How to Grow Maltese Cross (Lychnis Chalcedonica)

Views: 15340 | Last Update: 2009-04-30
The Maltese cross, or lychnis chalcedonica, is a Eurasian plant that likes island temperatures and moisture. Grow the perennial Maltese cross by seeds or root division with instructions from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening and... View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment, we're going to learn all about how to grow lychnis, or the Maltese cross. In order to find out how to grow it, let's find out where it's native. Lychnis chalcedonica, or the Maltese cross, is a Eurasian plant, that means it's found through Europe, even into Asia. But I always find that names give you a hint to how to treat it. Now, Malta is a little island that's on the very end of Italy off of Sicily between Sicily and Tunisia, a country that's in Northern Africa. So it's an island that's in the Mediterranean, so it likes island temperatures that can get a lot of moisture -- so very foggy. So plants from the Mediterranean do well in many, many climates, and they can go zone four to ten because there's mountains in part of Asia and even into Europe where the Maltese cross is found where it gets quite cold. So the chalcedonica, or the lychnis -- the Maltese cross -- is an upright, bristly perennial, forming a clump of large, pointed, basal leaves with smaller leaves on the flower stems. And they have heads of up to 50 small, bright red flowers in the summer. And on the flower, there's a little cross that looks just like a Maltese cross, and that's how they got their name. And they come in many different colors and forms as well, besides the little red Maltese cross. But they're a gorgeous addition to the garden, and they're a perennial. It's easy to grow a Maltese cross. You can just either start the seeds in the spring and then put them out after any sign of frost, or you can take a little division of the root and transplant that in the fall, the winter, or the spring, and they'll come up in bloom that next summer. They can handle quite cold conditions, down to even minus 10 degrees, and they can handle warmer climates, too. So they're a really easy plant that's very rewarding to grow.