Lychnis is a genus of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae, comprising 15-25 species. It is native to Europe, Asia and north Africa. Its common names are Campion and Catchfly.
Lychnis is an easy to grow perennial or biennial herbaceous plants which are suitable for sunny borders and wildlife gardens, providing brightly colored flowers.
Lychnis chalcedonica (Burning Love, Dusky Salmon, Jerusalem Cross, Maltese Cross), 1.2 m x 30 cm, is native to central and eastern European Russia east to Kazakhstan, Mongolia and northwestern China. It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 35-100 cm tall with unbranched stems. The leaves are simple, broad lanceolate, and come in opposite pairs. In mid-summer, flowers are borne in clusters of 10-50 together. Each flower is bright red, 1-3 cm in diameter, with a deeply five-lobed corolla. Each lobe is then further split into two smaller lobes, creating a general shape similar to the Maltese Cross to which it got its name. This species is a popular ornamental plant in garden and numerous cultivars of varying colors have been selected. The colors are ranged from bright red to orange-red, pink or white. The removal of faded flowers can prolong the flowering period. If plants are allowed to set seed, chances of them becoming naturalised and invasive are high.
Lychnis viscaria (Sticky Catchfly) is an upright perennial, 60 cm tall, bearing purple flower. It got its common name from the stickiness of its stem. This species can be found growing on cliffs and in rocky places.
Lychnis grows well in full sun or partial shade, and well-drained soil. Propagation is by seed in spring, or divide in early spring. Pests are slugs and snails.