Silene virginica

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 2 Professionals
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: fire pink
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Drought, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants prefer sunny sites in sandy or gravelly soils or in light loams with some part afternoon shade. Plants generally appreciate sharp soil drainage. Plants perform well on shaded rocky ledges. Plants are often short-lived. Some experts believe this plant grows best as a wildflower in its native habitat where it will freely self-seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Silene virginica, commonly called fire pink, is an herbaceous clump-forming perennial wildflower with downy and sticky stems that typically grows to 12-20” tall. It is native to rocky wooded slopes, open woods and thickets from western New York to Minnesota south to Georgia and Oklahoma. In Missouri, it is primarily found in the Ozark region. This plant features brilliant, scarlet red flowers (2” across), each with five spreading, notched-at-the-tip petals plus sepals which are united into a long sticky tube. Flowers bloom in spring (April-June) atop slender stems clad with narrow, lance-shaped, green leaves. Narrow basal leaves (to 4” long and 3/4” wide) are oblanceolate to spatula-shaped. Narrow stem leaves (to 6” long by 1 1/4” wide, but sometimes to as much as 12” long) are wider in the middle than at either end.

Genus name means catchfly or campion.

Specific epithet means of Virginia.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Best grown in meadows, open woodland areas or naturalized areas. May be used in border fronts or rock gardens.