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Dianthus have so much to offer, edible flowers, evergreen foliage, drought tolerant, fragrant and even cut flowers. Best of all, Dianthus are easy to grow with a minimum of five hours of full sun. The low growing varieties are great in rock gardens and lining pathways.
Sweet Williams and carnations are excellent long lasting cut flowers. There are also brilliant bedding types that offer color all summer. Dianthus flowers are commonly found in shades of reds, pinks and white, and have a sweet clove scent. Some carnation varieties are available in yellows and oranges.
Perennial varieties tend to bloom in May and June, with Sweet Williams, Carnations and annual varieties blooming through out the summer.
Bedding varieties of dianthus are often planted in mass or tucked into containers for bright color all summer. Some common series found for sale in our bedding plants area include the varieties featured here.
Ideal Dianthus are 10-12” plants with clusters of picotee and solid colored flowers. (Picotee is a variety of flower whose edge is a different colour than the flower's base colour. The word originates from the French picoté, meaning 'marked with points'.) ‘Super Parfait’ series are shorter, growing 8-10” tall. Pink flowers with a darker eye. Prefers full sun perennial in zone 9.
Sweet William - An old fashioned, favorite cut flower with large clusters of clove scented blooms in shades of red, pink and white. This biennial or short lived perennial. Zones 3-9.
‘Sooty’ - Crimson red flowers on 18” stems.
‘Noverna Clown’ - A mix in shades of salmon, pink and purple that all change colors as the blooms age.
Dianthus caryophyllus - Carnation. A classic cut flower with filly, rounded flowers on long stems. Perennials with evergreen blue foliage growing 12” tall and some dwarf varieties too! Drainage is important for this species. Zones 7-10
‘Chomley Farran’ - The “Malibu Barbie” of Dianthus. An unusual purple flower with hot pink streaks and an iridescent overlay. Flowers on 1’ stems are 1-1 ½ “ wide. Zone 6-10.
‘Gernadin Series’ - Your classic small carnation flower available in shades of red, pink and white. Grows 12-24” tall and wide.
Maiden Pinks - A shorter group growing 6-10” tall and 124”wide with deciduous green foliage. The flowers are often single or semi-double in shades of pink and red. Great edging boarders and rock gardens. Zones 3-9.
‘Flashing Lights’ - Small single red flowers May-June atop bronzy green leaves.
‘Arctic Fire’ - Single white flowers with a red eye. Grows 6-8” tall and 18’ wide
Bath’s Pink, Cheddar Pink - A low growing group (6-12” tall) with lovely evergreen, blue foliage. Heavy bloomers with single or semi-double flowers in May and June that are clove scented. This group has a huge selection of different varieties offering flowers in single colors, blotched petals and fringed edges! Great in containers, rock gardens and edging pathways. Combines well with Iberis, Lithodora or Aubrieta. Zones 3-9.
Dessert Series - A vigorous series with good disease resistance and single bi-colored blooms. Includes ‘Cranberry Ice’, ‘Raspberry Swirl’ and ‘Strawberry Sorbet’.
Star and Double Star Series - This short and spicy group offer a uniform clean growth habit and abundant flowers with contrasting eye color. Includes ‘Double Star Starlette’, ‘Eastern Star’, 'Pixie Star,' and ‘Spangled Star’.
‘Tiny Rubies’ -Masses of double rich pink flowers May-June. Grows 3-6” tall and can tolerate low amounts of foot traffic
‘Firewitch’ - One of the first Dianthus to bloom with fragrant, single, magenta flowers.
‘Little Jock’ - A semi-double variety with light pink flowers with a red eye that are deliciously fragrant!
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Common Name: Pink, Sweet William, Carnation
Origin: Around 300 species are found mostly in Europe and Asia.
Culture: Grow in full to part sun, well drained soil, and regular in the first year to establish perennial varieties. Dianthus appreciate some lime added to the hole at planting time.
Maintenance: Side dress perennial varieties with an all purpose granular fertilizer and lime in spring. Fertilize annual types two to three times with a liquid bloom fertilizer through the summer.
Cut back D. barbatus (Sweet William) by 1/3 to ½ after flowering to keep as a perennial, and divide every two to three years. D. deltoids and be cut back in the same manner as Sweet Williams to deter plants from dying out in the center.
D. gratianopolitanus should be sheared back by 1/3 after flowering to prevent die out in the center of the plant.
Pest and Diseases: Slugs, snails, crown root, rust, cutworms, aphids, spider mites, botrytis, leaf spot.