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Midwest Gardening
Dianthus Whetman Pinks

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The Whetman breeders have introduced many improved Dianthus hybrids

The Dianthus genus includes hardy perennials most notably the “pinks” (Dianthus superbus), as well as biennials and short lived perennials such as the Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus), and annuals.  Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) are also a part of the Dianthus genus, some are hardy and some are not.  In northern gardens, some Dianthus can only be grown as annuals.  Select your Dianthus carefully to be sure you are getting a hardy perennial.

Superbus is the subspecies that includes the “pinks”.  Dianthus superbus are referred to as the Garden Pinks or Wild Pinks.  Pinks are easy to grow and very hardy.  Dianthus plumarius are ‘Feathered Pinks’ and heirloom pinks referred to as Large Pinks, very hardy and difficult to find.    Dianthus gratianopolitanus are the Cheddar Pinks.  Dianthus deltoides are Maiden Pinks.  Dianthus monspessulanus are Fringed Pinks.  Dianthus chinensis are the China Pinks.  And then of course, there are the hybrids.  Once planted in well drained soil with plenty of sun, occasional water and division every few years is about all they need.  Cottage garden pinks are excellent low growing, prolific bloomers for the front of a border, rock garden or edging. 

 

The Whetman Dessert Series Dianthus are perpetual bloomers presenting their best display in early spring.  Sporadic blooming continues all summer and often bloom quite heavily again in fall.  They are barbatus (Sweet William) hybrids and seem to be a bit more vigorous than the Whetman Star Series with a more open growth habit.  The Dessert Series will tolerate heat and drought for only short periods and should be provided with supplemental water.  Cooler climates with consistent water will produce the best bloom color.  Typical of Dianthus, Dessert Series are short lived, and should be divided every 2 or 3 years to propagate new plants.

Whetman’s Star Series has alpine dianthus parentage that has been improved, and are fairly heat tolerant  They tend to grow vigorously and are highly disease resistant..  The short and compact form lends itself well to border edging and rock gardens.  Typical of dianthus the plants are short lived and should be divided every 2 to 3 years to propagate new plants.

Dianthus x ‘Cranberry Ice’
Dianthus Cranberry Ice by beautiful cataya

  • Common Name:  Whetman Pinks, Border Pinks
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous evergreen perennial
  • Height: 6-10”
  • Spread:  8-15”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Very adaptable but prefers average watering, do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Soil must be well drained, prefers neutral to alkaline pH.  Will tolerate most soil conditions.
  • Growth Habit:  Compact and mounded
  • Bloom Time: Early Summer and Early Fall
  • Bloom Color: Pink, fuchsia and purple creating an intricate pattern.
  • Bloom Form:  1 1/2” single blooms with five broad petals notched at the outer edges.
  • Foliage:  Very narrow blue green leaves with pointed tips.
  • Fragrance:  Spicy scent
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Susceptible to crown rot if over watered or if soil is poorly drained.
  • Fertilize: Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring
  • Maintenance: Divide in spring or fall.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  Deer resistant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 5-9

‘Cranberry Ice’ has stunning bright rose pink petals with a wide cranberry picotee,  cranberry halo and white throat.  The blooms are 1 1/2, making a big impact in your garden.  The heaviest blooming period is early summer and again in early fall, but will bloom lightly throughout the season.  Deadhead to encourage more blooming.  ‘Cranberry Ice’ may be hardy in zone 4, try it in a protected spot. Use for garden borders, accent or entry plantings, mass plantings, or containers. 

 

Dianthus x ‘Raspberry Ripple’
Dianthus 'Raspberry Ripple'

  • Common Name:  Whetman Pinks, Border Pinks
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous evergreen perennial
  • Height: 23-29”
  • Spread:  18-23”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Very adaptable but prefers average watering, do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Soil must be well drained, prefers neutral to alkaline pH.  Will tolerate most soil conditions.
  • Growth Habit:  Compact and mounded
  • Bloom Time: June to frost
  • Bloom Color: Double white blooms with raspberry picotee
  • Bloom Form:  1 1/2” single blooms with five broad petals notched at the outer edges.
  • Foliage:  Very narrow blue green leaves with pointed tips.
  • Fragrance:  Citrus scent
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Susceptible to crown rot if over watered or if soil is poorly drained.
  • Fertilize: Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring
  • Maintenance: Divide in spring or fall.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  Deer resistant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 5-9

‘Raspberry Ripple’ has double white blooms splashed with a raspberry on 18” stems.  A larger plant overall then ‘Cranberry Ice’, the long stems and sweet citrus scent make ‘Raspberry Ripple’ a great cut flower.  The blooms are 1 1/2, making a big impact in your garden.  The heaviest blooming period is July and August, but will bloom lightly throughout the season.  Deadhead to encourage more blooming.  ‘Cranberry Ice’ may be hardy in zone 4, try it in a protected spot. Use for garden borders, accent or entry plantings, mass plantings, or containers.  ‘Raspberry Ripple’ is easily grown from seed, germinating and growing quickly.  Does best in mild summer regions.

 

Dianthus x ‘Spangled Star’
Dianthus Spangled Star

  • Common Name:  Whetman Pinks, Border Pinks
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous evergreen perennial
  • Height: 3-9”
  • Spread:  12-15”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Very adaptable but prefers average watering, do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Soil must be well drained, prefers neutral to alkaline pH.  Will tolerate most soil conditions, prefers a loose sandy soil.
  • Growth Habit:  Compact mound
  • Bloom Time: May through July, repeating through September
  • Bloom Color: Deep red with pink
  • Bloom Form:  3/4” single blooms with five broad petals with fringed edges
  • Foliage:  Very narrow gray-blue green leaves with pointed tips.
  • Fragrance:  Clove scent
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Susceptible to crown rot if over watered or if soil is poorly drained.
  • Fertilize: Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring.
  • Maintenance: Divide in spring or fall.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  Deer resistant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 5-9

‘Spangled Star’ has a very intricate pattern on its’ petals.  Deep red is accented with two pink spots on each petal, pink margins and throat. The effect is bright and cheery, very striking.   One of the earliest Dianthus to flower, ‘Spangled Star’ will bloom heavily in spring, and continue through summer and fall.  Deadhead spent blooms to encourage continued blooming.  The evergreen foliage is blue green and mat forming.  Although ‘Spangled Star’ is quite heat tolerant, afternoon shade and supplemental water will benefit the plant in hot dry periods.  Many retailers claim ‘Spangled Star’ is hardy in zone 4.  Try it in a protected area and apply a winter mulch.  Or just grow it from seed, a very minimal investment.

 

Dianthus x ‘Fire Star
Dianthus Fire Star by John Brandauer

  • Common Name:  Whetman Pinks, Border Pinks
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous evergreen perennial
  • Height: 8”
  • Spread:  8-12”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Very adaptable but prefers average watering, do not over water.
  • Soil Requirements:  Soil must be well drained, prefers neutral to alkaline pH.  Will tolerate most soil conditions, prefers a loose sandy soil.
  • Growth Habit:  Compact mound
  • Bloom Time: May through July, repeating through September
  • Bloom Color: Fire red with a deep crimson eye
  • Bloom Form:  3/4” single blooms with overlapping petals with fringed edges
  • Foliage:  Very narrow gray green leaves with pointed tips.
  • Fragrance:  Clove scent
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  Susceptible to crown rot if over watered or if soil is poorly drained.
  • Fertilize: Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring.
  • Maintenance: Divide in spring or fall.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  Deer resistant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 5-9
Dianthus Fire Star

‘Fire Star’s’ stop you in your tracks, saturated color is fire red with a deep crimson halo and throat.       Heavy blooming in spring is followed by sporadic blooming through the summer, and finishes with a fall blooming.  Deadhead spent blooms to encourage continued blooming.  The evergreen foliage is gray green with compact growth..  Although ‘Fire Star’ is quite heat tolerant, afternoon shade and supplemental water will benefit the plant in hot dry periods.  Great as a border edging and in hot spots.

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