How to grow and care for Dianthus flowers. Reliable Dianthus perennials. How to grow different types of carnations. Growing pinks flowers and gardening with Sweet William.
Pinks and carnations are both members of the genus Dianthus.
Pinks flowers are about an inch across and usually single. Carnations flowers are twice the size and double. All have the signature fringed petals which gave rise to the common name. The flower petals look like they were cut out with pinking shears.
Most Dianthus flowers are fragrant.
The various types of carnations and pink Dianthus all require the same growing conditions.
They like well drained soil with a neutral or slightly alkaline ph. It's not a bad idea to sprinkle a little horticultural lime over the bed before setting the plants in.
Dianthus flowers like moist soil but will not tolerate soil that stays too wet. Unless your soil drains perfectly, stem rot may become a problem in rainy weather.
Bed the plants out where they will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
These deer resistant plants like cool, humid weather. The newer Dianthus hybrids have been bred to be more heat tolerant than the old standards.
You can buy Dianthus,carnaions, or sweet William seed to start your plants. Or you can purchase transplants from a nursery. Once you have the plants in your garden, you can save seed from them to start new plants.
You will find Tips for Growing Carnations from Seed here.
Dianthus flowers in a pot at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Fl.
The low shrubs in the background are Florida native coontie palms.
Dianthus plants are small and easy to grow in containers.
When in bloom, the plants will add a splash of color to any area in which they are staged.
They are especially useful for providing portable color to fill gaps in your flower beds.
Between flushes of bloom, the grassy (sometimes glaucous) foliage remains handsome.
This couldn't be easier. Just keep the old blooms deadheaded throughout the growing season.
You can pinch them off when you are out in the garden admiring and smelling the flowers or you can shear them back by half with a power tool.
The foliage is pretty even without the flowers.
Which Dianthus perennials will come back reliably in your yard depends on many things. The most important being the zone you live in.
Almost every variety is perennial south of zone 7.
But they might succumb to the summer heat in the deep south.
Or they might get crown rot during a particularly rainy summer.If you live north of zone 7, the cottage pinks Dianthus plumaris or
Dianthus x allwoodii Frosty Fire would be your best bets.
Sweet Williams are biennial Dianthus plants you can grow from seed or transplants. The flowers are usually fragrant and will repeat if you deadhead them after each flush of bloom.
Tip: If you want your Sweet Williams to reseed, simply neglect to deadhead them in the fall.
Of the cheddar pinks, 'Bath's Pink' Dianthus gratianopolitanus is the most popular.
But 'Mountain Mist' and 'Firewitch' Dianthus are close contenders for this title.
Dianthus caryophyllus is the clove-scented florist carnation. Learn all about planting and growing fresh carnations from seed via the link above. Enjoy cheap, fragrant bouquets all season long.
Here, Dianthus chinensis shares a container with another fragrant annual: sweet alyssum.
Dianthus chinensis is the china pink Dianthus that is sold as an annual bedding plant in the garden centers each spring. It is actually perennial, only unreliably so, in zones 4-11.
Dianthus deltoides is a reliably perennial Dianthus. Commonly known as maiden pinks, the most popular selection is 'Zing Rose'.