'Pinks' require a little more attention than other plants in the area

Published on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 23:19 - Written by By Dee Bishop In Our Garden

A very old-fashioned flower, pinks, better known as Dianthus today, have been around for several hundred years. Pinks today mean perennial Dianthus. So if you hear that term, you will know which Dianthus is being discussed.

Pinks need to be planted in fall here. They prefer cooler temperatures and bloom beautifully in fall and spring and into summer. They basically go dormant in winter and summer here. They do not mind heat so much as humidity in summer. That said, give them perfect drainage, sunshine to part shade (very little). They really do not like being mulched with wood or leaves since they tend to get fungus diseases in summer. A mulch of stone would better suit them or keep the mulch away from the stems of the plants. They do not do well where sprinklers are used in summer.

The foliage needs to remain dry. Incorporate gravel into their beds to provide the gritty soil and drainage they need. One way to do this without breaking the bank — and your back — is to place a handful of gravel in each planting hole. Another way to insure perfect drainage is to place a brick in the planting hole and place the plant over it, then cover both with soil. The roots will reach down over the sides of the brick and into the soil, but the crown of the plant will dry out quickly.

As you can see, they require a little more attention than most other plants we grow.

To be sure, the companion plants around them need the same requirements, too. Pots are an excellent way to grow these sweet little flowers, and the little Cheddar types will cascade down over the pot and provide beautiful blue-green foliage which is pretty even when they are not in bloom.

A “haircut” after most of the blooms are finished will often result in another wave of bloom in a couple or three weeks. Fertilize with a liquid fertilizer or some fish emulsion after you cut them back to insure quick regrowth and rebloom.