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Genus Dianthus (Carnation, Pink)

Dianthus Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch' Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Bluestone Perennials
dy-ANN-thus Common Name: Carnation, Pink
The diverse genus Dianthus includes plants that range from choice alpine species to large cut-flower hybrids, and because of this they are at home in the rock garden, flower border, and formal or informal herb garden. They are grown for their prolific, colorful, disc-like blossoms, many of which are decoratively fringed and sweetly fragrant. Many have grass-like foliage that adds to their value in the garden.
Noteworthy characteristics: Showy single and double flowers in white, red, and every shade in between.
Care: Dianthus require full sun and sharp drainage. Most prefer neutral to alkaline soil, but a few, acidic soil.
Propagation: Sow seed in autumn to early spring, seed of biennials in summer. Take cuttings in summer.
Problems: Crown rot, slugs, sow bugs, grasshoppers, chipmunks, squirrels.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Dianthus

Dianthus 'Bath's Pink' Dianthus 'Bath's Pink'
(Cheddar pink)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Dianthus 'Bath's Pink' is a stunning, wide-spreading ground cover with grassy, blue-green foliage and pink flowers. Use it to edge a bed or grow it in your rock garden for a splash of cool color. To keep its blooms going, be sure to deadhead.

Dianthus 'Neon Star' Dianthus 'Neon Star'
(Carnation, Pink)
(3 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This hybrid has a compact, mounding habit, with silvery-blue foliage and fluorescent pink toothed flowers, which continue blooming with deadheading.

Dianthus × allwoodii Dianthus × allwoodii
(Allwood hybrids)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

These modern hybrids bear salmon-pink blossoms ('Doris' has scarlet in the center) and bloom freely with moderate fragrance.

Dianthus alpinus Dianthus alpinus
(Alpine pink)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Clusters of serrated single blooms in pink to dark crimson sit just off the ground in summer.

Dianthus barbatus Dianthus barbatus
(Sweet William)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

These short-lived perennials or biennials are charming plants, and are worth their weight in gold in the cottage border. After flowering, the attractive foliage holds the space well.

Dianthus barbatus 'Summer Sundae' Dianthus barbatus 'Summer Sundae'
(Sweet William)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

'Summer Sundae' Sweet William is a nice mix of red, pink, and white flowers held in rounded groups at the tops of stems. Plants bloom from late spring to early summer. The flowers are lightly fragrant. Use in a cottage garden or border, or in containers. It flowers the first year from seed.

Dianthus chinensis ‘Ideal Crimson' Dianthus chinensis ‘Ideal Crimson'
(China pink, India pink)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Fringed flowers in shades of bright red with white centers open without fragrance in summer. 

Dianthus deltoides Dianthus deltoides
(Maiden pink)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This mat-forming species with dark green leaves is one of the easiest to grow.  Blossoms range from white to red and are usually single and without fragrance. Use as bedding or in rock gardens.

Dianthus deltoides 'Arctic Fire' Dianthus deltoides 'Arctic Fire'
(Maiden pink)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This mat-forming species with narrow, dark green leaves is one of the easiest to grow. Blossoms with red eyes open in early summer and may rebloom if sheared back after flowering.

Dianthus gratianopolitanus Dianthus gratianopolitanus
(Cheddar pink)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This compact species forms broad mats of blue-gray linear leaves and is perfect for a rock garden setting. The purplish-pink flowers are solitary, toothed, and deliciously fragrant. 

Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch' Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch'
(Cheddar pink)
(2 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Silvery-blue mats of evergreen, linear foliage. Well-known and loved for the showy, profuse, single, magenta blooms, spring-fall. 'Firewitch' exudes the spicy scent of cloves. Very hardy; good performer. Moderate to fast grower. Heat resistant and tolerant of humidity. Excellent for use in containers, as an edger, in rock gardens, scented gardens and the front of the border. If cut back, they often rebloom in early fall. Considered deer resistant once established. Attracts butterflies!  Very suitable for gardens in the South. -Santa Rosa Gardens

no image available Dianthus plumarius
(Modern border pink)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Especially fragrant and variable in color, modern border pinks form mats of grayish green leaves and fringed, saucer-shaped flowers.