How To Care For Dianthus {A Short Guide}

Dianthus are a large genus, related to carnations, and they all share the same easygoing nature and pretty little flowers. You may be wondering how to care for dianthus, and you are not alone! We have laid it all out for you so you have the best way to help this lovely plant thrive.

How Many Years Does Dianthus Last?

How Many Years Does Dianthus Last

This plant, happily for the lazy gardeners among us, will come back year after year and show off its pretty flowers for a long time to come.

Having an annual in the garden is great, because you have to make very little effort to be rewarded with beautiful flowers every year!

Deadheading and pruning the plant will go a long way towards keeping it looking its best, so you should give it a good haircut every year.

This being said, the plant does have a tendency to go woody and leggy as it ages, and as such it might need to be replaced altogether.

Generally, after about 6 years you will want to replace the plant with some fresh cuttings or new roots – or dianthus that you have grown from seed!

Doing this means that you can enjoy the beauty of pinks for a long time to come, and you won’t have to worry about them losing their place in your garden.

How Much Sun Does Dianthus Need?

Dianthus is a sun worshipper, that’s for sure. They can handle much more sunlight than many other plants – in fact, they thrive on it.

A full sun position is best for these little plants, and in fact this will help them to be at their healthiest and happiest.

Not enough sunlight will cause them to wilt and wither, so make sure they have a good, sunny spot in your garden.

Another reason for a full sun position is that pinks are not happy sitting in water, so ensuring the soil is dry means that the roots won’t rot.

Here is a good, in depth article focusing on the all round care for dianthus.

How Often To Water Dianthus?

The most important thing with this plant is to not overwater it – they really hate to be soggy!

When you first plant it, or bring on a cutting, dianthus will need regular waterings to ensure it can establish itself well.

After it has rooted and is growing strongly, you should only need to water it once a week.

Obviously, all plants need to drink – but some like it more than others! The biggest problem with these plants is too much wet.

If your soil is heavy and clay-like, you will need to add some sand or grit to loosen it up a little.

Well draining soil is a must to keep those little roots from becoming waterlogged, so make sure you find the right type to keep dianthus happy.

How Often To Fertilize Dianthus?

  • These are relatively hungry plants, so they will need regular feeding to keep them in the best of health.
  • When you first plant them out, make sure you feed the soil well with some organic, all purpose fertilizer.
  • For plants in the garden, you should give them a good feed every month, especially during the peak of the growing season.
  • If you are growing them in containers, a light feed once a fortnight should suit them just fine.
  • You should find a fertilizer that has an NPK ratio of 20-10-20, for the best results for this little plant.
  • Tomato feed will also suit them well, and can help them get the nutrients they need.
  • In the flowering season, go for a phosphate rich fertilizer, to make the most of those beautiful blooms.
  • If you want to make your own feed, try soaking some comfrey leaves in a small amount of water for a couple of weeks. Feed the plants with this, then flush with clean water.

Here’s a good video showing you a great way to fertilize your dianthus with home made fertilizer:

How To Trim Dianthus?

All plants benefit from a little haircut now and then, and dianthus is no exception! Trimming your plants regularly can encourage new growth.

  1. Start by deadheading the spent flowers as they die back – you can either pull them off or use secateurs.
  2. Cut the flowering stem back to the nearest set of leaves, to allow it to rebloom again.
  3. After the first flush of flowering is over, trim back the plant hard – up to half of its height.
  4. This may seem a little much, but it will encourage the plant to come back with more bushy growth and foliage.
  5. Cutting back your dianthus hard in the growing season will encourage it to come back in force the following year – or even the same year!

Pruning your dianthus back is good for the health of the plant – it will not only encourage new growth, but it can completely rejuvenate some of the species.

When Does Dianthus Bloom?

When Does Dianthus Bloom

Although the foliage of dianthus is an attractive blue-green color, it is the flowers we’re really after, right?

These will appear in the late spring and summer, in little clusters with the characteristic ragged edges.

These ruffles are what earn dianthus its common name “pink” – not for their color, but their pinked edges!

Some types of dianthus will bloom intermittently, while others bloom continuously throughout the flowering season.

Keeping it in its favorite conditions – full sun, well draining soil and regular fertilizing – is the best way to make the most of the flowers.

Deadheading will also help the plant to put its energy into producing new blooms, so keep on top of those spent flowers!

Dianthus is a brilliant plant to have in the garden – it is easy to care for, and very rewarding.

Now that you have a better idea of how to care for dianthus, you are in a better position to turn your garden into the envy of all your neighbors.

Dianthus Key Facts

Scientific NameDianthus
Light RequirementsFull sun
Soil RequirementsWell draining, loose, not retaining water
Temperature RequirementsPrefers warm conditions bu can tolerate a light frost
Water RequirementsWater regularly until established, then water weekly during hot weather. Do not allow roots to sit in water
Fertilizer RequirementsApply all-purpose fertiliser on planting, followed my monthly feeding
Bloom TimeLate spring to summer
PestsSpider mites, aphids, slugs, snails
Size6-18 inches

2 thoughts on “How To Care For Dianthus {A Short Guide}”

  1. Good question! The name “pinks” doesn’t actually come from the color of these pretty plants, but from the serrations around the edges – think of what “pinking shears” do, and you’ll understand why Dianthus are also called Pinks!


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