SILENE

FAMILY: Caryophyllaceae

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Varies by Species

Plant Details

The plants listed here are North American wildflowers with showy white, pink, or bright red blossoms. Some grow upright; others form low mats. Excellent for use in naturalized areas, in woodland and rock gardens, and at the front of the border. Provide fertile, well-drained soil.

S. caroliniana. WILD PINK. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Native from Florida to New Hampshire, west to Missouri. Low-growing (4- to 8-in.-tall) mound to 1 ft. across. Bluish green leaves to 5 in. long; clusters of upward-facing, inch-wide, white to deep pink flowers with notched petals in late spring, early summer. Best in sandy or gravelly soil. Little to moderate water. 'Short and Sweet' has deep pink blooms.

S. laciniata. MEXICAN CATCHFLY. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Native to mountains of Mexico, New Mexico, and California. Somewhat sprawling, 2- to 3-ft. stems carry leaves 15 in. long. Blooms in summer, bearing showy, bright red, inch-wide flowers with deeply fringed petals. Likes full sun and lean soil. Little to moderate water. 'Jack Flash' produces brilliant orange-red flowers over a long period.

S. polypetala. FRINGED CAMPION. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Native to the southern Appalachians. Rare and endangered; be careful to buy only nursery-propagated plants. Dark green, spoon-shaped leaves to 4 in. long form a mat to 112 ft. across, 46 in. high. Blooms in late spring, bearing lovely soft pink flowers to 112 in. across; petal tips are deeply fringed, the fringes fading to white with age. Lovely plant for a woodland garden; needs partial shade and moist, well-drained soil loaded with organic matter. 'Longwood', a hybrid with S. caroliniana, has fringed, deep pink flowers and forms an evergreen mound to 8 in. high.

S. regia. ROYAL CATCHFLY. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Native to eastern U.S. To 34 ft. high, 1122 ft. wide. Slender, often reclining stems carry thick, lance-shaped leaves to 5 in. long. Small clusters of 2-in.-wide scarlet blossoms appear in summer. The common name catchfly comes from the sticky calyxesthey can trap small insects. Best in partial shade. Little to moderate water. 'Prairie Fire' is vigorous and free-blooming.

S. virginica. FIRE PINK. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Native to eastern and central U.S. Narrow, lance-shaped leaves to 4 in. long in a clump 12 ft. tall and 1 ft. wide. Clusters of inch-wide crimson flowers with deeply notched petals in late spring or early summer. Regular water.

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