Caring for Dianthus:
Dianthus flowers have jagged edges that are described using the Latin word "pinct," meaning scalloped. It is because of their scalloped edges and Latin word that Dianthus flowers are commonly referred to as "pinks." Dianthus blossoms are fragrantly spicy, smelling of cinnamon or cloves. They grow in a tightly controlled mound shape, making them an excellent edging plant in flower beds.
Climate and Preferred Conditions
More than 300 species exist in the genus Dianthus, family Caryophyllaceae. These perennial plants are hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture climate zones 3 through 10, depending on the species. Dianthus plants may grow in partial shade or full sun, and are drought tolerant when established. Dianthus prefers well-draining, alkaline soils. However, they can withstand poor soils and may even be grown in a rock garden.
How To Plant
Plant Dianthus in early spring. Choose a sunny spot in the garden and till the seedbed to prepare. Work fertilizer into the soil and amend soil with a 5-10-5 fertilizer. Dig a trench of 1 to 2 inches and scatter the seeds in the trench. Cover the seeds with soil and water gently, just enough to moisten the soil. Keep the soil moist until seeds have germinated. Once the seeds have germinated, switch to a weekly watering schedule that is deeper. Thin the seedlings once they've sprouted, favoring the strongest and most healthy plants.
Dianthus is generally not susceptible to serious diseases, but may become infected with aphids or other insects. Inspect once per month for aphids and other pests. Treat with insecticidal soaps or through biological controls, such as beneficial predatory insects.
Dianthus plants have a natural mounding shape and display no invasive behaviors. As a result, Dianthus plants require little pruning. However, you can encourage a second flowering in the season by pruning back plants after blooming. Use sharp, sterilized trimmers to cut off the blossoms at the base of the stems.
Dianthus does not need to be mulched and requires good air circulation. This means that plants should be spaced apart 12 inches per plant to allow room for the plants to grow. Feed dianthus every other month with all-purpose liquid fertilizer. Do not water during rainy or wet seasons as the roots will need to dry between waterings. -Birdy