Lychnis coronaria is a superb plant for a sunny border. Rosettes of soft silver-grey felted leaves make a very useful plant in the garden, they contrast well with the vivid magenta flowers which appear in late summer. Thriving in dry soils and full sun it associates well with other grey leaved foliage plants such as artemisia.
It can be grown as a border plant or as part of a mixed perennial display. Lychnis will produce a big showy display that maintains interest in the border at a time when many other plants are flagging.
Lychnis coronaria is a clump-forming perennial but often grown as a biennial as it is short lived but does seed itself. This attractive sun loving perennial prefers a relatively fertile dry soil in full sun, but is an all round tough plant that is very suitable for problem areas, it tolerates full sun and sandy, drought-prone soils and is suitable for exposed coastal planting.
In his book "Garden Flowers", Christopher Lloyd dared his readers to "… allow the magenta-flowered Lychnis coronaria to seed itself around a colony of Crocosmia 'Lucifer'. I haven't taken the dare myself, but can visualise a festival of fiery attention grabbers wildly dancing for our appreciation”.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
Lychnis coronaria was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 1993.
Sow in late winter to late spring or in late summer to autumn at temperatures around 20 to 24°C (68 to 70°F). Sow the seeds into trays, cells or pots containing good quality seed compost.
Sow on the surface and do not cover, as light aids germination of seeds. Water from the base of the tray.
Place in a propagator or warm place, ideally at 20 to 24°C (68-70°F). Keep the compost moist but not wet at all times. Germination 21 to 30 days.
Prick out each seedling as it becomes large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out, space 15cm (6in) apart.
Grow in any moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Overwatering or prolonged summer rain in heavy ground may cause rotting. Grows best in full sunlight but will tolerate shade for part of the day.
Apply a generous 5 to 7cm (2 to 3in) mulch of well-rotted compost around the base of the plant in early-spring. A little complete plant food may be given in early spring.
It is worth keeping in mind that these plants are short lived perennials or biennial, so although they usually self-seed freely, the plant will only live for a couple of years.
If you do not want plants to self seed deadhead as the flowers fade. This should also prolong blooming. Cut back the faded flowerheads in late autumn after they have released their seed.
City/Courtyard Gardens, Coastal, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flowers Borders and Beds, Low Maintenance, Patio/Container Plants or Prairie Planting
Lychnis coronaria is native to Asia and South-eastern Europe. It is a species of flowering plant in the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae.
Pronounced LIK-nis ko-ro-NAH-ree-uh, The thick woolly leaves of this species were once used as lamp wicks, which contributed to its Genus name Lychnis, it is derived from the Greek word lychnos, meaning ‘lamp’, in reference to its historic use as a lamp wick.
It is believed the epithet coronaria, comes from its meaning crown. (the word literally means ‘used for’ or ‘belonging to garlands’) however, it could be a derivative of the French word, campagne, which means country.
In many places of the world it is also referred to as Silene coronaria. Silene is related species and another member of the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae
Common names include Dusty Miller (this also refers to Centaurea cineraria and Senecio cineraria), Mullein-pink, Rose Campion, and Bloody William.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
- Additional Information
Packet Size 135mg Average Seed Count 200 Seeds Genus Lychnis Species coronaria Synonym Agrostemma coronaria, Agrostemma atrosanginea Common Name Bloody Mary, Corn Rose Other Common Names Bloody Mary Bloody William Dusty Miller Mullein Pinks Rose Campion Silene coronaria, Catchfly Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Mid to Late Summer Foliage Grey/Silver (Semi Evergreen) Height 1m (3ft) in 1-2 years Spread 50cm (1.5ft) Position Full Sun Aspect East, West or South facing. Exposed or Sheltered. Time to Sow Late winter/late spring and late summer/autumn at around 20-24°C (68-70°F) Germination 21 to 30 days. Notes often grown as a biennial