Hybrid Pink/Dianthus

The genus Dianthus contains both Carnations and Pinks, while the groups themselves are divided into many sub-divisions. This pretty perennial Hybrid Pink is typical of the group and makes an excellent, fragrant cut flower and patio plant; if positioned near a doorway, its sweet, clove-like fragrance will waft indoors on the evening air. It is an adaptable plant and will even grow in cracks and crevices in walls, and in the gaps between paving slabs.

The evergreen foliage of this Dianthus is an almost blue-grey and combines well with the white of the many-petalled flowers. It is one of the Modern Pinks, having been developed by crossing the Old Fashioned Pink with a Perpetual Flowering Carnation, and is able to bloom some 2-3 times during the Summer. The named hybrids are easily propagated from cuttings (pipings) taken in late Summer and tucked into some sandy soil outdoors; old plants should be replaced every 2-3 years, as old stock tends to become leggy and unattractive, while two-year-old plants bloom best. Cultivars are available in shades of red, pink and white together with recent developments in yellow.

This fully frost-hardy plant is an excellent container plant for the patio: it is unsuitable for indoor culture.

Grow this plant in an open, sunny position: in Summer, light shade is tolerated, but the plant should be placed out of drying winds.

Water the compost well, then allow the top 2cm (1in) of compost to dry before giving the next thorough watering: in Winter, keep the compost barely moist. At all times, avoid over-watering. Dianthus will tolerate hard water.

This tough and frost-hardy plant has no need of additional humidity; if any excess moisture builds up among the closely-packed leaves, the plant is likely to rot.

Recently-potted plants need no additional feed: plants used in mixed plantings will not suffer if feed is given to the other plants in the same container.

Grow Dianthus in a good-quality, loam-based compost: sharp drainage is essential, and the drainage can be improved by the addition of up to a quarter by volume of horticultural grit. Dianthus benefit from the addition of lime to the compost.

Dead-head this plant regularly to ensure continuing production of flowers: take the stems off as far back as possible.

PLANT SURGERY

Healthy plants: Dianthus hate wet compost: always use a very free-draining medium. Some cultivars have been specifically bred from virus-free stock. Select from these cultivars if you have difficulty in growing healthy Dianthus.

Red Spider Mite can affect some plants, especially in hot, dry weather: remove badly-affected parts of the plant and treat the remainder of the plant with a systemic insecticide. Badly-affected plants may have to be destroyed.

09. August 2013 by admin
Categories: Tips and Advice | Comments Off on Hybrid Pink/Dianthus

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