Perennials at Gorge Top Gardens: Dianthus
Classic cottage garden
perennials, the Dianthus family includes both newly developed hybrids and old-fashioned
favorites. Very closely related to carnations but Dianthus are hardy and have much smaller
blooms. Flowers are fragrant and come in a range of colors that include reds, white,
purple and bicolors. Foliage is dense and mat-like and in most areas evergreen. Just
a few plants will quickly spread into a carpet of beautiful plants. Dianthus blooms on and
off through out the growing season while some of the newer hybrids will bloom heavily from
spring through fall. Plant height is dependant upon the variety and can be as low as
3 inches to as tall as 24 inches. Dianthus will flower more profusely when planted in full
sun but will grow in dappled shade. Soil should be amended heavily with organic matter and
be well drained. Dianthus likes a neutral soil, so lime may be needed if you have acidic
soil. (learn about soil testing) The plants
will tolerate hot dry locations but can fall victim to a disease called stem rot in warm,
rainy weather. For thick, healthy plants we recommend that Dianthus be cut back as flowers
fade to promote dense mats of foliage. Plants are not heavy feeders. A top dressing of
bone and blood meals in early spring and an occasional liquid drench of fish emulsion is
all that will be required.
Zones: 3 - 8
Propagation: seed and cuttings
Problems: Overwatering can cause yellowing and stem rot
Notes: Dianthus planted in shade will flower less and become leggy- give
the plants at least 6 hours of sun
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Our Dianthus varieties:
Dianthus 'Bath's Pink'
Dianthus 'Arctic Fire'
2006 Perennial Plant of the Year
Dianthus 'Mountain Mist'