreading mounds 2-3 feet tall in subsequent years. The greenish-grey-white stems and leaves are densely covered with silver-grey hairs, giving a fuzzy appearance. The opposite, lance-shaped leaves may be as long at 3” but are usually shorter. Plants remain evergreen in mild climates.
This plant has a strong upright habit (even leggy in rich soils) when it begins to flower. A profusion of flowers up to 1” across are produced in summer. The simple 5-petaled flowers occur in small heads (terminal cymes) held well clear of the foliage. The petals are typically in vivid shades of pink or hot magenta that contrast nicely with the silvery foliage.
Rose campion combines well with many other plants.
Rose campion combines nicely with pink, lilac, purple, and blue flowers and contrasts well with bright yellow flowers. It can also be paired with other magenta flowers such as winecups (Callirhoe involucrata) or phlox. The silver foliage helps tone down the intense flower color, and provides good contrast to dark green or purple-foliaged plants and variegated leaves. Use it with bright orange and yellow in a “hot” garden, or mix with pastels for a cooler effect. Try mixing it with petunias and Vinca minor as an annual planting. It can be planted around bulbs to hide the yellowing foliage. A single plant can perk up a border, while a group or mass of plants will provide a swath of subtle color.
The silver foliage in early spring.
As with many silver-foliaged plants, rose campion prefers fairly dry, well-drained conditions in full sun or partial shade, but will tolerate clay and moist soil. Deadhead regularly to encourage continuous flowering or shear after the initial flowering to promote a second flush of flowers later in the season. Removing the dead or faded flowers may also help overwintering. This plant has few insect or disease problems, and is not bothered by deer.
Rose campion adds a splash of bright color.
Rose campion is easiest to propagate from seed. It produces copious amounts of seed and will readily self-seed. To encourage self-seeding, don’t mulch around the plants. Leave the ground undisturbed around dead plants and seedlings will appear in spring. Thin the seedlings or transplant to other areas in late spring when large enough to handle. Space plants about 12-15” apart. The distinctive seedlings are easy to identify and easy to pull out if you don’t want them. Basal cuttings can also be taken in late spring.
A white L. coronaria flower.
A number of cultivars are available:
- ‘Abbotsford Rose’ has rose-colored flowers.
- ‘Alba’ has white flowers and a weaker growth habit.
- ‘Angel Blush’ has white flowers with a pink blush.
- ‘Atrosanguinea’ has very light foliage and deep magenta flowers.
- ‘Dancing Ladies’ is a mixture of white and carmine, usually with a darker eye.
- ‘Flora Plena’ has double flowers.
- ‘Oculata’ has white flowers with a pink or red eye.
– Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Plant of the Week: Rose Campion
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture does not promote, support or recommend plants featured in “Plant of the Week.” Please consult your local Extension office for plants suitable for your region.
Latin: Lychnis coronaria
Rose Campion is an old fashioned flower that inserts itself with ease in and around the garden. (Photo courtesy Gerald Klingaman)
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something – well – neon pink. Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria) is one of those old-fashioned plants that many gardeners kind of know, but it is surprising how seldom it is seen in the garden.
Rose Campion is a short lived perennial of the pinks family that originally came from southwestern Europe but has been so long grown in gardens it is found in most temperate climates around the world. It is clump-forming with wooly, mullen-like leaves that are elliptical in outline and about 5 inches long. When not in flower, the leaves cluster in a tight rosette but as the flower stalks emerge they are arranged opposite each other up the round stem, getting smaller as the stem elongates.
When in flower in late spring and early summer the plants reach 30 inches tall and wide with an open, airy look. The five-petaled flowers are to 1.5 inches across with the petals overlapping to form a saucer like blossom. Colors typically are in shades of hot pink, neon colored rose, white or graduated blends of white to pink. The black seeds are produced in plentitude in a peanut sized capsule if allowed to develop.
Rose Campion has been grown in gardens for at least 2,000 years. Its modern day Latin name is a direct translation from the name used for it by the Greek physician Dioscorides (40 – 90 AD) in his De Materia Medica which served as the go-to source for medicinal advice for 1,500 years and was the basis for most of the herbals that began to appear after 1550 when the printing press made such books possible. According to Dioscorides the name Lychnis is used because the plant leaves were wound together and used as a wick for oil lamps. The epitaph is “coronaria” refers to its use in making garlands. The good doctor advised soaking the seeds in wine and using it to treat the unfortunate soul bitten by a scorpion.
Though Rose Campion is a beautiful plant that has been grown in the Americas since at least 1596, it is rarely seen in the modern garden. Though seeds are offered in catalogs it has been primarily preserved as a pass-along plant amongst grandmothers who appreciate its no-fuss, no-muss staying power. It doesn’t work well in nursery containers because it is shy flowering until well established in the ground and most gardeners are reluctant to buy plants without flowers.
Rose Campion grows well in any good garden soil in full sun locations. Though it will tolerate dry conditions once established it needs moisture during the germination and early establishment period. It tolerates both acidic and alkaline soils. Seeds are best sown where the plant is to grow by broadcasting them in early fall. If started indoors, seeds require light and three weeks of moist chilling to ensure uniform germination.
If Rose Campion plants are cut back before the seeds mature it may be possible to force a second flush of blooms during midsummer. Shearing the plants back after flowering will prevent the plants from reseeding and thus encourage the perennial tendencies of the original plant. Because Rose Campion plants are iffy, especially in areas with high humidity and heavy clay soils that tend to be wet over winter, many gardeners grow this plant as a winter annual with seeds planted in the fall and then rip it out once seeds have dispersed during the following summer.
By: Gerald Klingaman, retired
Retired Extension Horticulturist – Ornamentals
Extension News – May 18, 2012
The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture does not maintain lists of retail outlets where these plants can be purchased. Please check your local nursery or other retail outlets to ask about the availability of these plants for your growing area.
Campions are perennial flowers commonly grown in flower beds, indoor pots, and tubs.
The genus name ‘Lychnis’ mean ‘lamp’ in Greek and Coronaria comes from the Greek word “used for garlands.”
There are many varieties and hybrids but Lychnis coronaria has several common names. Besides rose campion, it goes by:
- Rabbit’s ears
- Crown pink
- Mullein pink
- Lamp flower
- Dusty miller
- Bloody williams
Silene coronaria belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family and come from Southeastern Europe.
The beautiful blooms come in flower colors, from white to bright magenta flowers attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.
The plant is a common houseplant, as it’s easy to grow year-round indoors or outside.
In fact, after planting in a garden, it is harder to get rid of the rose campion than to keep it growing.
Lychnis Rose Campion Care
Size and Growth
Most varieties of lychnis share similar features. These plants tend to have bushy bases with tall, upright growth.
The stems may reach up to 16” inches. The leaves typically reach about five inches and have a woolly texture.
It has oval-shaped leaves, with larger leaves near the bottom.
The leaves are typically a solid green color but may appear silvery when grown in dry soil.
Rose campion is a perennial but doesn’t last for many years.
Most people grow it as a biennial or annual.
Flowering and Fragrance
The plant blooms in the middle of summer, with different varieties producing different flowers.
Rose campion, or lychnis coronaria, produces magenta-colored or rose-colored flowers with soft, round petals and white-flowers.
Lychnis x arkwrightii, another popular variety, produces scarlet flowers with a distinct appearance. These flowers look like small windmills.
In fact, in Denmark, people call the flowers red windmills.
While the flowers are lovely, they don’t produce a fragrance.
Light and Temperature
Lychnis grows well in almost any region, including areas that receive snowfall in the winter.
It’s a hardy plant, suited for USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8.
It prefers a cool environment before the bloom arrives.
To encourage a fuller bloom, keep the plant in a cold environment during the spring, ensuring the temperature doesn’t reach above 65° degrees Fahrenheit.
It may need to come inside to avoid the warmth and humidity of the spring.
After the flowers bloom, it can go back outdoors.
Give rose campion plenty of sunlight, especially when placed outdoors.
As with many silver-leaved foliaged plants, give rose campion a well-drained, fairly dry soil condition in full sun or partial shade.
If kept indoors, avoid placing in a window with full sun in the afternoon, as the constant UV exposure may scorch the leaves.
Watering and Feeding
Water the drought tolerant plant regularly during the active growing season. Reduce watering in the winter.
If kept in a pot or tub, avoid overwatering. Excessive moisture promotes rot and fungal growth.
Feed the plant between April and June, using standard garden fertilizer.
Campion plants are deer resistant and drought tolerant.
Soil and Transplanting
The type of soil depends on the variety.
Use porous soil with fast drainage for lychnis x arkwrightii. The soil should be light and rich.
If the soil has a clay-like consistency, add sand to the soil to improve drainage.
When growing rose campion (lychnis coronaria), use a light, porous garden plants soil.
When grown outdoors, divide or move the plant every few years to encourage a longer life.
If grown in a container, repot the plant each year in the spring.
If purchasing a mature plant , avoid planting outdoors until after it finishes bloom time.
Grooming and Maintenance
Rose campion doesn’t need grooming, but deadhead spent blooms encourages fuller growth and flowers.
Trim the stems back in the fall after growing slows.
NOTE: Cut flowers to discourage self-seeding. Cut the flower stems back, leaving just the foliage.
How To Propagate Lychnis Campion
Propagate from seed or division. Plants grown from seed should bloom in their second year.
Propagating Campion From Seed
- Sow seeds outdoors in the summer or indoors in the spring.
- Sprinkle the seeds over fertile and keep moist.
- If started indoors, stay in a bright spot.
- Water and feed the growing plants regularly.
- After the seedlings begin to grow leaves, thin them out.
- Space plants 12” to 15” inches apart or grow them in individual containers.
Propagating Campion By Division
- To propagate through division, wait until the spring when it’s time for repotting or replanting.
- Prepare the new pot with a thin layer of moist soil and apply mulch.
- Carefully divide the plant, separating at the roots.
- Water and fertilize the young plants throughout the spring and summer.
- While they may bloom the first year, they are most likely to bloom the following summer.
NOTE: If growing outdoors plants will do better if moved or divided once every 3 years.
What Are The Main Lychnis Pests or Disease Problems?
Aphids may attack the plant when it grows outdoors. Spray the plant with water to treat minor infestations.
For a severe attack, use a mild horticultural spray oil insecticide or try Neem.
Uses For Lychnis
Rose campion works well as a border plant, due to its short stature and solid growth.
Plant around the edge of a flower bed or window boxes, with taller plants behind the Campion.
To bring more color into the house, keep the plant indoors in a cool spot throughout the spring.
There was a bonus among the magenta rose campion( Lychnis coronaria) this year. A plant that bloomed white/pink appeared. This is rather rare variety of campion known as Lychnis coronaria ‘Alba’. The pink centered variety is known as ‘Angels Blush’. (See end of article for picture of ‘Angels Blush’) Curiously, there is reference to a bicolored form mentioned in a catalog printed by a Philadelphia nursery from which Thomas Jefferson obtained the seed for the Lychnis he planted at Monticello. It is not a new form. Since this is a naturally occurring plant that wasn’t purchased I’m not sure what exactly to call it but it does have the pink markings of ‘Angel’s Blush’ but they fade as the flower ages.
The genetics are obscure but most probably it is a recessive form. Bluebell Cottage Gardens Nursery in Cheshire England that retails the seed and plant of the white form makes the disclaimer that states, “we grow these from seed collected from white plants, but there is always the chance that one or two might pop up pink.” Apparently it does not take much in the way of cross pollination to cause the offspring of the white form to revert to the vibrant magenta that is more common. Presumably the white forms harbor a few genes for the darker form despite their color.
To understand how unusual it is to get the white or white/pink form one must perhaps grow rose campion and be aware of how prolific it truly is. The plant is a short lived perennial or biennial. The parent plants do not last long but they reseed prolifically. They are especially good for naturalizing as they don’t require pampering. They grow in almost any kind of soil as long as it drains well. In my yard they grow in a rocky, hard packed area that was once used to park a car. It is a dry area where even blue lyme grass is kept to a reasonable rate of growth. Queen Anne’s lace has just taken up residence and black-eyed Susans lead a stunted existence. The campion however thrive and continue to reproduce. There are now hundreds of them in this area and this is only the second time that the ‘Alba’ has appeared in at least 10 years.
The original white flowered plant appeared about 3 years ago. My initial impulse was to dig it up and isolate it from its colored brethren. In the end I left it where it was out of fear of killing it with the move. The hope was that it would come back or reseed itself resulting in a mixed stand. It did neither and I never saw another white one until this summer. This year the odd one grew in a totally different area but again in rocky well drained soil. It has also taken up residence in a shady location that gets little sun. This is contrary to what is advised for the plant, which is supposed to tolerate but not thrive in a semi-shady location.
The goal is to isolate the white campion from its more commonplace brethren and establish a patch of them that will breed true. Isolating them completely is impossible but if they self-pollinate there is a good chance that the seeds from the current plant will produce the ‘Angel’s Blush’ form. There is some indication that it does come true from seed. “The pink-eyed white-flowered form of the woolly, grey-leaved Lychnis coronaria comes quite true from seed but the pink eye varies quite bizarrely with the season and weather conditions.” This comes from a nursery called Plant World Seeds that breeds them and that has four different colors of Lychnis coronaria. They have in addition to the magenta variety the alba or white form, ‘Angel’s Blush’ with the pink eye and ‘Hutchinson’s Cream’ which has a white flower but creamy splashes on the leaves. The following is a website also might be helpful for those of you who save seed. It is a reader contributor database of plants that come true from seed.
There is some indication that rose campion seeds need to be stratified before planting. This is a hit or miss process in the home as keeping seeds in the refrigerator may or may not give them the chill factor they need. The easiest way to do it is to plant the seeds outdoors in the fall. I will be making sure that some of the seeds are sown at the base of the plant. If there is sufficient seed I’ll put some in a pot and sink the pot into the soil. Since the seeds need light to germinate I’ll cover the pot with glass or plastic that lets in the light. Hopefully, in the spring there will be more of this unusual form of rose campion.
Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) – a plant with potential medicinal value
Lychnis flos-cuculi L., Caryophyllaceae, contains a number of active compounds belonging to several chemical groups. Previous studies have led to the identification of phytoecdysteroids, triterpenoids saponins, volatile compounds, fatty acid derivatives, phenolic acids and flavonoids. Research on pharmacological activity showed that plant extracts inhibited the growth of bacteria and fungi. The antimitotic properties of preparations from the herb L. flos-cuculi were also reported. The phytochemical analyses demonstrated that this taxon contains pharmaceutically promising compounds, but more phytochemical and pharmacological studies of L. flos-cuculi are needed for further information regarding this plant. This review summarizes reports regarding chemical composition and biological activity of L. flos-cuculi as well as several cognate species, which pose opportunities related to in vitro propagation and cell and tissue cultures. In vitro-regen-erated plantlets could be a good source of genetically uniform plant material for future research.
Ravensong Seeds & Herbals
Rose Campion, Lamp-flower, Mullein-Pink
Lychnis coronaria (synonym Silene coronaria)
Caryophyllaceae (Carnation Family)
Very striking and ornamental, light silver-grey downy leaves contrasted with intensely bright magenta flowers. Blooms in late spring/early summer, flowers are long lasting and profuse. Excellent cut flower.
Easy to grow and will tolerate a variety of conditions. Ideally they are given regular well-drained soil and full sun exposure.
Seeds germinate easily and can be direct sown in fall or spring, or started in flats in the spring and then transplanted.
Plants are herbaceous and can be cut back to the ground. Flower stalks may be removed after flowering to prevent self-seeding. Very easy to grow, low maintenance. Looks beautiful in the herb garden next to Mullein (Verbascum thapsus).
Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Apothecary Garden, Xeriscape, Container Garden, Low Maintenance, Cut Flowers, Drought Tolerant.
Common Name: Red Campion
Scientific Name: Silene dioica
Range: Throughout British Isles
Habitat: Shady hedgerows and woodlands, normally on basic soil
Key Identification Features: Native perennial sometimes biennial with creeping rhizomes. Up to 80cm tall, hairy with lanceolate leaves in opposite pairs on the stem. Flowers May to November, flowers 20mm across with five rose-pink notched petals. Male and Female flowers grow on separate plants. It can hybridise with White Campion S. latifolia producing plants with pale pink flowers.
Confusion Species: White Campion is similar but with white flowers. Other campions such as Rose Campion Lychnis coronaria and Sticky Catchfly L. viscaria can also look similar.
Edible Uses: None, the high quantities of saponins make this plant none edible.
Medicinal Uses: None listed
Other Uses: Like many of the family including the closely related Soapwort Saponaria officinalis the plant contains significant amounts of saponins particularly in the roots. In the past they have been boiled in water and the water used to wash delicate linen. There are references to the plant (? the seeds) being used to treat snake bites.
Phillips, Roger. “Wild Flowers of Britain” (MacMillan, 1994)
Rose, Francis. “The Wild Flower Key” (Frederick Warne, 1981)