One of the very few red-flowered prairie plants, royal catchfly is an erect, clump-former with scarlet, tubular flowers. The flowers flare into five, slightly toothed, slender petals. Stems are smooth, but the broad, sometimes clasping leaves, are pubescent. Stems and leaves are sticky ostensibly to catch insects, but although part of a carnivorous family, S. regia does not gain nutrition from its captives, nor should you be turned off at the thought of little insect bodies stuck to the plant, because that is not an issue. Similar to fire pink (Silene virginica), except royal catchfly is taller and blooms later, leaves are thicker and flower petals lack notches.
Prefers a sandy or gravelly soil. Excellent drainage is essential. Be patient when growing. Small plants will show a few blooms, but it may take a few years for plants to reach a mature size with multiple blooms.
Height: 3-4 ft.
Spread: 1.5-2 ft.
Bloom time: July to August
Sun: full sun to part shade
Water: dry to medium
Deer may very lightly browse.
photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters