There are about 300 species of flowering plants under the genus Dianthus. These flowering plants are classified under the family Caryophyllaceae. These varieties include annuals, biennials and perennials. Many hybrid varieties are also available. This plant is native to certain regions of Europe and Asia. These are also referred to as carnations, sweet William or pinks. Gardening enthusiasts who are especially fond of growing flowering plants have a great variety to choose from. Dianthus flowers are very beautiful and are often used as cut flowers in flower arrangements. They come in vibrant hues and have a distinctive sweet fragrance. Some of the varieties produce small pink flowers with delicate lacy edges and have spiky blue-green leaves. The height of the plant will vary depending on the variety, but most of the varieties attain a height between 10 to 20 inches.
Dianthus barbaratus (Sweet William), Dianthus chinensis (China Pink), Dianthus alpinus (Alpine Pink), Dianthus gratianopolitanus (Cheddar Pink), Dianthus superbus (Large Pink) and Dianthus monspessulanus (Fringed Pink) are some of the popular varieties. As mentioned earlier, there are many hybrid varieties that are readily available. Bouquet Purple, Melody Pink, Sweet Pink and Dynasty Purple are some of the popular hybrid varieties.
If you wish to grow this beautiful flowering plant in your garden, you need to consider several aspects such as the selection of the site, quality of the soil, mulching, watering and fertilizing. Scroll down to find dianthus care instructions. These will surely come in handy if you are planning to grow this flowering plant.
Selection of the Planting Site
This plant will grow well at a place where they receive ample sunshine. These should not be planted at a site where sunlight may be blocked by trees or any structure. These must receive at least 4-5 hours of sunshine. Damp environment can curb the growth of the plant and increase the risk of diseases, so make sure that the place is airy. Don't place them very close to other plants, especially fast-growing plants.
If you want your plant to thrive and grow fast, make sure that the soil is fertile and well-drained. The soil should be slightly alkaline with a pH of 6.75. Though this flowering plant may grow well in well-drained sandy soil, it would be best to add rotted leaves, compost, pine needles or other materials that may help it retain moisture as well as nutrients. You can add a two inch layer of compost and manure on the surface of the soil. Use a shovel to mix it in the soil.
You could grow it by sowing seeds or transplanting. Some of the perennial flower varieties can be grown by tip cuttings, layering or division. Seeds can be sown in the spring season. You could also sow them in your garden in early summer. Sow the seeds about 1/8 inch deep in the soil. The soil should be well-drained and the planting site should receive a lot of sun. Cover the seed with soil and water the plant to moisten the soil.
Though these plants are hardy, these do not like excessive humidity. You may water it from time to time during dry summer. It would be best to water it in the morning. Do test the soil for moisture during the summer season. Water it if the surface looks dry. Insert a finger to see if the soil is moist. Don't water if the compost seems to be moist. Excessive watering can cause root rot. It can also cause yellowing of the foliage. You will not need to water the plant very often during the winter season.
Well-rotted manure must be used at the time of planting. A balanced fertilizer which has nitrogen, phosphate and potassium in equal ratios should be used to enrich the soil. You also need to replenish the soil with fertilizer during the bloom season. Use a fertilizer that is rich in potassium to encourage prolific flowering. This will strengthen the stems and the blooms will be brighter and prettier.
Disbudding and Pruning
When you see about eight or nine pairs of leaves in the plant, pinch off the growing tip. This will enable the growth of side shoots and new flowering stems. Pinching the shoots will certainly encourage prolific flowering. If you ignore this aspect, the number of blooms would be lesser. If you are keen on getting bigger blooms rather than getting many blooms, remove the surplus buds from the plant. Get rid of the thin side stalks frequently. This will allow just the crown bud to develop on each flowering stem. You should prune and cut foliage in every spring. Most of the spent or faded blooms should be removed, but you could leave a few spent flowers if you want them to produce the seed.
These were instructions that should be followed by those who wish to grow dianthus. If you follow these instructions, you will soon be able to see beautiful and fragrant flowers in your garden.