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Amazon dianthus destined to be a hit
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Several new plants should make this fall a great one, and the newcomer that has everyone talking is the Amazon series of dianthus.
In our trials at the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, growers from several states were mesmerized by the size and beauty of these plants. It was the same at the Park Seed Trials in Greenwood, S.C., where the Amazon dianthus was the most photographed plant in the garden.
The Amazon dianthus originates from Pan American Seed and is considered a Dianthus barbatus interspecific hybrid, which means it is a lot tougher than the plant we know as pinks (the Dianthus chinensis).
Another barbatus hybrid is the Bouquet Purple, a Mississippi Medallion award winner with an amazing blooming ability.
The Amazon series made its debut last year as a single plant called Neon Duo that produces clusters of flowers in cherry to purple. Though it came out last year, local garden centers didn't carry a noticeable quantity.
It received an excellent rating in University of Georgia trials and Top Performer recognition at the North Dakota State University Bedding Trials.
This year there are three new varieties: Cherry, Purple and Rose Magic. The Cherry and Purple are self-explanatory, but Rose Magic is close to indescribable, with various shades of rose, pink, cherry and white all on one flower cluster.
The Amazon dianthus easily reaches 24 inches tall on long stems perfect for cutting. In fact, I predict our young cut flower industry will gladly add this one to their product line. Reports from across the country are showing a remarkable vase life of 12 to 14 days.
The plant's growth habit and leaf size remind me of carnations, except the dianthus is thicker and much hardier.
The Amazon has excellent cold resistance and is fairly heat tolerant. Whether grown as a short-lived perennial or an annual, this dianthus will be mandatory for the garden.
As with other dianthus varieties, your happiness with this plant revolves around bed preparation. Select a sight in full sun and add 3 to 4 inches of organic matter, working in 6 to 8 inches deep. This will allow for good drainage during the heavy rains that seem to occur more often than in previous years. Space plants 10 to 14 inches apart and plant at the same depth they are growing in the container.
Deadheading is necessary to keep growth vigorous and blooms repeating, and to maintain a tidy appearance. Feed with a light application of a slow-release fertilizer about every four to six weeks.
Your landscape options are almost endless. In the fall landscape, combine with Redbor or Winterbor kale, or white or pink pansies. In the spring landscape, use with petunias or white dianthus from the Ideal series.
Use the Amazon Purple with Early Sunrise coreopsis for a really bold and flashy display.
Although it isn't yet time to shop for or plant the Amazon dianthus, you do need to put this one on your list of plants to look for in a couple of months.