Bladder Campion

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 Life cycle | Emergence | Flowers | Reproduction | Competition | Management strategy

Silene vulgaris

Life Cycle

A tap rooted perennial spreading by seed and severed root pieces.


Seedlings emerge from shallow depths throughout the growing season.


Flowers appear from mid-June through fall.


  • Seed
    The main method of spread is by seed. Large quantities of seed are produced from mid-July through fall. Seed remains viable in the soil for many years.

  • Vegetative
    Reproduction from root pieces and severed crown pieces are the secondary means of reproduction.


Bladder campion prefers undisturbed areas and proliferates in perennial crops. Cultivate badly infested perennial crops, put into annual crops and till well for two or more seasons. Bladder campion does not compete well in healthy, cultivated crop stands.

Management Strategy

Prevention of seed production is the key to limiting the spread of bladder campion. Starvation through repeated tillage helps control established weed patches.
  • Tillage
    Intensive cultivation or mowing for two seasons is required to starve out bladder campion.

    Pre-seeding tillage - Control weed seedlings that germinate early in the spring with a shallow tillage
    before or at seeding time.

    Fall tillage - Deep cultivation with a disc will sever the weed roots below the crown and leave the plant in a weakened state for winter.

  • Rotation
    Crop rotation will only suppress bladder campion, not eliminate it. Do not put infested fields into perennial forage production, because this weed will proliferate if undisturbed. Cereals offer good competition and allow for post-seeding tillage. Summer fallow is an effective control for this weed, but mowing rather than tillage will lessen the risk of soil erosion. Annual crops cut for greenfeed allow for deep cultivation in spring and fall or can be cut before the main flush of weed seeds are set.

  • Seeding
    Shallow tillage to destroy emerging shoots and seedlings should be done prior to or at seeding. Seed cereals 7.5 cm deep if post-seeding tillage is required. Do not seed other crops on infested land.

  • Mowing
    Repeated mowing of small patches of bladder campion in wastelands and perennial crops is laborious but effective.
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Chris Neeser.
This document is maintained by Shelley Barkley.
This information published to the web on November 30, 2001.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 21, 2018.