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Maltese Cross (Lychnis chalcedonica)

Item #:
Ships April to May 2024
Item #:
Ships April to May 2024
Ornamental Perennials


Hardy perennial
  Tight clusters of bright scarlet, cross-shaped flowers on long stalks in early summer
Habit:  Grows up to 3 feet high
Culture:  Prefers full sun and well-drained garden loam
Hardiness:  Cold hardy to USDA Zone 3
Origin:  Russia
Attributes:  Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
Jefferson Documented

Maltese Cross was an early import to the American colonies, and was listed in Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon’'s 1804 broadsheet as "Scarlet Lychnis."  Thomas Jefferson sowed Maltese Cross in one of the oval flower beds at Monticello in 1807.  A native of Russia, Maltese Cross is thought to have been introduced to European gardens by Louis IX on his return from the Holy Land, where it was already being grown as an ornamental garden plant.  It subsequently became a popular ornamental for English gardens, as the many common names testify: Jerusalem Cross, Campion of Constantinople, Nonesuch, Flower of Bristow, Knight’s Cross, Scarlet Lightening, and Bridget-in-her-bravery.  The striking flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

Arrives in a 2.5" pot.


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