Members of the Silene plant genus can be either hardy annuals or perennials. Plants range in height from 5 to 60 cm (2 to 30 inches).
As they are a large genus, the blooming time of Silene genus members is species specific, ranging from Spring to early autumn.
They usually carry masses of small flowers. These may be red, pink, or white.
Some of the common names for Silene include Campion, Fire Pink, Catchfly, Moss Campion, Maiden's tears, Rose of Heaven, Wild Pink, Sweet William Catchfly, and None so Pretty.
Silene virginica (Fire pink), photograph by Peganum; CC.
Silene vulgaris (Bladder Campion / Maidenstears), picture by Andreas Rockstein; CC.
Annual Silene plant species can be sown at the start of spring for summer flowering, or in autumn for spring flowering.
Sow Perennial Silene varieties in early spring. Lightly cove the seeds once sown.
The spacing is also species dependent, plant larger Silene plants 45 cm (18 inches) apart, medium Silene varieties 30 cm (12 inches) apart, and smaller Silene varieties about 15 cm (6 inches) apart.
Silene species such as Campion can grow in sunny or partially shaded parts of the garden, the plants should have good drainage, and ideally the soil will be neutral to acidic (pH 5 to 7) and rich in humus.
If starting Campion, Wild pink, or other Silene plants from seed indoors first, then germination takes one to three weeks at 21 degrees Centigrade (70°F).
Prepare the Campion plants about 10 weeks before the seedlings are due to be transplanted outdoors. This should be done either in early autumn, or a week or so before the last frost of spring.
Members of the Silene genus such as wild pink, Campion and Rose of Heaven are pretty easy to look after.
They should be watered regularly and require a feed every now and again.
Once annual Silene varieties have finished flowering they can be removed from the garden as they have no further use.
If you require more perennial Silene then they can be propagated by taking cuttings from fresh softwood in the spring.