Silene virginica is a clump-forming plant that has downy stems, sticky calyxes, and star-shaped, bright red blooms from spring to early summer. Commonly referred to as Fire Pinks, this perennial's rosettes of basal leaves give rise to stems of narrow, lance-shaped leaves. It is a favorite of hummingbirds, native bees, nocturnal moths and other pollinators. Silene virginica is also known as Catchfly because of its sticky calyxes that deter ants.
Silene virginica is native to the eastern half of the United States, upward into Canada. It extends as far west as eastern Nebraska and Oklahoma and eastward to New York and Florida. Fire Pinks is naturally found on rocky or gritty soils in woodlands, wooded slopes, forest margins, and cliffs and ledges. Fire Pinks can withstand fire and is often one of the first species to appear after a wildfire, hence the common name.
Silene virginica prefers bright shade and well-drained, moist to dry soil. For best blooming, avoid heavy shade and afternoon sun. It is perfect for the edges of shady borders. Silene virginica will self-sow on open soil where it is happy.