January 10, 2015
A garden challenge is maintaining a variety of color in the cool season landscape. Dianthus will keep your garden interesting and is an easy choice for that extra splash of color. Dianthus are some of my favorite flowering annuals with their variety of pinks, whites, and purples. For the very best flowering, dianthus should be planted at the same time as you would pansies. The small round flower can be single or arranged in loose clusters. I really enjoy taking a really close look at these flowers. The individual petals have a fringed or serrated edge and a dainty floral and delicate fragrance. A good frost resistant selection is the Ideal Select dianthus group. Bright green leaves contrast well with clusters of brightly colored, lacy-edged flowers. The Ideal Select mix offers flowers in many colors and patterns. I particularly like the Ideal Select Red with its bright and bold flowers. Super Parfait dianthus are indeed super and cold weather tolerant. This group is known for their compact size and large 2 to 2 ½” diameter blossoms. Super Parfait Raspberry has gorgeous pinkish-white flowers with crimson streaked petals and a dark eye. The large Super Parfait Red Peppermint are bright white with a bright red center eye. And since we’re looking at dianthus, I have to recommend an old stand by, Telstar Purple Picotee. Telstar will be 8 – 10 inches tall and wide, and will tolerate cooler temperatures. Be creative and try some cool season combination plantings. Dianthus is a great combination plant with either Giant Red mustard. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.