Lychnis – Perennial Plant, How to grow

Lychnis - Perennial Plant, How to grow

How to Grow Lychnis

Lychnis (lik-nis)

From the Greek lychnos, a lamp, alluding to the brilliantly-coloured flowers (Caryophyllaceae). This small genus from the north temperate zone of the Old World contains some good herbaceous perennials and one good hardy annual. Two of our most impressive wild plants, the red and the white campion belong here, and, in fact, are worthy of garden cultivation, the white one in particular for its extreme fragrance in the evening. There is a natural hybrid between these two plants which has delicate pink flowers. The ragged robin, L. flos-cuculi, is also a native plant quite worth growing in the wild garden. It is interesting that L. chalcedonica gives us the brightest scarlet in the herbaceous garden, while L. flos-jovis (syn. Agrostemma flos-jovis, A. coronaria flos-jovis) gives us the most saturated magenta to accompany its greyish foliage.

Species cultivated L. alba (syn. Melandrium album), white campion, 3 feet; May to August, Europe. L. alpina (syn. Viscaria alpina), 6 inches, pink, summer, Europe. L. arkwrightii, 1-i feet, scarlet, summer, hybrid. L. chalcedonica, 3 feet, scarlet, summer, Russia. L. coeli-rosa (syn. Silene coeli-rosa), rose of heaven, 1 foot, purple and various other colours, annual, Levant; L. coronaria, 2,5 feet, magenta, July and August, south Europe. L. dioica (Melandrium rubrum), the red campion, 3 feet, strong pink, summer, Britain. L. floscuculi, 1feet, ragged robin, rose-pink, May and June, Britain. L. fulgens, 9 inches, vermilion, May to September, Siberia. L. grandiflora (syn. L. coronata), 18 inches, salmon, summer, Japan. L. x haageana, 9 inches, very large scarlet flowers, hybrid. L. lagascae (syn. Petrocoptis lagascae), 9 inches, rose and white, summer, Pyrenees. L. viscaria (syn. Viscaria vulgaris), catchfly, 1 foot, reddish-purple, summer, Europe.

Cultivation Most lychnis are very easily grown in any kind of soil and can withstand dry conditions better than many other herbaceous plants. However, L. alpina and L. lagascae need rather richer soil. Some of these herbaceous plants are rather short-lived perennials—L. alba is almost biennial. All may be readily raised from seed sown in March in the open garden, as they are supremely hardy. The one annual species needs the standard hardy annual treatment.


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