A cottage garden favorite, Dianthus is a genus of flowering plants in the Caryophyllaceae family. Of the 300 species, most are native to Europe and Asia, some are native to North Africa, and one alpine species is native to the arctic regions of North America. Many are herbaceous perennials, but there are also some hardy annuals and biennials, and even some that are classified as dwarf shrubs. They have narrow, linear leaves with a blue-green hue, facing each other on narrow stalks. Flowers typically consist of five petals, often with a ruffled or zigzag border, in shades of white or red ranging from pale pink to deep maroon. They are often bicolored.
With a long flowering season from late spring to early fall, her attractive mounds and pretty flowers are complemented by a heady scent of spicy sweetness reminiscent of cinnamon and cloves. With so much to love, you’re probably dying to learn how to grow these beauties in the garden. The following comes: cultivation and history One of the earliest cultivated flowers, Dianthus species have been revered for centuries and were widespread in ancient Greek and Roman times. They were often used in elaborate friezes on important buildings and added to festive garlands. The name of this genus derives from a combination of the Greek words dios (god) and anthos (flower) or “flower of the gods”.
How they got the name is a bit unclear, but there are a few viable stories to consider. One myth has it that Diana, the Greek goddess of the hunt, blamed a flute-playing shepherd for scaring away her prey. In a fit of anger she ripped out his eyes, and where they fell grew red carnations—a symbol of innocent blood. According to Christian mythology, carnations first bloomed along the Via Dolorosa, where Mary’s tears flowed as Jesus carried the cross to Calvary – another reference to the symbolism of the innocent blood. How to grow dianthus flowers
Hardiness varies between species, ranging from zones 3 to 9, but all are easily grown in the home garden.
If you are unsure whether your plant will survive the winter in your area, be sure to take some cuttings or allow the seedlings to overwinter until next spring. (See Propagation Notes below.) Carnations grow up to 24 inches tall, carnations have erect habit up to 18 inches, and old-fashioned carnations form mounds that can reach 6 to 10 inches in height. Alpine carnations are the smallest, forming mats only 10 to 15 cm high. The short, mounding carnations make a striking accent at the front of borders, rockeries and flower boxes. Tall carnations and carnations can be placed further back in garden beds for an attractive second layer of colour. All prefer a full sun location where they receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day and require well-drained soil. Sufficient air circulation is also important.
Before planting, give them nutrient-rich soil in which 5 to 10 cm of well-rotted compost has been incorporated to a depth of 30 cm, and apply a compost fertilizer again in spring. Water new plants weekly. They can be fertilized every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season with an all purpose liquid fertilizer such as 20-10-20 or apply a slow release pellet fertilizer in spring. Pinch or trim off dead flowers to prevent seed formation and encourage additional flowering. At the end of the growing season, cut the flower stalks back down to the ground. For winter protection, apply a 10cm layer of dry mulch after the first severe frost and remove in spring when new growth begins.
Propagation of dianthus plants Dianthus can be propagated from seeds planted indoors, sown directly in the garden, or grown from stem cuttings. Start sowing indoors 2–8 weeks before the last frost in your area. Plant the plant in a light, loamy soil mix, sprinkle the seeds over it, and then cover with a light layer of soil. Cover the container with a glass cloche or plastic bag to keep the soil moist and warm. Once the seedlings have 2-3 true leaves, transfer them to their own pots. Once they are 10-12cm tall you can transplant them outdoors. If you plan to sow directly outdoors, plant the seeds to a depth of 3mm as soon as there is no danger of frost.