by Jennifer Poindexter
Do you love getting a great deal? If so, you’ll love hearing about my dianthus. A few years ago, I was in need of perennial flowers. When I go to my local big box store, they frequently have a cart with discounted plants. As I was strolling by, to see what good deals I could manage, I saw multiple pots of perennial dianthus. Are you ready for this? I bought them for a dollar a piece.
For ten dollars, I walked out of the store with enough perennial flowers to keep my home bright with color for years to come. You can imagine, after striking such a deal, I learned all I could about keeping my dianthus happy and thriving. Here are my top tips for raising this flower around your property.
1. Provide the Right Amount of Light
Dianthus can handle full or dappled sunlight. In an ideal location, they’d receive six or more hours of sunlight per day.
The more sunlight dianthus receives, the brighter their blooms. If you want this flower to put on a show, provide the light they desire.
2. Dianthus Need Proper Soil
It shouldn’t be surprising that dianthus need a specific type of soil to grow well. Most plants require this basic need.
Therefore, be sure to plant dianthus in well-draining soil. This should allow the plants to receive the water they need without being forced to live in continuously soggy conditions.
3. Plant at the Right Time
It’s important to plant dianthus after all threat of frost is over. Even if the variety you’ve chosen is a perennial.
The plants need time to establish their root systems, in a new location, before they must weather harsh conditions. Ensure you plant at the right time to give these flowers the best start possible.
4. Know Your Variety
Dianthus is a flower that might truly fit everyone. This type of flower includes over 300 varieties of plants!
Most dianthus flowers are perennials. However, some varieties are biennials or annuals. Pick the correct variety for what you’re trying to achieve on your property.
5. Provide Enough Space
Dianthus are bushy plants. They like to spread their stems and form a thick mound of color. Therefore, they need adequate spacing when planted.
I grow my dianthus in containers. They surround our firepit, and I use them in my window boxes on my front porch. How many plants you grow in a container will vary by container size. I usually grow one dianthus plant in circular containers and three of these plants in my elongated window boxes.
However, if you’re growing dianthus in the ground, you should place a foot between each plant. This will provide room for the flower to stretch, and still allow adequate airflow.
6. Water Correctly
Dianthus flowers are low-maintenance. They do need to be watered deeply to encourage a strong root system.
However, you only need to water them once they are fully dry. Apply water for a longer period of time, during a watering session, to ensure it reaches the roots.
Once finished, don’t apply any more water until you test the soil with your finger. Insert your finger into the dirt, next to your plant. When it’s dry to your second knuckle, it’s time to add more water to your flowers.
7. Divide Dianthus
Many varieties of dianthus are perennial. There will come a time when each plant should be divided. This type of flower has a tendency to age quickly.
Therefore, it’s wise to divide your dianthus once every year or two. Dig the entire plant up, ensuring you remove the entire root system.
Use a spade to divide the plant down the center, through the roots. Take the newly divided plants and transplant them in a location where all the growing conditions are provided. Be sure to divide your dianthus in early fall. By this time, blooming should have fully stopped.
You can also propagate dianthus from cuttings, which is also recommended each year, to ensure you never run low on these plants.
8. Practice Deadheading
Dianthus plants are typically good at self-sowing. However, you may not want as many plants as they naturally produce.
Therefore, it’s wise to deadhead your spent blooms to avoid further seeding. All plants only bloom for a certain period. When the dianthus blooms begin to fade, use scissors to remove them.
Deadheading can also encourage prolonged blooming. If you’re deadheading to create more blooms, remove the entire stem of the dead bloom, at the base of the plant. This will cause the plant to become fuller.
9. Don’t Grow in the Wrong Planting Zone
Dianthus flowers are great for a variety of planting zones. However, there are a few places where they can’t survive.
If you live in planting zones three through nine, this is a great flower choice for you. Yet, if you live in places that are warmer than zone nine or colder than zone three, dianthus won’t thrive in these conditions.
Dianthus typically enjoy temperatures between 40-degrees Fahrenheit and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. If your planting zone struggles to maintain these temperatures, you could be wasting your time with this plant.
10. Don’t Ignore Pests and Diseases
Dianthus flowers have a few threats you must be aware of. There are many fungal diseases which like to attack this flower and a few bacteria as well.
By staying alert to stem rot, rust, leaf spot, and wilt, you should be able to head off many threats. Treat the flowers with a fungicide, increase air flow, and reduce water amounts for fungal diseases.
If your dianthus has contracted bacterial wilt, you should remove the plant from the growing area and avoid composting it. This will only allow the bacteria to spread to other plants.
The pests which frequent dianthus are aphids and cutworms. Both of which can be treated using insecticides.
11. Don’t Over Fertilize Your Flowers
When growing flowers, it’s tempting to fertilize regularly. This isn’t needed when caring for dianthus. They should only be fertilized once every two months.
Some people fertilize their dianthus as little as one time per year. How frequently you fertilize will boil down to your soil and the needs of your plants.
To keep the blooms bright and bountiful, use a balanced fertilizer to supply the nutrients the plants need to keep producing.
12. Don’t Add Mulch to Dianthus Flowers
Most plants thrive when surrounded by mulch. Dianthus is not one of them. Instead, they need to dry out fully between watering sessions. Mulch can make this difficult.
The plant also needs plenty of airflow surrounding it to avoid fungal issues. Considering how the plant mounds, mulch can hinder air from reaching the stems on the plant.
If you need a beautiful plant that adds a splash of color to your property, dianthus could be it. The flowers can be grown in an inground garden plot.
However, they’re also wonderful for containers. Remember to stay alert to potential threats and divide the plants as needed.
As long as you pick a perennial variety, they should return for many years. When you need a low-maintenance flower that does well in most planting zones, reach for dianthus.