Friday, June 26, 2009

Maltese Cross - Lychnia chalcedonica

Maltese Cross is a herbaceous perennial. Mine are a deep reddish-orange, but many other cultivars have been developed. Maltese Cross will grow to three feet in height. I grow mine in a peony cage to keep them from falling over. These plants are easy to take care of and don't need special conditions. In my garden they are growing in some of the worst soil that I have and yet they are doing well. Maltese Cross originated in Central and Eastern Russia, from Kasakhstan to Mongolia and Northeastern China. They were brought to North America by early settlers.
The flowers are borne on tall stems in clusters containing many florets. The florets are shaped like a cross, hence the name, Maltese Cross. The seed pods are dry capsules which contain many seeds. I usually remove the spent flowers in order to make this plant flower throughout the summer. Also, if left to self seed, it could become invasive. But it is not difficult to keep this plant under control. In early spring it is easy to identify Maltese Cross. Then they can be removed or transplanted.

Family: Carophyllaceae. Genus: Lychnis. Species: L. chalcedonica
Common Names: Maltese Cross, Jerusalem Cross.

1 comment:

  1. Gosh, look a the gorgeous color. I swear you put in your garden with your quilter's eye.