Photo of Silene regia

Silene regia

Royal Catchfly

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Bright red, tubular flowers bloom June-August, attracting hummingbirds and large butterflies.

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Royal Catchfly’s bright red, tubular flowers bloom June-August, attracting hummingbirds and large butterflies. Relatively easy to grow in well-drained, slightly-dry, loamy, sandy or rocky soil. Prefers full sun; tolerates partial shade. Royal Catchfly grows a deep taproot, offering some drought tolerance once established. The common name reflects its sticky, hairy stem that traps climbing insects as a defense mechanism, who are then broken down by digestive enzymes exuded by the plant. Native to the prairies of the Midwest. Seeds drop in fall and need an open soil surface in order to germinate in spring. Pair with Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) as a companion in the native garden. For clay soil or partial shade, try Fire Pink (Silene virginica).

Wildlife Value: Ruby-throated Hummingbirds carry the pollen grains from one flower to another, as they sip nectar from within the deep tubular flower using their long tongue. Large butterflies are also equipped to drink nectar from the flowers, using their long proboscis.

Plant Details:

Plant Type: Flower, Perennial

New Jersey Native: No

Bloom Times: Summer

Bloom Colors: Red

Deer Resistance: Unknown

Attracts Pollinators and Wildlife: Butterflies, Hummingbirds

Salt Tolerance: Unknown

Hardiness Zone: 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b

Physiographic Region: All Regions in NJ

Soil Characteristics

Soil Type: Loam, Sandy

Soil Moisture: Dry

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic, Neutral, Slightly Alkaline

Light Needs of Plant

Optimal Light: Full Sun

Light Range: Full Sun, Partial Shade

Water Needs of Plant

Soil Moisture: Dry

Drought Tolerance: Medium

Size and Growth Rate

Height: 3 - 4 ft

Spread: 1 - 2 ft

Growth Rate: Medium