Hardiness: USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F) USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F) USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F) USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F) USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F) USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Danger: Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction
Bloom Color: Pink Red White/Near White
Bloom Time: Mid Summer
Other details: Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds Flowers are fragrant
Soil pH requirements: 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline) 7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)
Patent Information: Non-patented
Propagation Methods: From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall From seed; sow indoors before last frost From seed; direct sow after last frost
Seed Collecting: Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored
On Jun 10, 2013, Sonnenblume from Aurora, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:
I have mixed feelings about this plant. Within a few years it has managed to spread more than any other plant in my Colorado garden. When it blooms it is beautiful indeed. This is such a tough plant in this super dry climate. It even blooms just in water without soil. Many other plants struggle to just make it and this one loves it just about everywhere here, front, back of the house, sun, shade. This and old-fashioned lilac.They make it without much care. Grows between rocks, on top of a weed cover and I am weeding a lot of little seedlings as I prefer fair game for all my plants... Sometimes I think it is great if it fills a spot where nothing else wants to grow. I originally spread a wildflower mix in a couple of difficult spots but Sweet William seems to overtake almost all other seeds in the mix. And when it is done blooming it just takes up a lot of space with a lot of foliage and keeps spreading. Sure, after 2 years some of it dies down in that spot but they already moved their territory. I cannot explain why this is such a spreader here, none of my neighbors seem to have it. The pinks come in various shades. At the top of their bloom they are a delight to see from far. I am not doing anything special for them to like me so much:) Go figure! I clearly need to deadhead it diligently before it goes to seed. When they die down make sure you plant an established perennial plant in its place to match this plants roots and vigor. Little seedlings have little chance in its proximity.
On Jan 22, 2009, ronmiche from Chesapeake, VA wrote:
The sweet william that I am currently growing came from a packet of mixed flower seeds from Lowes about three years ago. I forgot about them and one early summer I saw that they were still in my garden and I transplanted them to a semi=-shaded spot and they have reseeded every year. I did notice a salmon colored one and tried to get seeds from it but was not successful. The flower stalks are about 15 inches high. Nice color added to the garden! My area in Chesapeake VA is very hot and humid in the summer, with fairly mild winters in zone 8.
On Apr 28, 2008, mbhoakct76 from Winsted, CT wrote:
all dianthus are great, they are so easy to care for and provide beautifull flowers all summer, they overwinter easily in zone 5 and i agree the leaves do not even die back- they just come to life in spring. I started with sweet william years ago and had great luck so i stuck with them even when i moved, and i honestly didnt know untill last year that they were a bi-ennial plant, they overseed so easily that that i didnt notice. most of mine are kept in a bed with weedblock to keep them in nice neat rounds, otherwise they can tend to grow out of control in only a couple of years. a must have in every garden especially for new gardeners.
On Apr 19, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:
I have two patches that does well in partial shade - they stays pretty much evergreen and are more of a perennial - they don't really selfsow but tend to stem root themselves. They are very easy to start from seeds (I hadn't does it in years - too limited sun).
On Jan 27, 2008, GrowinEngrGirl from Pocatello, ID (Zone 5a) wrote:
These plants thrive as a prennial here (central valley, CA). Mine have been in the ground for going on 3 years now and have just continued to spread out. They need to dead headed or they end up looking as if they have brown tips from the dried flowers (not pretty). It's mid January and I've got a couple blooms already. They'll be in bloom all Summer and well into Fall.
On May 25, 2007, brendabwood from Cement, OK wrote:
I love this plant and have had success for many years - until now - all the sudden my dianthus has turned brown and is dying all the way to the root. Plenty of sun, right soil, and right watering. I'm wondering about disease.
I can't imagine living without this old favorite, either - especially among large shrub and climbing roses.
Sweet William has been successfully wintersown in my zone - to see if it has been done in your zone. If it hasn't been done in your zone yet, experiment and see what happens - wintersowing is a "leap of faith" not just for seeds, but for antsy folks impatient for spring to come, as well. DG has a very warm circle of wintersowers in its Wintersowing Forum, so visit them, too. If you don't want to fool with damping-off fungus that often hassles indoor-sown seedlings, try wintersowing.
The relatively fat leaves and squat-ish plants of Sweet William are nicely complemented later in summer by airy, dissected leaves of cosmos growing behind, which will continue the blooms in that spot till frost.
PS - Darkness is said to increase germination of the seeds of this plant.
These hardy plants have always been a part of our landscape for longer than I remember. The original packet of seed came from Burpee Seed Company many years ago. The plants shown in my Journal are all descended from the seeds in that packet. I allow them to self-sew, and either thin them out or transplant to different beds. I also cut the mature seed pods with scissors and collect them in a jar to sprinkle in bare spots. The colors vary widely, from pastel whites, pinks and rose to burgundy and red with differing circular patterns and picoteed petals. An excellent bee and butterfly attractor, they have a very pleasant fragrance. I can't imagine a garden without them!
A beautiful flower that readily self-seeds to fill in a gap. It is one that people always ooh and ahh over. They do get heavy and like to flop after a rain. My information says they are hardy in zones 3-9, and need more shade in hotter climates. Stratification aids germination of seeds. Blooms late May to late June in my garden.
On Jun 13, 2005, PurplePansies from Deal, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:
I'm not a fan of biennials but this plant "volunteered" in my garden..... Its nice though! It gets the dianthus flowers all in a cluster at the top of a long stem. Mine are pink/purple/white.... It has a fragrance.... a mix of powder and clove.... somewhat less pungent than some dianthus but spicier than a powdery one like superbus. Still has notes of the distincitve spicy scent. Must be very easy to grow. I do nothing for it. It grows (in my garden) in full sun in sandy loam.... in a garden bed that is always fertilized. It's leaves are not blue-green like some dianthus. They are green and somewhat thick compared to some. (not slender or willowy ooor grassy....).... (like alwoodi for example) Each bloom is about the size of a larger man's broadcloth shirt type button. Born in clusters (as they are) they ad to each other's show. Not my favorite flower or my favorite dianthus but puts on (fragrance and flower) and perfectly nice (simple) and cottagey show. :)
The gorgeous flowers bloom in early spring and last a long time. Deadheading brings another flush of bloom (and eliminates any shabbiness from spent flowers), although not as vigorous as the first. Definitely a must-have for my garden!
On Jul 19, 2003, Shelly221 from Denver, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:
This is considered a perennial here, most winters the foliage never even dies back. VERY easy to care for, and can be planted in shade, or partial sun. It does look untidey if its not kept cut back. It does re-flower here, if cut back.
On Feb 3, 2003, Crimson from Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:
It did a great job of "locking down" the soil on a slope, and it's practically weed proof once established, but after flowering it needs to be cut back (unless you want seeds) since the seed heads make the area look unkempt/a total mess.
On Mar 12, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:
Sweet William is a biennial which acts as a perennial by re-seeding itself. If not allowed to set seed, clusters of new plants form around the old stalk.
Sweet William grows best in slightly alkaline soil and likes a warm sunny growing area. The pink, red, salmon or white blossoms appear in late spring or early summer, and are excellent cut flowers.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
, Auburn, Alabama Jones, Alabama Opelika, Alabama Fayetteville, Arkansas Bayview, California Concord, California Corning, California Fortuna, California Grass Valley, California Hesperia, California Magalia, California Ripon, California Sacramento, California San Diego, California Vacaville, California Aurora, Colorado Federal Heights, Colorado Storrs Mansfield, Connecticut Winsted, Connecticut Keystone Heights, Florida Aldora, Georgia Between, Georgia Braselton, Georgia Cordele, Georgia East Newnan, Georgia Harlem, Georgia Hawkinsville, Georgia Marietta, Georgia Villa Rica, Georgia Rathdrum, Idaho Hampton, Illinois Rockford, Illinois South Beloit, Illinois Windsor, Illinois Elizabethtown, Indiana Macy, Indiana Hays, Kansas Lansing, Kansas Ewing, Kentucky Flemingsburg, Kentucky Westbrook, Maine Dundalk, Maryland Ellicott City, Maryland Pikesville, Maryland White Oak, Maryland Billerica, Massachusetts Cotuit, Massachusetts Marlborough, Massachusetts Springfield, Massachusetts Galesburg, Michigan Grand Rapids, Michigan Blaine, Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota Florence, Mississippi Mathiston, Mississippi Saucier, Mississippi Glendale, Missouri Maryland Heights, Missouri Finley Point, Montana Otoe, Nebraska Greenville, New Hampshire Groveton, New Hampshire Hudson, New Hampshire Metuchen, New Jersey North Plainfield, New Jersey Angel Fire, New Mexico Cayuga Heights, New York Cicero, New York Hannibal, New York Nunda, New York Clemmons, North Carolina Grassy Creek, North Carolina Raleigh, North Carolina Winston-salem, North Carolina Crary, North Dakota Ashville, Ohio Bucyrus, Ohio Columbia Station, Ohio Fairport Harbor, Ohio Huber Ridge, Ohio Loudonville, Ohio Mineral City, Ohio Oak Harbor, Ohio Obetz, Ohio Cedar Valley, Oklahoma Midwest City, Oklahoma Spencer, Oklahoma Bend, Oregon Mill City, Oregon Stayton, Oregon Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania Morrisville, Pennsylvania Old Forge, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania South Kingstown, Rhode Island Chapin, South Carolina Columbia, South Carolina East Sumter, South Carolina Mullins, South Carolina North Augusta, South Carolina Piedmont, South Carolina Summerville, South Carolina (2 reports) Winnsboro, South Carolina Pierre, South Dakota Algood, Tennessee Fairview, Tennessee Hendersonville, Tennessee Lebanon, Tennessee Lenoir City, Tennessee Sweetwater, Tennessee Abilene, Texas Belton, Texas Blue Mound, Texas Elwood, Utah Farr West, Utah West Dummerston, Vermont Chesapeake, Virginia Mechanicsville, Virginia Unionville, Virginia Virginia Beach, Virginia Cashmere, Washington Kalama, Washington Lake Goodwin, Washington Spokane, Washington Brookhaven, West Virginia Bayfield, Wisconsin Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin