These low growing herbaceous plants are used in the landscape primarily for their beautiful and slightly fragrant flowers. The bushy plants have leaves that are thick, stiff, and linear or lanceolate. Dianthus bear carnation-like flowers that have toothed petals. These colorful flowers occur in singles, semi-doubles and doubles. They are bicolored with the darker central portion on each flower surrounded by a lighter colored fringe. They are best in Florida landscapes in the fall, winter, and spring months. Further north, they are used during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. There are lavender, pink, purple, red, salmon, and white colored species of Dianthus. The abundant flowers can be borne singly or in inflorescences, but all occur terminally.
Scientific name: Dianthus x 'Parfait Series'
Common name(s): parfait dianthus, parfait pinks
Plant type: herbaceous; annual
USDA hardiness zones: all zones (Fig. 1)
Planting month for zone 7: Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug
Planting month for zone 8: Nov; Dec; Jan; Feb; Mar
Planting month for zone 9: Feb; Nov; Dec
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Nov; Dec
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: attracts butterflies; border; edging
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range
Height: .5 to 1 feet
Spread: 1 to 2 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: dense
Growth rate: slow
Leaf arrangement: opposite/subopposite
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: oblong
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: not applicable
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: not applicable
Fall characteristic: not applicable
Flower color: red; lavender; pink; purple; salmon; white
Flower characteristic: showy
Fruit shape: no fruit
Fruit length: no fruit
Fruit cover: no fruit
Fruit color: not applicable
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy
Trunk and Branches
Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: medium
Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: acidic; slightly alkaline; sand; loam; clay
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 6 to 12 inches
Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: not applicable
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: very sensitive to one or more pests or diseases which can affect plant health or aesthetics
Use and Management
Dianthus species may be used in the landscape as a border or edge. They are lovely when placed in containers and can be used in flower arrangements. They make great bedding plants massed together.
Dianthus species require a full sun to partial shade location in the landscape. They prefer improved, well-drained soils of medium fertility and are adapted to temperate climates. They stop flowering and are usually removed in Florida when the hot weather begins by April or May. They remain all summer long in cooler climates, or if moved to a partial to mostly shaded location in Florida. Apply a slow release fertilizer once or twice, or regularly apply a soluble material during the growing season to ensure healthy plants and a nice flower display.
Other cultivar series include 'Carpet', 'Charms', 'Princess', 'Rosemarre', and 'Telstar'. Many cultivars have been developed in each of these series.
Propagate these species by seed. Some may be propagated by cuttings.
Pests and Diseases
These plants are subject to attack from various insects and fungal diseases. Bacterial wilt, bacterial spot, alternaria, botrytis, fusarium, pythium, rhizoctonia, aphids, mites, and cutworms are problems for Dianthus species.