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Growing Dianthus

Botanical Name: Dianthus
Life Cycle: annuals, biennials, perennials
Planting Time: spring or summer
Height: 6" to 24"
Exposure: full sun (afternoon shade in warmest climates)
Soil: dry to evenly moist, well-drained soil with a neutral to alkaline pH
Hardiness:depends on variety
Bloom Time: spring to early summer
Flower: pink, rose, red, maroon, white and bi-colors
Foliage: green
Propagation: seeds, self-sowing
Suggested Use: beds, borders, and edging; pathways, rock gardens, containers and flower boxes
Growing Hints: Buy plants or sow seeds outdoors in mid-spring, barely covering them with soil (1/4"). Space plants about 6 inches apart when seedlings reach 1 to 2 inches in height. To encourage continuous blooming, deadhead spent flowers and cut back entire plants that have stopped flowering by 2/3 to re-invigorate. If you want to encourage self-sowing, let spent flowers and fading foliage remain in garden for several weeks. Dianthuses are drought tolerant and are easily "killed with kindness" by over-watering and over-mulching.
Interesting Facts: Dianthuses are also known as "pinks" because the ragged appearance of their petals gives the impression they have been trimmed with pinking shears. Members of the carnation family, several varieties are quite fragrant, like the mat-forming cheddar pinks (D. gratianopolitanus).

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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