© RHS / Philippa Gibson



Common name: Campion, ragged robin, lamp flower, mountain pink

Producing dainty summer flowers in shades of pink, purple, red or white, these easy-to-grow perennials come in various sizes and forms, ideal for a range of locations, including borders, rock gardens and wildflower meadows.


Lychnis vary widely in looks, from low-growing mats to tall, branching forms. The flowers come in many different styles too – held in clusters or singly, some simple, others double or ragged edged, in shades of purple, pink, red or white. The leaves may be green or silvery-grey.


Most grow in any soil that drains easily, in sun or light shade. Grey-leaved types, such as Lychnis coronaria  and L. flos-jovis, and the shorter alpines, such as L. alpina and L. viscaria, prefer well-drained soil in full sun. L. chalcedonica and L. flos-cuculi like moister conditions.


The grey-leaved species, as well as Lychnis alpina and L. viscaria, dislike shade and damp soil, while L. chalcedonica and L. flos-cuculi don’t like it too dry.

Did you know?

Lychnis coronaria, with its vivid pink or white flowers and silvery-grey leaves and stems, is probably the most widely grown lychnis and is easily raised from seed. Only three species are native to the UK: Lychnis viscaria (sticky catchfly) and L. alpina are rare, but ragged robin (L. flos-cuculi) grows widely in damp meadows and marshes, so is an ideal choice for moist wildflower gardens.

Growing guide

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