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Growing Dianthus Flowers

Dianthus: Put a Spark in Your Garden with Bouquets of Pretty Blooms

by Frances Santos

Growing Dianthus FlowersDianthus is also known as China Pinks, Sweet William and Carnations. Its pretty flowers come in many shades of pink, lavender, rose, red, white and yellow. Some dianthus blooms are bi-colors, offering a splash of colors that dolls up any flower garden.

Generally, dianthus flowers are formed in a thick cluster of up to 30 with ragged or serrated edge. The evergreen leaves are tapered.

Most dianthus varieties grow 10 to 30 inches tall, while some varieties grow up to three feet tall. Make sure you know the variety you are growing since the height difference among Dianthus plants is quite huge.

Fortunately, nearly all varieties of dianthus are endowed with highly fragrant, clove-like scent. There are over 300 species and more than 100 hybrid cultivars of dianthus.

You surely won’t fall short choosing which varieties are best for your home and garden.

These are also versatile plants, long-lasting, easy to grow and generally pest and disease free.

Dianthus Propagation

Dianthus can be propagated in two ways:

From Cuttings – Cut the growing tips of the parent plant using a sharp knife. Take 4 to 6 inch cuttings for propagation. Dip the ends of the cuttings into rooting hormone powder. Next, prepare the rooting pots and make 1-2 inch deep planting holes. Put the powdered ends of Dianthus cuttings into the holes then secure the cuttings by pressing the soil firmly. Place the cuttings in full sun and keep them moist. When the roots develop, transplant the cuttings outdoors or directly in the garden. This process takes about 3 to 4 weeks. Remember, Dianthus plants need a location in full sun. Transplant the cuttings after the winter has passed. Make sure the soil has warmed.

From Seeds – For earlier blooms, start the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting them directly in your garden. First off, scatter Dianthus seeds on a planting dish filled with soil. Cover lightly with fine, pulverized soil. The seeds need light to germinate so place them in a sunny spot in your home. Keep the soil moist at all times. Once their first true leaves emerge, thin them out. Transplant the seedlings outdoors after all the danger of frost has passed and when the soil has warmed up a bit. Spacing in between plants must be 10 to 12 inches.

How to Grow Dianthus Flowers

Choosing the ideal location must top your list when growing Dianthus plants. There are 3 basic requirements here: (1) full sun or the plants must receive more than 4 hours of direct sunlight daily, (2) compost-filled soil and (3) good drainage. The soil must be rich, moist and fertile. For acidic soils, add lime stones.

Next, here are some tips how to care for your Dianthus:

  • Applying a general fertilizer (10-10-10) and thorough watering after application is imperative. Re-application can be done 4-6 weeks after planting.
  • Pinch off spent blooms to encourage new blooms. A good sheering promotes profuse and optimum blooming.
  • Water Dianthus plants manually during dry season, but do not overwater the plants. Sprinkle water directly into the soil.
  • Mulch the plants after the first freeze in your region.
  • Encourage air circulation by removing some plants. Use your hands when weeding instead of harming your Dianthus with herbicides.

Dianthus Diseases

Dianthus plants are rarely bothered by diseases, even pests. However, if the weather is too humid and the plants suffer from poor circulation, they can be prone to a fungi problem called powdery mildew. Resolve this by applying fungicide as early as possible. Repeat application for up to 14 days.