Rose Campion

Rose Campion

Take a subtle but striking neutral color, then add a brilliant dash of color. No, it’s not a fashion tip—it’s the reason rose campion is so appealing. This easy-care plant forms basal clumps of softly hairy, silvery gray-green leaves topped with many branching stems that bear bright rosy magenta flowers. Each flower lasts only a day but there are plenty of them, and the bloom period lasts from late spring through midsummer. Rose campion self-seeds readily; you may have to pull seedlings, but allow some to remain so they can replace the short-lived parent plants.

Common name: Rose campion

Rose Campions
Rose Campions
  • Botanical name: Lychnis coronaria
  • Plant type: Biennial or short-lived perennial
  • Zones: 4 to 8
  • Height: 2 to 3 feet
  • Family: Caryophyllaceae

Growing conditions

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Soil: Well-drained, loamy or sandy
  • Moisture: Average to dry


  • Mulch: None, or a thin layer (1 inch) of organic mulch
  • Pruning: Deadhead to reduce self-seeding, if desired.
  • Fertiliser: Apply compost in spring.


  • Seeds

Pests and diseases

  • No major problems.


Lychnis Coronaria Alba
Lychnis Coronaria Alba
  • ‘Alba’ has white flowers.
  • Gardener’s World (‘Blych’) has ruffly, double red flowers that look like miniature carnations.
  • ‘Angel’s Blush’ has white flowers with a pink eye.

Garden notes

  • Rose campion is a great choice for informal cottage gardens, difficult dry sites, and any well-drained garden that needs a bit of neon colour.
  • Make the most of the silvery foliage by shearing back top growth after flowering; you’ll reduce seeding and end up with a nice mat of foliage for the rest of the growing season.
  • Gardeners with a taste for drama may combine the vivid colour of rose campion with other shockingly bright flowers like orange-flowered Maltese cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) and purple-flowered clustered bellflower (Campanula glomerata).

All in the family

Dianthus Spp
Dianthus Spp
  • Rose campion is a member of the pink family (Caryophyllaceae), which includes such familiar garden flowers as dianthus and carnations (Dianthus spp.), baby’s breath (Gypsophila spp.), and various campions (Lychnis spp.).
  • Some taxonomic references now list rose campion under the botanic name Silene coronaria.
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