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The quintessential cottage flower, pinks are treasured for their grasslike blue-green foliage and abundant starry flowers, which are often spicily fragrant. Depending on the type of pink, flowers appear in spring or summer and tend to be pink, red, white, rose, or lavender, but come in nearly all shades except true blue. Plants range from tiny creeping groundcovers to 30-inch-tall cut flowers, which are a favorite with florists. Foliage is blue-green.

Shown above: 'Firewitch' dianthus

Sun,Part Sun
Plant Type:
Plant Height:
4-30 inches tall
Plant Width:
4-18 inches wide
Landscape Uses:
Containers,Beds & Borders,Slopes,Groundcover
Special Features:
Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Fragrant,Cut Flowers,Dried Flowers,Attracts Hummingbirds,Attracts Butterflies,Drought Tolerant,Deer Resistant,Easy to Grow
Top Varieties

Dianthus deltoides 'Arctic Fire' is a mat-forming plant with dark green foliage. Flowers partially close in the evening. It has white flowers with a pink eye ringed in red.
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Dianthus chinensis is most often grown as a cool-season annual flower, although it can be a short-lived perennial in Zones 5 and warmer. Its common name comes not from the pink color of its flowers, but rather from the jagged edge of the flower petals, which look as though they have been cut with a pinking shear.
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Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch' has fringed, fragrant magenta blooms and grows just 6 inches tall. The major flush of bloom is in midspring to early summer, but the plant blooms sporadically in late summer and fall. It is hardy in Zones 3-8.
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Dianthus 'Grans' Favorite' is an old-fashioned scented pink with double miniature carnationlike pink blooms with raspberry-red edging.
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Dianthus caryophyllus is the same species grown as a cut flower by florists. Hardy in Zones 8-10, it produces sprays of spicily scented blooms on stems 18-30 inches long. It may need staking in the garden.
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Dianthus 'Ideal Violet' is bred for winter cold resistance and summer heat tolerance. It is an excellent cool-season annual or short-lived perennial with fragrant red-violet blooms on 10- to 12-inch-tall plants.
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Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'La Bourboule Pink' forms a compact mound of foliage no more than an inch or two tall. Magenta pink flowers rise several inches above the blue-green foliage in mid- to late spring.
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Dianthus 'Musgrave's Pink', also known as Charles Musgrave dianthus, has fragrant, frilly white blooms with a green eye. It has gray-green grasslike foliage.
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Dianthus deltoides 'Red Maiden' is hot pink and forms a mat of deep green foliage on which 12-inch-tall flowers appear in late spring. It is hardy in Zones 3-8.
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Dianthus plumarius 'Rose de Mai', also sometimes called gillyflower, is an old-fashioned flower with highly fragrant pale pink blooms in midspring to early summer. It is hardy in Zones 4-10.
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Dianthus barbatus nigrescens 'Sooty' has unique maroon-tinged foliage and dark red flowers with wonderful sweet William fragrance.
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Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Spotty' gets its name from its charming spotted flowers, which are dark pink spotted with lighter pink.
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Dianthus barbatus is a biennial or short-lived perennial. Allow it to self-seed in the garden to ensure its return the following year. It is a great addition to the cottage garden with its 2-foot-tall clusters of fragrant red, pink, white, or bicolor blooms.
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Plant It With
Perennial geranium

The grassy foliage of pinks combines well with coarser geranium leaves. Magenta to blue blooms of geranium coordinate beautifully with the pink, white, and rose shades of pinks.


Coral bells make a wonderful backup plant for groundcover pinks or a great foreground plant for taller types.


Irises and dianthus are a classic cottage garden combination. Their heady fragrances can perfume an entire yard.