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How To Grow Dianthus

Dianthus, including pinks and carnations, are certainly not all pink in colour – they can shade from pure white to the deepest of reds. They are also highly scented and are often chosen to be grown in a rock garden, or as an integral part of the planting in a cottage garden. Just follow our easy guide to planting out and growing on.

Dianthus are not difficult to grow. Originally, they were brought to Britain in the 11th century by Norman monks – with the number of varieties expanding ever since then. There are now over three hundred varieties. Dianthus can be relied upon to provide a flash of summer colour.

When and Where
For autumn bedding – ensuring a display in the spring – plant out your plug plants from mid to late September, depending on the size of the plants acquired. Grow on plants under cover until they reach 8 to 10 cm in height at which point they’re ready to plant out. Choose a free draining location with full sun. The soil should be limey and fertile.

How To Plant
Dig an individual hole for each plant, the hole should be deep enough to cover the roots but not any of the exposed stem. Gently firm into the ground, and water in. Keep watering throughout the season and feed weekly for best results. For container planting, fill a container up to three-quarters full with multi purpose compost. Carefully remove the plant from its tray or pot and place in position. Fill the container back in with soil and gently firm down. Water in generously. Keep plants at least 10 cm apart when planting out in a bed.

To keep the flowers in good condition, stake out taller varieties of Dianthus in order to avoid damage to the plants and their flowers. Pinch off flowers once they are full-blown and have begun to wilt as this encourages the growth of new flowers. To produce more flowers, divide your plants when the growing season ends – lift out the plants, divide out new clumps and replant. Only do this every three years.

Plant care
If the leaves begin to yellow this may be due to over-watering, so ease off your watering regime and check for improvement. Keep young plants watered well during dry periods. Use a mulch of gritty compost around the plants to give them a boost when the flowers begin to come through, and mix in a small amount of general fertiliser. Straggly plants should be pinched back after flowering.

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