Silene is a large genus of 500 annuals, biennials, and perennials, mostly from the Mediterranean region, but also from tropical Africa and South America. Flowers have a tubuliar calyx and 5 petals that are often notched or split. Various species are suited for rock gardens, borders, wild gardens, or for use as bedding annuals.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsEasy to grow. Self-seeds.
CareMost Silene species need well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil in full sun or dappled shade. Alpine species need very well-drained, gritty soil.
PropagationFor perennial species, sow seeds in autumn in a cold frame or root basal cuttings in spring. Sow the seeds of hardy annuals where they are to grow in spring or fall, and the seeds of tender annuals in spring at 61° to 66°F.
ProblemsSlugs, snails, whiteflies, spider mites, and aphids can cause problems, while rust, smut, and stem and leaf fungi can occur as well.