Rose Campion Plants: How To Grow and Care For Lychnis Coronaria

Campions are perennial flowers commonly grown in flower beds, indoor pots, and tubs.

Lychnis coronaria [LIK-niss] [kor-oh-NAR-ee-uh], also known as Silene coronaria and rose campion, is the most popular Campion a flowering perennial.

The genus name ‘Lychnis’ mean ‘lamp’ in Greek and Coronaria comes from the Greek word “used for garlands.”

Flowers of Lychnis Coronaria up close

There are many varieties and hybrids but Lychnis coronaria has several common names. Besides rose campion, it goes by:

  • Catchfly
  • Rabbit’s ears
  • Crown pink
  • Mullein pink
  • Lamp flower
  • Dusty miller
  • Alba
  • Bloody williams
  • Silver-gray

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.