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The flowering Silene Viscaria [sy-LEE-nee, vis-KAR-ee-uh] is an upright perennial with rosy-pink blooms. Perennials are those flowers that come back every year.
It’s found in a variety of areas throughout Asia and Europe.
Silene viscaria often grows wildly in sandy meadows, rocky cliffs, ridges, and roadsides.
Common names include:
- Clammy campion
- Viscaria flower
- Sticky catchfly
Viscaria flower is a beneficial garden plant, helping to boost the disease resistance and overall health of nearby plants.
It contains brassinosteroids, which is often used in plant strengthening formulas and fertilizers.
Viscaria Flower Care
Size and Growth
Viscaria flower starts as small tufts of foliage. The grass-like tufts eventually reach up to 5″ inches tall and produce flowering stalks.
The stalks reach 12″ to 18″ inches tall. Just below the leaf joints, the flower stalks contain a sticky substance.
The sticky stems trap insects trying to reach the flowers. This is different than a sticky residue on plant leaves.
Flowering and Fragrance
Silene viscaria is a late bloomer, with flowers arriving towards the end of spring.
The flowers are reddish-purple and grow in groups of three to six panicles.
The flowers are small, measuring about half an inch, and last for about a month.
They don’t have a noticeable fragrance.
Light and Temperature
Place silene viscaria in a spot with full sun for at least half of the day.
It can tolerate areas with partial shade, but the strong sunlight brings out the color in the flowers and promotes stronger stems.
Viscaria flowers can survive freezing conditions.
It’s suited to USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8, covering most of North America.
Watering and Feeding
Viscaria flowers can tolerate drought for short periods. It’s an undemanding plant.
Check the soil about once per week throughout the growing season.
If the top several inches of the soil is dry, water the plant thoroughly.
Avoid watering in the middle of the day, especially on bright, sunny days.
Water in the morning or evening.
If the soil becomes waterlogged, loosen the soil with a shovel.
Waterlogging increases the risk of root rot, which may kill the plant.
While fertilizer isn’t required, it helps promote healthier growth.
Use liquid fertilizer for plants when watering during the summer.
For best results, add the fertilizer once per month throughout the warmer months.
Soil and Transplanting
Normal garden soil works well for growing viscaria flowers.
It grows best in slightly sandy or loamy soil.
Transplant potted plants every few years to replace the soil or to provide a larger pot for the root system.
Deadhead flowers to encourage fuller blooms.
Trim the inflorescences to about 2″ inches.
The stems and branches should also receive grooming after the bloom.
Trim back the plant before the seeds mature to limit the spread of seeds and new growth.
How to Propagate Silene Viscaria
- Propagate from seed, offsets, or division.
- When planted outdoors, silene viscaria should self-seed freely.
- Monitor the area around the plant for seedlings.
- Wait for the seedlings to grow several inches before spacing them out or transplanting to other areas.
- Collecting or purchasing seed allows for new plants.
- Start seeds in small pots using fertile, evenly moist soil.
- The best time to start the seeds is between February and May, before the arrival of summer.
- The seeds take about two weeks to germinate when kept at temperatures between 64° and 68° degrees Fahrenheit (18° – 20° C).
- After the viscaria flowers start to produce grass-like tufts, transplant them to their permanent homes in garden beds or plant containers.
It’s also possible to propagate by division. In fact, dividing older plants is often necessary to renew their lifespan.
- Carefully dig up the soil around the plant.
- Remove the tuft of grass-like growth and the clump of roots underneath it.
- Loosen the soil around the roots and divide the plant into at least two sections.
- Plant each section in a different spot, spacing them at least 16″ inches apart.
- Divided plants may also be placed in containers and grown as houseplants.
Silene Viscaria Pest or Disease Problems
Viscaria flowers do not suffer from any serious pest or disease problems.
The high amount of brassinosteroids helps protect it and surrounding plants from common plant diseases.
However, slugs and snails may damage the foliage of outdoor plants. Learn more slug control.
To protect against slugs and snails, place a layer of gravel around the plants.
Adding broken eggshells or coffee grounds may also deter the pests.
If slugs or snails appear, remove them by hand.
Placing slug or snail bait near the plant may also keep them from climbing on the viscaria flowers.
While the plant has strong compounds to protect against threats, it’s not considered toxic.
However, ingesting any parts of the plant may lead to mild stomach discomfort.
Suggested Viscaria Flower Uses
Use to add a colorful border to a rock garden or other dry areas.
The plant grows well in spots with a lot of sunlight and warm temperatures.