Silene ‘Short and Sweet’
Silene caroliniana can be found in rocky, calcareous woods and outcrops from New Hampshire to Ohio and south to Missouri and Alabama. It is not found in Illinois.
Flower Description and Bloom Time
Pink round flowers with wedge-shaped petals less than an inch wide appear from late May through early June (about a two-week bloom period). A cultivar of a native, ‘Short and Sweet’ has flowers that attract nectar-seeking insects and butterflies. The sticky flowering stems give this plant the common name “catchfly.”
Foliage Interest — Color and Texture
Tufts of narrow, lance-shaped green basal leaves (up to 4 inches long) with smaller paired stem leaves.
Habit and Growth Rate Observations
During the first year of the trial, plants grew anywhere from 3 to 6 inches tall to 6 to 10 inches wide.
Site Preference — Soil and Light
This silene is often found in dry, rocky or sandy forests, as well as barrens and areas with limestone outcrops. All of these habitats indicate the plant’s need for good drainage so that it does not remain wet for any extended period of time. Grow in bright shade to full sun.
Successes and Possible Drawbacks
All the plants died by the third year of the evaluations.
Notes from Growers/Retailer
Hardy in Zones 4 to 7. Touted as a native plant substitute for Dianthus because of the similar appearance.
If you decide to try this plant, combine it with native sedum (Sedum ternatum), columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) and native violets.
Parting “SHOT” — The overall evaluation results were Poor. 1/2 star
This plant was evaluated from 2011-2014 at four sites in Chicago’s western suburbs and the North Shore. Although this cultivar is described as long blooming, compact and easy to grow, all 12 plants in evaluators’ gardens were dead by the end of the trial.