PlantFiles is getting a new look! Just in time for spring, we're rolling out a new look for the best online plants database. It will also work with your smart phones and mobile devices, so now you can take it with you on garden center visits or botanical garden tours. Questions or comments? Please post them here.

Alpine Catchfly
Lychnis alpina

Family: Caryophyllaceae (kar-ree-oh-fil-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lychnis (LIK-niss) (Info)
Species: alpina (AL-pin-a) (Info)
Synonym:Viscaria alpina
Synonym:Agrostemma alpina
Synonym:Lychnis fulgida
Synonym:Lychnis helvetica
Synonym:Lychnis suecica


Alpines and Rock Gardens


under 6 in. (15 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer




Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Seward, Alaska

Parker, Colorado

Leesburg, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 22, 2004, jhyshark from Scottville, MI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I loved this beautiful plant for its bright blossom and then the very interesting seed pods, but alas, it only survived for 2 years. It would be great to get another one, and learn how to keep it happy, although it might be a tad cold where I am. The maps say I'm in zone 5, but the plants say zone 4. (zip code 49454)


On Aug 12, 2003, meisterdon1 wrote:

This very beautiful flower appeared where a wildflower mixture was sown in my Saskatchewan garden. The seed pods formed as small upright open-topped gourds shaped much like a cow cockle seed pod. When the seeds were shiny black and loose in the pods I simply turned each pod upside down in a small plastic bag and shook it, letting the seed fall in to the bag. The plant yielded almost a tablespoon full of seed!

Now the trick will be to discover what germination regime works best for this plant.