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Dianthus: 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, dianthus 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. Dianthus 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
Part Sun, Sun
Under 6 inches to 3 feet
4-18 inches wide
garden plans for Dianthus
more varieties for Dianthus
'Arctic Fire' maiden pinks
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.
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.
'Firewitch' cheddar pinks
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.
'Grans' Favorite' border pinks
Dianthus 'Grans' Favorite' is an old-fashioned scented pink with double miniature carnationlike pink blooms with raspberry-red edging.
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.
'Ideal Violet' hybrid dianthus
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.
'La Bourboule Pink' cheddar pinks
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.
'Musgrave's Pink' dianthus
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.
'Red Maiden' maiden pinks
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.
'Rose de Mai' border pinks
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.
'Sooty' sweet William
Dianthus barbatus nigrescens 'Sooty' has unique maroon-tinged foliage and dark red flowers with wonderful sweet William fragrance.
'Spotty' cheddar pinks
Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Spotty' gets its name from its charming spotted flowers, which are dark pink spotted with lighter pink.
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.
plant Dianthus with
One of the longest bloomers in the garden, hardy geranium bears little flowers for months at a time. It produces jewel-tone, saucer-shape flowers and mounds of handsome, lobed foliage. It needs full sun, but otherwise it is a tough and reliable plant, thriving in a wide assortment of soils. Many of the best are hybrids. Perennial geraniums may form large colonies.
Exciting new selections with incredible foliage patterns have put coralbells on the map. Previously enjoyed mainly for their spires of dainty reddish flowers, coralbells are now grown as much for the unusual mottling and veining of different-color leaves. The low clumps of long-stemmed evergreen or semi-evergreen lobed foliage make coralbells fine groundcover plants. They enjoy humus-rich, moisture-retaining soil. Beware of heaving in areas with very cold winters.
Named for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, iris indeed comes in a rainbow of colors and in many heights. All have the classic, impossibly intricate flowers. The flowers are constructed with three upright "standard" petals and three drooping "fall" petals, which are often different colors. The falls may be "bearded" or not. Some cultivars bloom a second time in late summer. Some species prefer alkaline soil while others prefer acidic soil.Shown above: Immortality iris