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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 A1, 1-24
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Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Dianthus plumarius

Cottage 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 plumarius (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)
Dianthus plumarius (photo courtesy of Annie’s Annuals & Perennials)

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Dianthus plumarius

Charming, almost legendary European species, cultivated for hundreds of years and used in developing many hybrids. Typically has loosely matted gray-green foliage in a clump to 2 ft. wide. Flowering stems grow to 10–18 in. high; spicily fragrant, dark-centered flowers in rose, pink, or white, with more or less fringed petals. Highly prized are old laced pinks, with white flowers in which each petal is outlined in red or pink. Cottage pinks bloom from summer to fall if deadheaded. Indispensable edging for borders or for peony or rose beds. Perfect addition to small arrangements and old-fashioned bouquets. Choice selections include ‘Essex Witch’, with semidouble, rose-pink flowers on 5-in. stems; ‘Sweetness’, with a mix of darker-centered shades on 4-in. stems; and ‘Musgrave’s Pink’, a foot-high classic that’s at least 200 years old and bears intensely fragrant, single white blooms with a green eye.

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