The many varieties of dianthus mean that in Texas, they are both popular, easy-to-grow perennials as well as seasonal ornamentals for fall and winter.
Dianthus prefers full sun but tolerates some afternoon shade. The soil should be neutral to alkaline and well-drained. These plants hate to stand in water. Established plants are very drought tolerant.
While some Dianthus species are long-lived, low-maintenance perennials, others are short-lived perennials or biennials, so in most of Texas, they are frequently used as cool-season annuals, planted in fall. If you choose to perennialize them in the garden, they will typically stop blooming in the heat of summer. In August, shear off the tops to encourage fresh fall blooms.
Use cheddar pink in mixed perennial beds, on rock and retaining walls, for edging borders and walkways, in cutting gardens and even as groundcovers. Combine China pink with other cool season annuals such as pansies and dusty miller. It is excellent for containers.
D. chinensis (China pink) is a clumping, short-lived perennial usually grown as an annual. It bears sturdy, white, red, pink, magenta or multi-colored blooms. Many cultivars are available, ranging from dwarf plants to 36" tall specimens. The Ideal Series is commonly available. The newer Parfait Series offers up compact plants with very large, stunning, multi-colored flowers.
D. gratianopolitanus (cheddar pink) is long-lived and forms a very dense, spreading mat of 4–8" tall, evergreen, silvery gray foliage with sweet-scented flowers, usually in shades of pink. ‘Bath’s Pink’ can reach 10" tall, has blue-green foliage and bears an abundance of light to medium pink flowers. ‘Firewitch’ (‘Feuerhexe’) is an upright selection that bears rosy pink flowers.
Also called: pink
Features: pink, red, white, purple or multi-colored, spring or summer flowers; attractive foliage
Hardiness: zones 3–9
Sidebar: Many Dianthus varieties produce wonderfully sweet fragrances. They attract butterflies to the garden.