Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Maltese Cross, Jerusalem Cross, London Pride
Silene chalcedonica

Family: Caryophyllaceae (kar-ree-oh-fil-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Silene (sy-LEE-nee) (Info)
Species: chalcedonica (kalk-ee-DON-ee-kuh) (Info)

Synonym:Lychnis chalcedonica

8 vendors have this plant for sale.

55 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 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)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
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
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 38 photos.
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13 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive bluesway On Jun 27, 2013, bluesway from San Juan, PR wrote:

These are all over Puerto Rico and they're very low-maintenance plants. They're mostly used as hedges and the can be very uniformly trimmed as such. My neighbor's hedge is trimmed about every three weeks and it stands at about 7 feet tall... And completely full and beautiful.

Positive rudiw On Feb 22, 2012, rudiw from hoogezand
Netherlands wrote:

this plant is a favorit plant of mine, "burning love" is the name too for this plant. The plant is most of the times overfed, in my opinion the plant needs almost no nitrogen , otherwise you get an ugly plant imo : long stems and almost no flower.
The best results i saw were on sandy soil, the plant will be then 50 cm maximum, with some phosphor the flowers do extra good and will give a ball of flowers like a tennisball.
She loves to stand alone a little bit, if you forget the plant a few years, grass etc will win the competition and the plant wil disappear, i grow her for over 20 years, she is my favorit plant, as a standalone with a green background or in a big field of plants , IT IS A REAL EYE CATCHER!
But my advise is give no or not much food, not much water, and sun and shade, if to much sun, the leafs show red colors, she needs a little shade in the middle of the day in hot arreas.
The seeds are very small, and again use a sandy soil for the germination too, The plant is original from Russia.

Positive vicjim On Jun 19, 2010, vicjim from Sierraville, CA wrote:

Love this plant for its bright red color. My experience has been that of Jody - a one time mid summer bloomer. I deadhead faithfully but can only get it to bloom once a year even though many say it blooms till frost. Any suggestions?

Positive jerry31557 On Sep 23, 2009, jerry31557 from Patterson, GA wrote:

Such a beautiful flower that is a hummer magnet with its beauty. I was drawn to this plant by its name, The Jerusalem Cross, hence Jerusalem was and is and always will be the Holy City of GOD.

Positive penpen On Mar 22, 2008, penpen from North Tonawanda, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Maltese Cross is a very good perennial hummer plant for those of us in colder zones and oh so easy to grow.

Positive Bellisgirl On Feb 6, 2007, Bellisgirl from Spokane, WA wrote:

I love this plant!! Ive had it for about five years now. It is an upright plant with gorgeous blood red flowers. Needs well drained soil. Mine also need ample water when its hot out. Ive had several volenteers come up from it. The ones I have in partial sun grow to over 4ft. tall; much larger than the ones in full sun.

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 27, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This has such beautiful clusters of bright red flowers that everyone takes notice (and wants a start)! It self seeds itself in some of the most interesting places. My information says it is hardy in zones 3-10, and it will do well in partial sun. Light aids germination of seeds. Blooms May-July in my garden.

Positive Aerowox On Sep 4, 2005, Aerowox from Saint Paul, MN wrote:

In the early 1900's, my grandmother brought seeds from Lychnis Chalcedonica to America from Bessarabia, South Russia and Wittenberg, Germany. The plants are now well established in my mother's garden, which is zone 3 in south-central North Dakota. I also live in zone 3, east-central Minnesota, so I collected seeds to plant here next spring.

Positive LilyLover_UT On Jan 17, 2005, LilyLover_UT from Ogden, UT (Zone 5b) wrote:

Lychnis chalcedonica is one of the absolute best hummingbird flowers!

Positive annaks On Jul 12, 2004, annaks from Grande Prairie
Canada wrote:

Lychnis chalcedonica grows very well here in zone 2B too. It self seeds enough for transplants and gifts, but not too much. Mine do not fall over, unless they are stepped on. (I have kids.) They look striking next to my purple Lupines and Campanula glomerata, yellow Anthemis tinctoria (Golden Marguerite sold to me as Matricaria, and even worse, twice!), blue Linum peronne, and Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox eye daisy, blush;} , considered a weed here in Alberta, but I like them). They are best viewed from a slight distance as the older flowers darken and dry up. They begin blooming early July. The first year they are cute little 1-2 foot seedlings, but do not be fooled, they will grow 3-4 feet in the future. Plant en masse for best show.

Positive saya On Jun 29, 2004, saya from Heerlen
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

I just love this colour..such a beautiful red. We call it here "..brandende liefde.." what means "..burning love.." and this name suits her well. I've sown a white form of this burning burning love...I cannot imagine that..only in mystical way maybe..If I have flowers I'll post some pics of these too.

Positive octofad On Jun 23, 2003, octofad wrote:

One of the best, most fiery shades of red you are likely to come across in such an easily grown garden plant (grows extremely well here in Northern England). I wouldn't be without it. Currently also growing it from seed - seed took about two weeks to germinate in damp compost. I have had no problems with the plant falling over; mine are very robust and contrast very well with pink Valerian and yellow Hemerocallis.

Positive Weezingreens On Jan 9, 2003, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Maltese Cross performs very well in our zone 3 climate. It withstands our wet, long winters, returning each year to bring dazzling color to my beds. It grows vigorously here, requiring division every two or three years, and will take over the bed, if allowed. This plant tends to fall over, rest on its stem, then grow upward again, so full height potential is not often realized without staking.

Neutral jody On Jan 12, 2001, jody from MD &, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

The genus Lychnis is related to Silene. Maltese cross has been grown by gardeners since at least the seventeenth century. It usually is a bright orange/red but there are varieties of pink, white and double flowers but aren't as common. It flowers for a short time in early summer. It grows to a height of 4'. Best cultivated in sun with well draining soil. Deadhead to promote more flowers. Hardy zones 4-10. Propagate by seed or division.


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

, (3 reports)
Auburn, Alabama
Midland City, Alabama
Weaver, Alabama
Juneau, Alaska
Palmer, Alaska
Seward, Alaska
Merced, California
Sacramento, California
Sierraville, California
Fort Collins, Colorado
Littleton, Colorado
Loganville, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Evansville, Indiana
Fishers, Indiana
Greenville, Indiana
Davenport, Iowa
Barbourville, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Falmouth, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Calais, Maine
Springfield, Massachusetts
Wakefield, Massachusetts
Owosso, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Stephenson, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota (2 reports)
Dillon, Montana
Helena, Montana
Laurel, Montana
Blair, Nebraska
Swanzey, New Hampshire
Freehold, New Jersey
Albany, New York
North Tonawanda, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Sapphire, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Norman, Oklahoma
Mount Hood Parkdale, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Tangent, Oregon
Mc Keesport, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Irene, South Dakota
Austin, Texas
Salt Lake City, Utah (2 reports)
Sterling, Virginia
Bellevue, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Spokane, Washington (3 reports)
Spokane Valley, Washington
Fremont, Wisconsin
Marinette, Wisconsin
Menomonie, Wisconsin
Pulaski, Wisconsin
Casper, Wyoming

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