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Problems with hardiness and newer Dianthus

Beaver Falls, PA(Zone 6a)

I'm very disappointed in the hardiness of some of my newer Dianthus. I had one that I received in a trade a couple of years ago and it died out in a year. I purchased a really pretty orange sherbet Dianthus called SuperTrouper Orange. I grew it in a pot last summer and wintered it in an unheated garage attached to our house. SuperTrouper Orange never made it through the winter. I just rechecked my Scent First Sugar Plum Dianthus and there is absolutely NO green on and around it anywhere. A lot of it died out the winter before last but I did get some late bloom on it last summer, after it greened up and grew a bit. I'm almost positive it's dead too. I purchased Desmond last year from Bluestone Perennials due to its advertised long bloom season. I had two flowers on it the whole summer. One was eaten by a rabbit before I fenced it. I had lots of green growth but no flowers. It also looks very bad right now but I'll give it some time to see if it will green up before contacting Bluestone for a replacement.

Has anyone else had problems with some of the newer Dianthus and hardiness? I'm going to post this message to the perennial board as well.
Linda

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

I don't chase down new cultivars, so I don't have experience with the ones you mention, but I grow and have grown many species of Dianthus. From my experience here and from what what I've read in forums such as this, the problem is not likely hardiness (I've yet to find a species that hasn't been hardy here in zone 3) but is more likely due to drainage problems, especially winter wet. This may include excessive humidity, I'd wager.
Have you been able to grow various species Dianthus?

This message was edited Apr 19, 2015 8:06 PM

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

After many failures with dianthus, I finally figured out exactly what Alta mentioned, drainage is paramount. I have several doing nicely now, either on my one sunny gravelly slope or in pots with grit. I must say, however, that I have Bath's Pink growing in the muckiest clay soil in my yard - but if you examine it closely, it's not rooted into the muck - it's roots are entirely within the leaf tatter on the soil surface. It's been doing fine there for years and to my knowledge has never actually rooted into the soil. The first picture is my Bath's Pink, happy as a clam in muck - for some reason the picture makes it look lavender, but it's not. 2nd is Itsaul White on a sunny limestone outcropping.

Edited for spelling...

This message was edited Apr 20, 2015 5:51 AM

Thumbnail by Weerobin Thumbnail by Weerobin
Beaver Falls, PA(Zone 6a)

We do have clay soil, but the plants are planted in large holes with lots of amended soil. I can't kill Bath's Pink - need to shovel prune the clump a bit because it's taking over an area. I also have Fire Witch which had to be dug up and replanted due to grass getting inside the clump. It's not been real happy since being replanted but is still there.

I had a really dwarf variety, can't remember the name now, and it grew too well. I gave it to my next door neighbor when it got too invasive over here. Her soil is rather lean and nothing invasive causes problems for her.

It seems that the newer varieties, other than Fire Witch don't come back after a couple of years. Maybe I should plan on using them as annuals now.

I've been gardening seriously for about 15 years and have noticed that many of the newer, fancy daylilies don't grow as well as the older, more hardy ones. I have a couple of pretty ones that are still double fans after 4 or 5 years! Many of the older varieties produce huge clumps in that time.

I was just wondering if hybridizers of Dianthus are breeding out the hardiness when breeding for flower production, shape of flower, and fragrance.

Linda

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

I too am good at killing Dianthus. I have one variety 'Raspberry Swirl' that won't die. Every other variety I plant dies before the first season is over. I like my survivor plant but dianthus don't usually fit into my gardening style and are usually the product of an impulse buy.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I'm in zone 6 also. All of my dianthus do really well even the ones I buy in six packs at the box stores. My soil is clay. My yard is on a slope maybe that makes a difference. I don't do much to keep them going. I pretty much take them for granted. I haven't bought any "fancy" ones, however. Maybe that's the differnce.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

The annual dianthus does great for me and that even winters over for a return the next year. Previously I was speaking of the perennial varieties with the bluish green leaves.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Yes, various perennial dianthus do tend to be sold under the name "annual" dianthus. I think it's just a convenient label for the little plants that growers intend to sell as bedding plants.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Interesting. All this time I just thought I had super annuals...LOL

Beaver Falls, PA(Zone 6a)

I have had the "bedding" variety of Dianthus sold as annuals over winter in a large pot near the back door. Not last winter however. The three plants purchased last spring were dead as door nails this spring. We had such an awful winter that I'm not surprised the they bit the dust!

Maybe 5 years ago, Walmart had 3 inch single pots of the "bedding" dianthus for 99 cents. There was one different one among the others that I later saw was Strawberry Swirl. It has returned every year. But this spring, it was slow to green up and most of the bottom of the plant was dead. I was able to pull off one branch that had some green on it, along with a few roots. I'm babying it in a pot right now and hope to keep it going. I've really enjoyed having SS for the years it has been here. These are great plants for the front of the border.

Linda




Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Mine are pretty hardy. They usually last for at least one winter, some last through more. I had a bunch overwinter from last season. They are going to start blooming soon.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

If they were actual annuals, they'd bloom and set seed in one season, and would only return from seed (not from wintering over).

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Yeah I get that. Goes to show you can't trust labels. Although often it works against you, not like in this case.

North Chelmsford, MA(Zone 6b)

I have grown dianthus for 60 years with varying success. In my childhood they grew on a 45-degree slope and did well, but that was in the city. They to like grit and lime and good drainage. . I have neither in this garden and I've killed a few.
I have a feeling that any plant retaining its foliage in winter and having long unrooted stems makes a bad candidate for wintering over. My double white dianthus (nameless) has been passed down from a neighbor in 1960 to me and then to my daughter. It staggers along year to year. When it dies off but somebody always has another piece.
Now, annual dianthus--I love them. They seem to be biennial and bloom both years. They don't have the lovely scent of the perennials, though .

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

A minor point... If they were actually biennial, they'd produce a non-blooming rosette one year, then bloom the next, and then die... so the behavior you describe is actually that of a short-lived perennial. :-)

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

They may not have a lovely scent but they sure are a knockout right now in the garden. I usually let mine go to seed in hopes that I'll get some volunteers.

Hobart, IN

I've had 'Mountain Mist' since '99 and it surprises me by coming back every year.

North Chelmsford, MA(Zone 6b)

You're right, Altagardenerr. I think of them as biennials only because they never last r me longer than two years/. To confuse me more, last year's 'annual' dianthus looks more like Sweet William, another member of the family, and is blooming for the second year.
Another note: The perennial pinks (glaucous foliage) were buried in snow this winter so were not exposed to the usual desiccating winds. They're loaded with buds!

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

My Dianthus barbatus, Sweet William comes back every year. I am very pleased that it does. The colors are really vibrant. I need to dead-head all of my dianthus for another round of blooms.

Hobart, IN

birder - does your SW rebloom? I started some from an obscure seed packet a couple of years ago, thinking they were biennial at best. This is the third year for them and they're currently blooming here. Would be great if they'd rebloom.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Yes, they re-bloom after dead-heading until a hard frost. I really like them.

Hobart, IN

Thanks, birder. I will make a note to deadhead asap to see if I can get rebloom.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

Quote from Igrowinpa :

Has anyone else had problems with some of the newer Dianthus and hardiness? I'm going to post this message to the perennial board as well.
Linda


Yes, absolutely. I bought several of them last year and they are a big disappointment.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Just bought a six pack of dianthus. We'll see how they do.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I looked at them all in 6 packs but I did not take the plunge.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I'll try to remember to report back at the end of the season.
A lovely Dianthus that is a perennial I grew from seed is Dianthus amurencis 'Siberian Blue'. I have found it in catalogs but not in the garden centers. It reseeds nicely, heat tolerant and blooms all summer especially if you deadhead it. It gets about 15 inches tall. The color in the pictures shows it as "blue". It's a red-violet, but I like it. I think I'll start more from seed. Some of mine was wiped out when my better half put a big pile of dirt on top of it. :(
Anyway, some of you might want to try that one.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

Well, the question was about the newer Dianthus. Siberian Blue did great for me. I grew it from seed and it lasted years until I pulled it out. Also, the packs you get in the garden center often come back but the fancy flowered varieties with the grassy blue leaves like Raspberry Swirl and Fruit Punch are dead. Coral Reef is mostly dead with three sorry looking green stems. Passion seems to have come through. I'm going back to the packs.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have come to the conclusion I plant "easy" stuff. No more coddling. My Dianthus are in full bloom with a nice rounded form right now. They are quite pretty and enjoyable.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

Agreed.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Do you think the blue vs pink thing has to do with alkaline vs acid soil?

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

You mean like a hydrangea? No. Siberian Blue is really not a blue flower, btw if that is why you ask.

Beaver Falls, PA(Zone 6a)

I too grow Siberian Blue Dianthus, started it from seed too. And no, it is not blue. I call mine mauve. If you do come research on line, you will see the flowers in most pictures are not really blue, unless someone retouched the photos.

PH has no affect on the color of the flowers as it does with Hydrangeas.
Linda

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I was asking because one person in Utah, I think, said "yes, the flowers ARE blue" but everyone else who commented said no, not blue. I remember from other times that one big difference between the eastern side and the west is that in the east we have acidic soil, over all, which they do not have in the west. Once I saw a map of the US showing not rain fall or temp but SOIL PH and it was quite striking how it changes east to west.

Unfortunately I have never seen that map again! It was online; I though it was one of those government alphabet sites like National Oceanic Atmospheric or National Geographic Cartography Surveys, anyway I've looked and I can't find it. If I ever find it, I will probably print it out and bronze it.

So maybe I was wishing I could make Siberian Blue dianthus turn blue by fiddling with pH, I guess.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

Yeah, it's mauve, not my favorite color in the garden. That's was on reason I removed it. The other was I grew it against the grass so there was no texture contrast. But that was one flower a lot of people really liked.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

So not a mauve person! Thanks, Loretta.

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

I loved mauve in 1980 something and overdosed!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yup! Or there are other fashionable colors that I am totally over. Teal, for instance. or that limey shade of green.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I think that Dianthus is simply not a long lived perennial. I recently bought a large cloning machine and I was wondering if anyone had tried cloning it? I love it so much in my rock garden, it's worth trying to clone....

Putnam Valley, NY(Zone 5b)

I put in 3 Raspberry Surprise everblooming dianthus 3 years ago. The bloom is no longer than others, and I have 1 left.
I have 3 dianthus that were a gift years ago, no tag so I don't know the variety. Still alive and have a nice bloom. I've transplanted then twice when we had stone walls put in, and they survived nicely.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

We bought some dianthus last summer at Home Depot but I don't know what type. They came back this year but I'm not sure how many we planted. I am useless to you, Igrowinpa.

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