Silene asterias – (Catchfly)
This plant has scented pom pom like flowers of deep carmine pink with brilliant blue anthers and deep red floral bracts. It is an attractive unusual plant for the garden.
This is a hardy and unusual perennial and rarely available. It has strong upright stems which begin to flower in late Spring. The flowers are borne in round clusters about 6cm widewhich consist of small deep burgundy blooms which are held in dark red bracts. The bracts have very bright blue anthers, and together the ensemble is very striking. The leaves themselves are attractive even when the plant is not in bloom, as they are bright spring green .
It likes an organic soil which has good moisture retention in full sun . If the soil does not retain moisture well then put it in partial shade and mulch well. However the soil should not be waterlogged.
It makes a good cut flower and is deciduous.
Seeds can be sown at any time but are best sown in winter or early spring to benefit from a cold spell in the wet compost to break their dormancy. One should cover the seeds very thinly with sand or fine grit to about the depth of the seed size. If the seeds do not come up within 6 to 12 weeks the damp seed tray can be given cold treatment in a fridge for about four weeks. They may still take very many months to appear, so please never discard the pot or tray.
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