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Bladder Campion
Silene vulgaris

Family: Caryophyllaceae (kar-ree-oh-fil-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Silene (sy-LEE-nee) (Info)
Species: vulgaris (vul-GAIR-iss) (Info)
Synonym:Silene cucubalus


Alpines and Rock Gardens



12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

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)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall






Other details:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


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

San Jose, California

Oakland, Maryland

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

Morgan, Pennsylvania

Kalama, Washington

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 6, 2011, altagardener from Calgary, AB (Zone 3b) wrote:

Silene vulgaris is not actually native to North America; it is an introduced species.


On Jan 8, 2004, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a native North American wildflower, growing from southern Canada down to Missouri and Tennessee. I have seen it volunteering here and there at old homesteads, usually at the edge of some shade trees where the plants receive part sun, part shade. A friend of mine gave me a plant, but it died when I moved it to full sun, so I don't recommend that exposure. I saved some seed, which I am hoping will germinate this spring (sowed in the fall). This is not a very attractive plant because it tends to flop over (that is why I tried full sun), but the balloon calyxes are quite enchanting.


On Aug 31, 2002, Baa wrote:

A low growing perennial from Europe.

Has greyish green, ovate to linear, hairless leaves which may have a wavy margin. Bears pure white, deeply divided petals which come out of a light brown inflated calyx. Sometimes the plants may be dioecious (being either male or female) so seeds may not be viable from a plant grown alone.

Flowers May-October

Loves a well drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soil in light shade, tolerating some sun except during the hot part of the day.

Quite tolerant of a range of conditions as long as the soil doesn't lie too wet. Self seeds with ease.


On Oct 10, 2001, Joy from Kalama, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Blooms June through fall.