How to grow Lychnis coronaria

Lychnis coronaria is often called Rose Campion. This is one of our most beautiful and popular summer flowering garden plants and it’s easy to grow from seed. It’s a perennial plant producing tall silvery stems topped by deep pink flowers. Each plant grows to 60-90cm (2-3 feet) tall and spreads to around 50cm (18 inches). 

Lovely for cottage gardens, wildlife gardens and also more formal herbaceous borders, Lychnis coronaria flowers from June until August. They grow beautifully with all sorts of summer flowering perennials including Geranium, Grasses and Verbascum. Here’s Lychnis growing with Verbascum nigrum in a nearby garden. Verbascum nigrum is a wildflower and will usually grow bigger and stronger in the enriched soil of  your garden borders. This is a brilliant pairing for providing food for bees and other beneficial insects.

I remember the first time I noticed this stunning combination… I felt like I’d been slapped right in the eyes! I was thrilled to see the pink centre of each yellow Verbascum flower perfectly matching the Lychnis blooms. I really do believe that the best planting combinations generate an emotional response. I’m not sure if this pairing was deliberate or not, but either way it’s amazing.

Rose Campion blooms are wide open and are easy for Bees and Butterflies to land on. In fact they are great for lots of pollinating insects and recommended by the RHS as perfect for Pollinators too. Each individual Lychnis flower is upward facing which makes it jolly useful and attractive in the garden. Grow in full sun with well-drained soil for best results. If these bright pink flowers are just too vibrant for you there’s also a lovely white flowered variety which is very tasteful and perfect for summer flowers in white gardens.

How to Grow Rose Campion

Sow seeds indoors in January – April or September – November.
Sow direct May, June and July. Seeds germinate in 2 weeks at 16°C-21°C.
Seeds need cold stratification before sowing and require light to germinate so do not cover after sowing. You can see a simple explanation of STRATIFICATION on Overcoming Dormancy on the Resources Page

From a spring sowing (March) Blooms are produced in 12 to 14 weeks. From a maintenance point of view Lychnis is easy to look after. All you need to do is dead-head regularly to make sure that your plants continue to produce new blooms. If you allow seed heads to form then Lychnis will put all it’s energy into seed production and then self sow.      

Love from GillianI realise that the combination of bright pink and yellow may not appeal to everyone. It is a bit of a shocker! What’s your favourite colour scheme in the garden? Do you prefer pastels or bright colours?

Wishing you a lovely day and a flower filled 2019. Gillian 🙂


6 thoughts on “How to grow Lychnis coronaria

  1. Gillian did not know that there was Coronary Lychnis in white: they are beautiful like roses. Thank you very much for your advice on how to grow the seeds. As for the colors in the garden I have pastel areas and more daring areas. I love how the Lychnis coronaria rose with yellow. Have a good weekend. Greetings from Margarita.

    1. They are beautiful I agree Margarita. It’s interesting to know you like pastels and bright colours too. Enjoy your weekend too!

  2. I have always loved this sweet simple flower. Yes, to the yellow and pink POW combination, I love it. I have never seen the white variety – must look for some seeds. Kim

  3. It’s one of my favourites too. I am trying to keep a particularly dark strain going – not as easy as it sounds, as they are short-lived plants so I have to divide a couple every year.

    1. Is that the double form that doesn’t produce seeds? I’ve only seen photos of it, never grown it. Remembering to divide plants when you’ve got so much else going on is tricky.

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