Dianthus varieties add color to landscape in cool weather

Telstar dianthus is a perfect cool-weather landscape plant when planted in containers or raised beds.

I don’t think you can go wrong with some dianthus in your landscape in 2020.

I love the flower colors that include pink, red, lavenders, white, and bicolors. The foliage of these plants ranges from being grass-like to broader strap-like linear leaves. Plus, the foliage provides contrast with colors ranging from bright green to steely blue-gray.

There are some great selections that will do a fantastic job in our Mississippi gardens and landscapes especially in the cooler months of the year.

The first one I want to highlight is the Bouquet Purple selection, which was selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner way back in 2001. Don’t let the fact that this was selected 19 years ago mislead you. Bouquet Purple is a fantastic selection with 24-inch-tall plants and big, brightly pink flowers that are softly scented just like that perfect bouquet.

Another cool-weather, go-to plant for me is Telstar dianthus. Telstar is the perfect choice with a wide range of colors for mass planting in the landscape. These plants are uniform growing, have a sturdy habit and grow to only about 10 inches tall and wide.

Always plant in the full sun in well-drained soil. Telstar dianthus is susceptible to root disease problems if the soil is consistently wet, which is always a concern in our cool and wet fall and winter seasons. I grow my Telstar dianthus in containers or raised beds, which eliminates the worry about having the soil overly saturated.

Dianthus varieties add color to landscape in cool weather

Photo by MSU Extension Service/Gary Bachman

Jolt Pink dianthus performs well when planted in cooler weather and will continue blooming into summer. 

Breeders have been busy producing new coleuses, impatiens and begonias that tolerate the full sun. Now, dianthuses can be included in that club.

Amazon dianthus, which tolerates summer temperatures and looks great in the landscape, will grow to over 2 feet tall in a garden. They are perfect for the backyard cutting garden, and the blooms have a long vase life. The colors Neon Purple and Neon Cherry shine like bright beacons in the landscape.

Rose Magic flowers start out white and transition to pink and rose with all three colors appearing in each flower head. The round flower heads are composed of many small single flowers. I really enjoy taking a close look at these flowers. The individual petals have a serrated edge and a subtle fragrance. The bright and vibrant colors are produced continuously from spring to fall. It may be one of the most perfect cut-and-flower-again plants you can grow in the garden and landscape. It’s a butterfly magnet throughout the flowering season.

Also, if home gardeners are interested in a more compact variety compared to Amazon dianthus, the Jolt series is the perfect choice. Jolt will continue blooming into the summer season. Along with the striking bloom colors of cherry and pink, Jolt dianthus has excellent dark-green foliage that provides additional pop to the bloom color.

• Dr. Gary Bachman is an Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also the host of the popular Southern Gardening television and radio programs. Contact him at southerngardening@msstate.edu

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