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Dianthus chinensis Telstar (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)
Dianthus chinensis Telstar (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)

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Zone
Zones A2, A3, 1-24
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Dianthus chinensis

Chinese Pink, Rainbow Pink
Caryophyllaceae
Perennials, Flowers

DIANTHUS

More than 300 species and an extremely large number of hybrids. Most kinds form attractive evergreen mats or tufts of grasslike green, gray-green, blue-green, or gray-blue leaves. Single, semidouble, or double flowers in white and shades of pink, rose, red, yellow, and orange; many have a rich, spicy fragrance. Main bloom period for most is spring into early summer; some kinds rebloom later in season or keep going into fall if faded flowers are removed. All kinds of dianthus thrive in light, fast-draining soil.

Dianthus chinensis Telstar (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)
Dianthus chinensis Telstar (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)

Click to Enlarge

Dianthus chinensis

Biennial or short-lived perennial; most varieties are grown as annuals. Erect plant to 6–30 in. high and 6–10 in. wide; stems branch only at top. Stem leaves are narrow, 1–3 in. long, 1/2 in. wide, hairy on margins. Basal leaves are usually gone by flowering time. Flowers are about 1 in. across, rose-lilac with a deeper-colored eye; lack fragrance.

Modern strains are compact domes (1 ft. high or less) covered with bright flowers in white, pink, red, and all variations and combinations of those colors. Petals are deeply fringed on some, smooth-edged on others. Some flowers have intricately marked eyes. ‘Fire Carpet’ is solid red; ‘Snowfire’, white with a red eye. Telstar is a bushy, extra-dwarf (6–8 in.) strain with dark green leaves. Sow directly in ground in spring, in full sun, for summer bloom. Pick off faded flowers with their bases to prolong bloom.

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