Silene Species, 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)
Synonym:Melandrium illinoense
Synonym:Melandrium regium



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

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

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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

Derby, Kansas

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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-formi... read more


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.


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.


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.


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).


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 are... read more