Dianthus: A Classic, Fragrant Perennial

by Amanda

Dianthus is an old garden favorite, with spicy clove fragrance and colorful notched petals, illuminating gardens since Elizabethan times.

There is a wide variety of Dianthus, also known as pinks, maiden pinks and carnations. These are similar in style to the carnations you buy in local florist shops. The main difference is they are smaller and some have different textures. From small, brilliant-hued pinks to the full-sized powder-puff carnations, they add distinct color to the garden and make for elegant arrangements.

Most dianthus bloom pink, red and white with notched petals. The low-growing varieties are great for rock gardens and the taller varieties are ideal for fragrant summer bouquets. Dianthus looks best planted in the front border of the garden, which allows their delicate blooms to be seen easily and easily accessible for cutting.

The distinct clove fragrance of Dianthus makes them unappealing to deer, squirrels and other critters. This hardy perennial multiplies each year and attracts pollinators to the garden in the summer months. Dianthus prefers full sun and well draining to dry soil. It won’t tolerate wet soil, especially in the winter months.

To care for Dianthus, we recommend spreading a thin layer of mulch to help retain moisture in areas that are extremely dry. In other cases, mulch could retain too much moisture and the plant could rot. Remove spent blooms to allow for new blooms to emerge and after there has been a hard frost in the garden, cut stems back to several inches above the ground. After three to four years in the garden, divide and re-plant your Dianthus as it multiplies in the spring.

Dianthus is a rewarding perennial to grow in the garden, creating a party for the senses from the early summer garden all the way through until frost.

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  1. Scent First® Romance Garden Pinks, Dianthus

    Scent First® Romance Dianthus (Garden Pinks) is compact in habit, but not short on blooms. It gives sunny gardens a beautiful display of salmon pink blooms in late spring and a spic...

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    Scent First® Romance Garden Pinks Scent First® Romance Garden Pinks Scent First® Romance Dianthus
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    Scent First® Romance Dianthus (Garden Pinks) is compact in habit, but not short on blooms. It gives sunny gardens a beautiful display of salmon pink blooms in late spring and a spicy sweet fragrance. ‘Romance’ also boasts an attractive, low mounding habit of spiky silver-blue foliage, perfect for border edging. Deer resistant. Great cut flower. (Dianthus)
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    Fire Star Dianthus blooms from late spring to fall. The red blooms are fragrant, and make for an excellent low maintenance border or ground cover. Cut back after flowering and it ...

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    Fire Star Dianthus Fire Star Alpine Pinks PP#14895 Dianthus Fire Star PP#14895
    $15.98 Sale $7.99
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    Fire Star Dianthus blooms from late spring to fall. The red blooms are fragrant, and make for an excellent low maintenance border or ground cover. Cut back after flowering and it will re-bloom in the fall. Fire Star thrives in hot dry sites or gravelly soils. Perfect for slopes and rock gardens. (Dianthus)PP#14895
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    Arctic Fire Dianthus Arctic Fire Dianthus Dianthus deltoide
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    Arctic Fire Dianthus blossoms shine with brilliant ruby-red eyes glowing against dazzling white petals. Commonly known as Garden Pinks, plants explode with a profusion of flowers in late spring and early summer, carpeting the ground and drawing butterflies to the garden. Dense mats of evergreen foliage provide lush groundcover along walkways and garden borders. Deer resistant. (Dianthus deltoides)
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