It's not always easy to get advice on growing a native plant species. Since I'm crazy about hummingbirds, I searched for Missouri natives that specialize in hummingbirds for pollination. Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) is one of the most spectacular. I wrote about its spring-blooming cousin, Fire Pink (Silene virginica) in May this year, but Royal Catchfly is taller and blooms for a longer time. The earliest my catchflies have ever bloomed is June 29. All these photos were taken this week.
According to Ozark Wildflowers, by Don Kurz, they are found in the Ozarks on the borders of glades and prairies, although they're considered endangered in the rest of the state. That could mean it likes alkaline soils because of all that karst topography in the Ozarks. I was told the plant likes moisture and sharp drainage. Hmm… Not a common combination in my clay soil. I dig an extra deep hole, add crushed limestone, and hope for the best. But wait a minute, what's that near the top left bloom?
It's a hummingbird plant, right? What's that gorgeous blue?
It's a Pipevine Swallowtail!
I guess butterflies don't read the books.