Whirling Frolic Of The Dianthus*

april-24-2009-058-2The time has come to speak of the Dianthus.april-28-2009-008-2The blooms are now at peak.april-24-2009-078-2They are crying out to be featured, so let us oblige.april-28-2009-027-2The favorite use for dianthus here is to edge paths with various cultivars, whose names have been lost in the realm of time and space.april-24-2009-086-2There has been interplay amongst the varieties resulting in new shapes and colors of flowers.april-27-2009-048-2The long wall behind the main house was planted with D. gratianopolitanus ‘Pixie’ as slips pocketed from offspring Semi’s garden. This must have happened in a fit of orderliness, for all other areas are more along the theme of patchwork.april-17-2009-075-2Pixie’s markings are unique.april-21-2009-143-2Straddling the middle terrace path are seedlings from D. ‘Firewitch’ whose darker pink color shows up in the offspring…april-17-2009-072-2…and D. ‘Bath’s Pink’ whose pinking shear edges and lighter hue seem dominant.april-29-2009-014-2New darker colors have been introduced but the genetic game of roulette seems to prefer the lighter pinks, with no seedlings of redder shades appearing. So far, anyway, but the attempt continues.april-28-2009-006-21Dianthus has colonized the middle terrace. Orange, purple and yellow Erysimums have been added to extend the colorful show both before and after the Dianthus bloom. The large yellow deciduous Azaleas are having an exceptional bloom year this time around. There was a post last year about the Grand Ball held by the fluttering socialites. Click here to read about the Dance Of The Dianthus. april-28-2009-011-2Occasionally there will be a stunning result from the wanton partying.

Common Name: cheddar pink, the genus name is from the Greek for *divine flower*
Zone: 4 to 8 (Dave’s garden claims 3 to 9)
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Native Range: None
Height: 0.5 to 1 foot
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time: May – July (late April at Fairegarden, Tennessee)
Bloom Color: Rose pinks, whites, mixes of pinks
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

General Culture
Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun, light shade in extremely hot climates. Well-drained soils are essential to prevent crown rot. Plants will usually not survive in wet winter soils. Plants prefer slightly alkaline soils. Cheddar pinks tolerate heat and humidity (as well as some drought) better than most other species of dianthus. Remove spent flowers to promote continued bloom. After flowering is completed, plants may be lightly sheared back to maximize foliage effect as a dense ground cover. (Note: I do not shear these back, hence the seedlings, and my soil is acidic. Well drained, yes, wet winter, yes. They still are thriving despite these condition.) Do not mulch with deep layers of organic matter.

Unique Qualities
The enticing clove-like scent of this low-growing
ornamental makes it the perfect choice for use in a border
near the walkway. Placement near the walkway allows extra scent as
passersby brush fragrant blossoms. Pert, bright blooms
make pinks a perfect choice for the rock garden or
for planting in wall crevices. The perennial quality creates
a good ground cover on a sunny slope.

No serious insect or disease problems. Crown rot can be a serious problem if plants are grown in wet, poorly drained soils.

The above information was gleaned from a variety of online sources.

*In searching for a synonym for the term *dance* for this year’s post, to differentiate it from last year’s narrative, both *whirling* and *frolic* were deemed suitable to describe the activities of these promiscuous, vibrant, happy flowers.
Many thanks to Katarina of Roses and Stuff for sponsoring Blooming Friday. To see more blooms click here.


(All the photos in this post were taken with the Canon Powershot A720 IS)

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37 Responses to Whirling Frolic Of The Dianthus*

  1. Hi Frances

    Such beautiful pinks!

    I love the shot as you look up the steps. I like the pineapple things at the top too. I recently invested in one.

    Simply beautiful photos. Thanks for a visual treat.


    Hi Rob, thanks. Gardening on a steep slope has advantages and disadvantages, the view being a big plus. Pineapples make great garden ornaments too, I am sure yours is much nicer than what I have. πŸ™‚

  2. Darla says:

    Very nice. I have several types of Dianthus myself, they bloom just about all year here.

    Hi Darla, thanks. There are so many types available now, lots to chose from to get a nice mix of seedlings going when they have the big dance. πŸ™‚

  3. “I need me some of those”. Why, Frances, have I never planted Dianthus here at May Dreams Gardens? Answer me that! Your garden looks gorgeous with them.

    HA Carol, I don’t know why you don’t have dianthus, but do know how you can remedy that! Thanks for the kind words. I wish you could see it in person, the fragrance is wonderful between the azaleas and dianthus and everything else in bloom right now. A good time to be in the garden.

  4. Janet says:

    Truly jealous of your Dianthus…. each and every one of them. The clove scent that these little beauties have is so wonderful. Add that to the glaucus blue foliage with all those hot pink (or light pink) blooms– they look electric. I will have to go and find some the smell today.

    Hi Janet, thanks. I do love them all too, it is impossible to pick one over the other. The foliage is great all year too. What a fantastic plant. Hope you can get a good whiff of that sweet fragrance. πŸ™‚

  5. Your pinks are marvelous. Don’t you just love the fragrance as it “dances” through the garden.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I can’t tell if it is the dianthus or the azaleas on the middle terrace. What a wonderful dilemma! πŸ™‚

  6. tina says:

    That middle terrace is so welcoming to me. All the plants and color! I remember last year’s post and was wondering how ‘Barbartus’ is doing? I have a similar one ‘Heart Attack’ and it is just starting. Not the big performer like the shorter ones but I am enjoying the dianthus this year too. My ‘Firewitch’ has not bloomed yet but the rest are pretty much going strong. I hope soon as it is loaded with buds. This rain has been good. It must be in your neck of the woods now-almost two inches. A good thing in the spring:))

    Hi Tina, thanks for that. I love that part of the garden too. The sweet williams are just beginning, there are not as many of them for some reason and I have yet to see Sooty, but think there still are some out there. We finally got rain this morning, very very welcome indeed! πŸ™‚

  7. Gail says:

    Frances, I love your dianthus. They make such a beautiful show and intermingle to our great delight! I wish my slope could support them…they would be here in the garden faster then a bee in spring. You and the garden deserve a double wow;) gail

    Hi Gail, thanks. They would look lovely along your rock wall in back. I bet they would do fine there. As with most plants, they will often grow where they are not supposed to according to the books. πŸ™‚

  8. ourfriendben says:

    Such gentle loveliness, Frances! The effect is ethereal. Thanks so much for letting us wander down those paths with you!

    Hi OFB, thanks. Gentle is a good word for these little ones. I wish you could see them in person. πŸ™‚

  9. Daphne Gould says:

    Dianthus are one of my favorite plants. I only have one kind. I grew it from seed almost two decades ago. Most of them died, but one plant has survived the passage of time. I think they must all have died because I have acidic heavy clay soil. Not great for dianthus. The one I have must be some kind of sport to handle the conditions thrown at it (including wet winters). Yours are all so lovely and I’m sure they smell divine too.

    Hi Daphne, thanks. I am so glad to hear your testamonial, for so many plants can survive where they are not supposed to. You just have to give them a chance, three times is the accepted wisdom. πŸ™‚

  10. Frances — That shot of the stepping stones with all these delicate dancing blooms looks like a place where fairies play. I wish that I had good places for more varieties. The deer don’t really eat them, but the fawns pull them up out of the ground when the dianthus are newly planted, so I’ve resorted to just keeping them in the cottage garden — where they thrive! My Bath’s Pink are such troopers and are beginning to bloom and will hit the peak in about a week. I love the long bloom time as we always go on vacation for the first week of May and they welcome me home. I’ll have scheduled photos posting while we’re gone with comments off since I won’t have my laptop with me in Paris. I’ll visit when I can, but I can’t type very fast on an iPod. Have a great weekend — the rains have returned here in NC.

    Hi Cameron, thanks. Those darn fawns, maybe if you placed a rock on them until they took root? Bath’s Pink is such a good one, so glad it will greet you once again. Have a wonderful time in France. Someday I would like to see it, among many other places. Rain here too, thank goodness. πŸ™‚

  11. Dave says:

    Dianthus is just what I need to use on our hillside. We have a huge slope that I would like to terrace eventually and some self seeders would be just the thing. I really like that first picture with the little tiny drops of dew on the dianthus. You could have titled your post Definitely Dew Dianthus!

    HA, good one Dave! When you get your hill of dianthus you can title a post with that! These dianthus will root with just one stem that has a bit of heel with it right into the ground. That is my normal method of propagation for most things anyway. No hormone, no pots or special soil, but water well until you see new growth. That is how I started this terrace patch, now they do all the work! πŸ™‚

  12. TC says:

    I should have more pinks. Actually, I should have more of everything.

    Hi TC, thanks. Yes to more of everything. πŸ™‚

  13. Frances β€” I have to just come out and say that I am plain jealous of your Dianthus. I had them in my hot, sunny former garden but just have too much shade in this garden for them to do well. They are such a wonderful plant; dancing and frolicking as you say. And your photo of the path with everything in view is an absolute delight! I can almost smell the pinks.

    Hi Linda, thanks. You could probably still have them, but the bloom would be less. I think they are worth growing for the foliage alone. πŸ™‚

  14. I wait patiently for the Faire Garden and Bulbarella dianthus combo to bloom. They have doubled in size and are loaded with buds. A little division is in their future once bloom is finished.

    Hi Christopher, that sounds promising. I would go with a lot of division, they are so easy to start. Mine were initially divided to a single stem and quickly spread into large plants. They even seemed to do better as smaller pieces.

  15. keewee says:

    I have one lonely little Dianthus, but it comes back every year to tease me, perhaps into buying more. *grin* The way things are going, I am going to have to dig up some of the pasture in our 10 acres, for more garden space.

    Hi Keewee, your dianthus is telling you to merely divide it, no money involved. πŸ™‚

  16. commonweeder says:

    I love dianthus, but there must be something about our New England puritanism because they are anything but promiscuous in my garden. I keep trying and planting though.

    Hi Pat, HA, sorry about your uptight dianthus. Maybe it is the lax atmosphere here, anything goes! Holdover from our old hippie days. πŸ™‚

  17. Randy says:

    I had no idea there were so many Dianthus!My co-workers and I really love the second to the last picture, it’s just beautiful.

    Hi Randy, thanks to you and your co workers. It does seem that each of the seedlings are slightly different than the others. It makes it fun to get down low, smell the perfume, and notice the markings and pinking on the edges. I just love them all.

  18. Camellia says:

    A truly fair garden! And some gobsmackingly pretty Dianthuses. Have a nice weekend!

    Hi Camellia, thanks and welcome. I was blown away by your blues! πŸ™‚

  19. Sweet Bay says:

    I love your Dianthus! What an amazing sight, to see them all over your garden as they are. They are beautiful!

    Hi Sweetbay, thanks. Everything is astounding en masse, the dianthus are no exception. Thank goodness they can take the credit for the numbers with their seeding. πŸ™‚

  20. andrΓ© says:

    They seem to fit very well in your magic garden! Wow!

    Hi Andre, thanks, so nice to see you. The dianthus have definitely earned their keep here, when they began seeding about, I was amazed and quite happy with the results. They are allowed wherever they choose to grow. We cannot say that about all the plants here. πŸ™‚

  21. gail says:

    Frances, Along the wall in back…thanks for the great idea. Are you getting this downpour. It is past being helpful and onto smashing all the plants! gail

    Hi Gail, you are most welcome. It is my pleasure to give you advice for your garden! HA We had a good rain this morning, partly cloudy at the moment. More coming, you say? Hooray. So far 9/10 of an inch in the rain gauge. More would be welcome, the veggies and little seedlings from the greenhouse need water, more than I can give with the milk jugs.

  22. Hi Frances, I admit I’ve never been a big Dianthus fan, but your groupings go a long way to change my mind. Especially wonderful is the way you planted them along the walkway–they look very airy, flowing, and friendly. I’ll add them to my sowing list for next year!

    Hi Monica, not a fan of dianthus???? I wish you could see them in person, the effect is transporting! Anything en masse is wonderful though. πŸ™‚ I have had terrible luck trying to germinate them myself, but maybe your winter method will be just the ticket. I have tried one called Siberian Blues a couple of times with zero plants to show for it.

  23. Grumpy Gardener says:

    So what you seem to be saying, Frances, is that when it comes to Dianthus, promiscuity pays off. Who am I to argue? One thing I like about them is their adaptability to containers and tolerance of drought. I added ‘Firewitch’ to a succulent planter last spring. It bloomed like crazy this spring and I gave it no more water than the succulents.

    Hi Grumpy, yes, we are a pretty free thinking group here, especially when the flowers want to go play doctor behind the bleachers. With the lack of rain we have experienced these last two summers, the dianthus did not even bat an eyelash. The wet winter has not harmed them either. Pretty darn tough plants. πŸ™‚

  24. nancybond says:

    The combination of colours is just spectacular. I love the photo of your middle terrace — what a glorious spot to just stand or sit and ponder. πŸ™‚ Beautiful.

    Hi Nancy, thanks so much. Right now the middle terrace is the star of the show, too bad I can’t see it properly from the lazyboy! HA I can sit on the wide concrete steps though, and admire the bees working so hard and the scent of the azaleas and the dianthus. Life is good. πŸ™‚

  25. Katarina says:

    Frances, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such great shots of Dianthus before. Thanks for sharing this beautiful Blooming Friday post!

    Hi Katarina, thanks. The dianthus is a difficult flower to shoot clearly. Being wet seems to help. I took many many shots to get these few decent ones. Still better than last year’s effort. πŸ™‚

  26. Joanne says:

    Hi Frances what an excellent use of a sunny slope. I have always loved pinks since my Dad grew them when I was a kid and have always managed to keep some going here in Surrey but our garden soil is clay and in a wet winter I have many casulties. Then in summer they can be overgrown by thugs. However I still make sure I have some so that I can pop one or two blooms in a Tusy Musy so the perfume pervades through the house. You must think you’ve gone to heaven standing amongst so many such lovely flowers with all that perfume.
    I’m contemplating your Canon Powershot camera my current one is 7.3 mega pixcels I see Canon is 8 will that make so much difference do you think?

    Hi Joanne, thanks. You are doing your best to keep those going. Our soil is also heavy clay, but we are on such a steep slope that the drainage is usually not a problem. The middle terrace is one of our sunniest, driest spots also. The fragrance is heavenly between the deciduous azaleas and the pinks. As for the camera, I don’t think that difference in megapixels would make much difference. However the macro on that Canon works like a dream. It makes a noise that I have learned to recognize when it has finally done its best to focus up close. The setting is on superfine with the pixels also. I do highly recommend the Canon Powershots though. Do know that I take hundreds of photos to get just a handful of good ones. πŸ™‚

    • Joanne says:

      Frances Thank you for your advice. I do realise that you will be selecting out of many to produce shots like you do as oppossed to me just taking snaps. However my camera does go out of focus when you get to where you would like to see the detail so unless my daughter comes up with a better suggestion I will probably be following your advice.

      Hi Joanne, you are most welcome. I do strongly recommend the Canon powershot family. But of course the advice of your own family has much more weight. πŸ™‚

  27. Brenda Kula says:

    I have never seen all those various colors of dianthus before! I was just in Home Depot a few hours ago, and I saw the typical pink and red. Yours are just stunning. Especially that first photo.

    Hi Brenda, thanks. These seedlings are not in commerce! HA The genetic material has crossed between Bath’s Pink and Firewitch and produced all these wonderful variations. Each one is slightly different than the other. Home Depot or anywhere else for that matter will not be offering these for sale. πŸ™‚

  28. Racquel says:

    I love their spicy scent and how one plant can many variations of a a color or two colors even. They love this cooler weather right now & are blooming their heads off. The pathway where yours are dancing is colorful, and the stepping stones are brilliant. πŸ™‚

    Hi Racquel, thanks so much. It is raining now and the weather has cooled enough that we hope the bloom times will last longer. The Solomon’s seal flowers just crisped, sadly. Save the azaleas! πŸ™‚

  29. Rose says:

    I’m going to have to remember the Canon powershot whenever I finally go camera shopping; your close-ups are magnificent! But most of all, I like the broad view–what a delightfully dancing display of dianthus. And I do like promiscuous flowers:)

    Hi Rose, thanks. I can recommend the Canon powershot family without reservation, especially for the macro flower pics. It is harder to take the long shots, they just don’t have the wow factor of the close ups, never looking as good as the real life things. We share the love of flowers that like to make more of themselves. πŸ™‚

  30. Pretty, pretty! I’ve become increasingly enamored of crimson & pink together. Your Dianthus have that in spades.

    Hi MMD, thanks. Glad to see you are branching out from the pastel phase! πŸ™‚ For me, the more colors mixed together the better.

  31. Candy says:

    Dazzling and glorious! In my little patch of earth I have two or three dianthus. I think I shall show them your photos to inspire them to be bold and explode! If they don’t respond, I can always return to your beautiful garden. I wish the spicy scent would waft out of my Mac! Thank you for sharing these joyful flowers.

    Hi Candy, thanks and welcome. The dianthus can also be propagated by cuttings with a heel simply stuck into the ground and watered until they root. That is how I started out, before they took over, doing it THEIR way! HA

  32. Maria says:

    Large variety of Dianthus. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous little flowers.

    Hi Marie, thanks and welcome. The dianthus has created some wonderful color combinations with their cross pollination. πŸ™‚

  33. Jan says:

    Lovely flowers. I never considered growing dianthus because I don’t think they last long here. I just may have to try the cheddar ones to see if I can have these pretty little flowers, too.

    Always Growing

    Hi Jan, thanks. Maybe you can find some that will do well in your climate. πŸ™‚

  34. I learned a lot about dianthus culture from this post and comments. Too bad I don’t have enough sun to take advantage of it, but I could enjoy yours vicariously, I love the closeups of their variations, and the ornamental grass with dianthus is graceful and inviting, I hadn’t thought of that – I always think of dianthus with Mediterranean herbs.

    Hi Pomona, thanks. Dianthus does love the company of lavender and thymes, etc. I do think the stipa, now called Nasella, sigh, looks good with everything. Since it seeds about, I often let it stay wherever it shows up. I was wondering if the dianthus would still grow in shade, just now flowering as much. The silver foliage is reason enough to grow it, IMHO. πŸ™‚

  35. lynn says:

    My favorite is the first photo…I love the soft pink and the dark contrast eye! Whenever I plant dianthus, rabbits (or other pests) always dig them out and leave the plugs right there next to the hole! The whole view of the walk is so beautiful and I’m still ooohhing over your yellow azaleas, Frances…so beautiful!

    Hi Lynn, thanks. I found the dianthus with some moisture on them were photographed more clearly. Always learning. I wish you could see the azaleas, they are amazing right now. πŸ™‚

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