I love dianthus inchmery but have never been able to get it to thrive. It usually survives in our borderline 4/5 climate. I have stopped winter mulching on advice of someone here, and I think that was good. In particular, in the spring there is a month or more of looking at last year's dead leaves before a few green sprouts begin on the end of those ugly branches. Eventually, mid June or later, the dead leaves finally disappear and are replaced by the green (gray). Is there anything I can do to prevent that long ugly period? Is cutting back ever advised? And, in general, can I get the plants to grow bigger, create more blooms and re-bloom after deadheading? They're growing in a perennial garden that gets compost every fall. When planted the holes were amended with rock phosphate and greensand. Other perennials in the garden do fine.
P.S. The title of this thread is supposed to be "Managing Dianthus Inchmery," of course. :-)
Hi, I'm bumping this up also, in hopes of getting different eyes on it, perhaps some dianthus gurus. I just did notice, though, that a seed packet I have for dianthus fenbow says soil "preferably with lime." I do put wood ashes on my delphinium and campanula. I'll add dianthus to the list.
Just my 2 cents worth. Could your dianthus be too wet through the winter? Not sure that they'd like their crowns covered by mulch. I'm thinking they might like more of a rock garden setting with good drainage. I have only 'Mountain Mist' due to little sun. I learned not to prune it much in the spring or lose some flowers. Maybe cutting it back right after it's done blooming? I don't fertilize mine much but loosening up my clay-based soil seems to help. You might want to check in with some of the rock gardeners.
bump again - A year later and they're still surviving but still not thriving. Last fall I dosed each plant with a handful of wood ashes, for the alkalinity. Here's a picture of one plant. It bloomed, but no re-blooming in spite of dead heading.
I don't have any experience with wood ash but had heard that one doesn't need much to adjust pH levels. Maybe it's creating a potassium level that's too high? You might want to do a little research on the web before adding any more ash.