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    Gardening with Dianthus

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    Dianthus is a Beautiful Perennial that Will Flower All Summer Long

    Dianthus is a mounding, flowering plant originally native to Europe and Asia, with a few species found in northern Africa. I’ve found them to be a magnificent perennial accent plant for my garden, particularly in their second year here in Michigan.

    Once the cold weather let up, the Dianthus I had planted in my garden the year before shot up like Olympic sprinters, popping flowers in no time and filling out robustly. My garden now has eight lush, completely flower covered mounds of vegetation approximately 12″ to 14″ high by 18″ or more in diameter. They are flowering so profusely it’s like looking at small mini-hedges completely capped in white, all with little gardening effort involved.

    Dianthus also come in a wide variety of colors, and color combinations, ranging from white, to red, to violet, with combination colors such as pink/red centers with white edges. If you have a color preference for your garden, it’s likely you’ll be able to find a variety of Dianthus pleasing to your eye.

    Gardening with Dianthus
    Gardening with Dianthus

    A distinctive attribute of the Dianthus flower are the frayed edges to the petals. This lends them an additional point of interest in your garden; one that caught my eye.

    Dianthuses do like full sunlight, approximately 4-6 hours each day.

    Your Dianthus will prefer well drained, slightly alkaline soil. I must admit I have no clue what type of soil exists in my garden. What I can say is the Dianthus purchased from my local nursery transplanted from their plastic egg-crate containers just fine and are thriving.

    Plant your Dianthus with the root-crown flush with the top of the soil; avoid burying the stem.

    Plant your Dianthus between 10″ and 12″ apart, although they tolerate a little crowding and will display well in groups.

    Water your Dianthus once a week unless it is unusually dry. If yellow leaves are appearing on your Dianthus it may be a sign of over watering. I’ve also seen references that recommend you not mulch around Dianthus to promote good airflow around their stems, free from lingering moisture. I’ve not had this problem, and do have some mulch around my Dianthus, but I don’t over water them to begin with and only employ a small amount of mulch. The wisdom here would seem to be don’t overdo the watering and don’t overdo the mulch.

    To promote continued blooming of your Dianthus remove spent flowers and fertilize with 10-10-10 fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks.

    Dianthus can be propagated from cuttings, provided you understand the technique. A reference to Dianthus propagation through tip cuttings can be found here: Dianthus Cuttings.

    Inexpensive to buy, producing a profuse amount of flowers available in a wide variety of colors, Dianthus represent a fine addition to any garden.

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