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Dianthus Sweet William

The most common Dianthus species found in South African garden centres and nurseries all share common physical attributes. They are herbaceous and sometimes woody stemmed. Leaves are opposite and simple. Linear in shape with smooth edges. Colour ranges from grey-green to blue green.

The flowers of Dianthus consist of 5 petals with serrated edges. The available colours and variations are numerous: many shades of pink and rose, red, scarlet, purple, lavender, violet, salmon, white.

Dianthus, includes varieties with unusual characteristics such as double or frilly flowers as well as strongly scented flowers. Height ranges from 5-50cm.

Planting Dianthus

  • Dianthus should be planted in full sun.
  • Soil should be well draining and slightly alkaline. Dianthus are prone to stem and root rot so it not advisable to mulch. Dianthus grow better if kept slightly drier than most other bedding plants. It is important that there is enough air circulation around the stems to keep dry so space well when planting. The most obvious sign of poor drainage or too much water is the yellowing of the leaves.
  • These are low maintenance plants. Once flowering is over, cut back to 7-10cm to allow for another round of flowering.
  • With just a little care they will brighten up your garden for up to a year. Dianthus are not heavy feeders.

How to Care for Dianthus

Instructions on how to care for dianthus are very straightforward. Water the plants when dry and apply fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks. You may also work a slow-release fertilizer into the soil at planting, which will release you from the need to feed the plants.