Silene regia

Royal Catchfly

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Item #: 3032

Zones: 5a to 9b, at least

Dormancy: Winter

Height: 48" tall

Culture: Sun to Part Sun

Origin: United States

Pot Size: 3.5" pot (24 fl. oz/0.7 L)

If you haven't tried royal catchfly, Silene regia, you have missed one of the truly great Eastern US natives. Silene regia has a limited and scattered range from Illinois south to Florida in mostly prairie habitats. Emerging from a basal rosette, the tight clump of flowering stems shoot upward to 2.5-4' tall, clothed to the top with long smooth green leaves. In June/July, the sticky stalks (which actually catch insects) are topped with terminal inflorescences of hundreds of exquisite 5-petaled screaming hot orange-red flowers. We have found Silene regia quite easy to grow in a variety of decently-drained soils. Royal catchfly has high shock value in the perennial border and is a favorite of hummingbirds, swallowtail butterflies, and gardeners of all persuasions.


Royal Catchfly requires little more maintenance than cutting the spent flower stalks to the ground when they are no longer attractive. This could be any time between as soon as it is done blooming in late summer or in spring before new growth starts. Sprinkle the seed about the garden or collect them and sow them in a pot if more plants are desired.

Growing Conditions:

Royal Catchfly is easily grown in full sun to part sun in average soil. Avoid soggy soil.

Garden Value:

This is a showy plant blooming for several months in midsummer. The flowers are very similar to its well-known, close cousin Fire Pink (Silene virginica). Both are 5 petaled scarlet stars but those of the Royal Catchfly are produced atop 4' tall stems. It is a very slender plant, perhaps only 12 to 18" tall despite its 4' height so it can be tucked amongst many other plants. Hummingbirds and other pollinators will visit the flowers.

Natural Impact:

This is a rare native that is easily grown in gardens so growing it can aid in preventing its extinction. Grow additional plants from seed and plant more in your garden and share with other gardeners and gardens. Growing it will also support pollinators.