Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Royal Catchfly
Silene regia

Family: Caryophyllaceae (kar-ree-oh-fil-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Silene (sy-LEE-nee) (Info)
Species: regia (REE-jee-uh) (Info)

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

19 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive plant_it On May 20, 2013, plant_it from Valparaiso, IN wrote:

Native to the U.S., Royal Catchfly is a rare plant that has endangered status in Illinois and many other states. Attracts hummingbirds. This species is pollinated by the ruby throated hummingbird, and in fact requires visits by this vibrant bird in order to produce fruit and set seeds. The nectar of the flowers attracts the larger butterflies such as the Black Swallowtail.

It is fairly easy to grow, but it is slower than others and it dislikes excessive shading. Royal Catchfly blooms June-August and makes an excellent garden plant. Good companion plants are Tall Larkspur (Delphinium exaltatum), Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium), and Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius).

Occurs in dry, rocky soils in open woods, wood margins and prairies. A clump-forming perennial which grows 3-4' tall. Small clusters of 5-petaled, scarlet red flowers (2" across) appear in summer. Sticky calyx can trap or "catch" small insects, hence the common name. Long, slender, often rec.lining stems. 10-20 pairs of downy, lance-shaped leaves (to 5" long).

Positive FlyPoison On Apr 5, 2011, FlyPoison from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 7a) wrote:

This wonderful prairie beauty is growing extremely well here in the piedmont of S.C. It doesn't get full sun but bloomed the first year after planting. It currently has 3 rosettes after starting from 1 last season. The thing that has impressed me most thus far, is how long this great native blooms. Even though it remained near 95 for most of its bloom time last year, it bloomed vigorously nonetheless.

Some good complement flowers include Indian Paintbrush, Blanket Flower, Black Eyed Susan and Cardinal Flower.

Positive penpen On Mar 24, 2011, penpen from North Tonawanda, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant showed up a year ago in a border bed across the front of the house. It bloomed in late summer and I was thrilled to see that it was S. regia. It was used quite a bit by my hummers. It is growing right outside a living room window. I collected seeds in the fall and have winter sown a small cell pak of seeds to increase my stand and pass any extras along to local hummgardeners.

Positive cedar18 On Jul 26, 2009, cedar18 from Lula, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I've had this plant for two years. It took a while to settle in but is now 4' tall and has startling scarlet-red blooms in a large 'head.' It's great to see hummingbirds hover around sampling the flowers. Mine is in full sun in good soil and had to be staked.

Positive dkm65 On Jul 21, 2007, dkm65 from Cedar Falls, IA (Zone 4b) wrote:

Very attractive vivid red flowers, and a good native prairie plant to attract hummingbirds. Along with cardinal flower (lobelia cardinalis), it is one of the few truly red native prairie flowers. Although it is somewhat rare in remnant prairies, it is definitely worth adding to a native (or non-native) garden. Drought tolerant, and hardy to zone 4 (not 5 as this plant file lists).

Neutral JodyC On Jan 17, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Red is an uncommon color among prairie plants because many pollinating insects (e.g., bees) are insensitive to this range of the light spectrum. However, some butterflies perceive red, and for this reason are attracted to such flowers. The flowers of Royal Catchfly have a design that favors butterflies as pollinating agents: They have a proboscis that is sufficiently long to reach the nectar at the bottom of the long narrow tube that is formed by the calyx, while the flared petals provide a colorful landing platform for their legs. The only other plant that resembles Royal Catchfly in Illinois is Silene virginica (Fire Pink). This latter species also has bright red flowers, but the tips of its petals are slightly notched. Fire Pink is a shorter plant that occurs in and around woodland areas, often on clay or rocky banks, and is not found in prairies.

The nectar of the flowers attracts the larger butterflies, such as Papilio polyxenes asterias (Black Swallowtail), and the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Aphids suck juices from the upper stems occasionally. There is little or no information regarding this plant's relationships to birds and animals at the present time.


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

Fairfield, California
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Cordele, Georgia
Lula, Georgia
Valparaiso, Indiana
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Benton, Kentucky
Belton, Missouri
Elsberry, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
New Milford, New Jersey
North Tonawanda, New York
Selden, New York
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Pewaukee, Wisconsin

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