Dianthus species and hybrids are astoundingly colourful!

Dianthus species and hybrids (Carnation, Pink, Sweet William), Nov 3 2013

Various coloured flowers of Dianthus barbatus (Carnation, Pink, Sweet William), Nov 3 2013We came across these astoundingly colourful beauties sometime in November 2013 and were instantaneously charmed by them.

There were several potted plants with many striking colours that it was somewhat difficult to nail our selection.

Hence, we carefully chose colours that were rarely seen in our small garden. One pot with magenta (process) flowers while the other, a variegated pattern-coloured type in pink and white.

Variegated pink and white Dianthus barbatus was added to our garden about 1½ years ago, Nov 3 2013 Clusters of magenta-coloured Dianthus hybrid in our garden bed, May 4 2014Fast forward to a year later in 2014, we noticed that the remaining plants that are still cheering us ever since is the magenta or dark pink cultivar of Dianthus barbatus, as shown in the right image above.

We are gloriously delighted that Dianthus species and hybrids are free-flowering throughout the year in tropical Malaysia.

Plant Profile, Culture and Propagation :

  • Botanical Name: Dianthus spp. and hybrids (the genus name, Dianthus and to be followed by the name of species or hybrid as accorded).
  • Common Name: Striking variegated patterns of Dianthus barbatus (Carnation, Pink, Sweet William), Nov 3 2013Carnation (D. caryophyllus), Pink (D. plumarius and related species), Sweet William (D. barbatus), Chinese/Rainbow Pink (D. chinensis).
  • Family name: Caryophyliaceae
  • Etymology: The genus name, Dianthus is derived from the Greek words, Dios (‘of Zeus’) and anthos (‘flower’), citing it as the Divine Flower. It was cited by the Greek botanist Theophrastus.
  • Origin: Native to Europe and Asia (northeastern China, Korea and southeastern Russia), with a few species from south to north Africa and one species, Dianthus repens in arctic North America.
    Hybrids and varieties, on the other hand, are popularly hybridised and cultivated worldwide.
  • Plant type: Single-petaled magenta-coloured Dianthus barbatus (Carnation, Pink, Sweet William), Dec 18 2013A herbaceous annual, biennial or perennial.
  • Features: Dianthus is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants and has many colourful hybrids. They can be annuals, short-lived biennial or hardy perennials.
    Due to the numerous species and hybrids, height is variable, ranging from 15-23 cm for the spreading mounds type and between 30-75 cm or more for the erect growth form.
    Beautiful bicolored Dianthus hybrid (Carnation, Pink, Sweet William) in white and rose-pink in our outer bed, Feb 4 2014They are  with weak-stemmed herbaceous plants and produce bright green to blue-green leaves, that are linear or lanceolate in shape and arranged in opposite pairs along the stems, providing a fabulous backdrop to the attractive blooms. Flowers are held in terminal clusters.
    The bisexual flowers are astoundingly colourful. Basing on the species and cultivars, the flowers may be single, semi-double or double and come in various shapes, forms and sizes.
    Many more coloured flowers of Dianthus barbatus, seen at a garden nurseryBlooms are five-petaled and typically have a frilled or dentate margin.
    So also the numerous colours! They come in many shades, ranging from red, pink, crimson, scarlet, rose, white, magenta, lavender, salmon,  yellow, purple and mostly bicolour and with variegated patterns.
    Flowers of some species are known for their strong spicy fragrance.
    Flowers will be followed by seed capsules. Collect the seeds from the dried capsules and use them for propagating new plants.
  • Culture (Care): Generally Dianthus species grow easily with low maintenance. However there are a few, such as the taller and less hardy Carnation species that need more care.
    Light: Macro shot of magenta-coloured Dianthus hybrid in our garden, Dec 18 2013Full sun to light shade.
    Moisture: Medium water needs. Water regularly but do not overwater as Dianthus do not like wet feet.
    Soil: Grow in organic-enriched, well-drained and loamy soils.
    Others: Remove spent flowers to promote continued blooming. However, if you wish that Dianthus reseed itself, just let them be as is. Feed once fortnightly and lightly with a balanced organic liquid fertiliser, one that provides healthy growth and flower production. Generally free from serious garden pests and diseases, though susceptible to crown rot if grown in wet and poorly drained soils. Try not to allow plants to be overcrowded and provide proper aeration to prevent leaf spot in hot and humid climate.
    Gorgeous variegated patterns of Dianthus barbatus (Carnation, Pink, Sweet William), Nov 3 2013For subtropical and temperate regions: Hardiness: USDA Zone 5 t0 11. Foliage remains evergreen in warm winter temperature. Grow Dianthus that are suited for your region. To propagate, sow seeds indoors before last frost or direct sow after last frost. Flowering or blooming period starts from mid spring to early fall.
  • Propagation: By seed, cuttings or division of clumps. Also, by layering to increase the size of clumps by fastening down the weak stems into the soil to develop roots before severing the new plant from the parent plant.
  • Usage: Dianthus will be excellent ornamental plants to be grown in front of sunny garden beds or borders.
    Outer garden bed, including the vibrant magenta Dianthus, March 15 2015An ideal edging and ground cover plant with its attractive and colourful flowers, especially the compact and mounding hybrids.
    It’ll look impressive in rock gardens with the Carnations.
    Would be fabulous too for container planting or above-ground planter.
    The Carnations are highly fragrant and popularly used as cut flowers.
    Plant Dianthus as they are magnets for birds, bees and butterflies that help to pollinate your garden plants.

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Last edit: June 15, 2016

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