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Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) From Seeds

Nutley, NJ(Zone 6b)

In November 2009 I purchased a package of mixed colors Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William) seeds from an eBay seller by the name of seeds2yous which has since gone out of business. Because of construction about my house, I didnít plant the seeds until late spring and then in a large pot. For the summer and fall the Dianthus barbatus grew very slowly. When winter arrived I moved the pot to a sheltered and hoped for the best. For most of the winter the pot was covered with 3 or more feet of snow. Wirth return of spring the Dianthus barbatus grew quickly and bloomed in the third week in May. The attached picture was taken on June 6, 2011 when the Dianthus were just passed their peek. I am now looking forward to collecting seeds for next years crop. The Sweet William lived up to its name and were very fragrant but not up to the level of Dianthus carthusianorum which I disused previously.

Is anyone else growing Dianthus barbatus? Are there any thoughts on Dianthus in pots vs. garden planting?


Thumbnail by Michael_Ronayne
BŁllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Hi Mike,

I grow the same Dianthus barbatus as you and also the Dianthus barbatus nigrescens.
Both are often named as biennuals, but my experience is that they are perennials.
I don't grow them in pots. If you grow them in the garden they will spread and look much better than in pots.

I'm growing a lot of Dianthus species, at least 10 different ones, because I love them. The most fragrant one in my garden is the Dianthus turkestanicus.


Nutley, NJ(Zone 6b)


You have some very nice pictures of Dianthus turkestanicus posted on the PlanFiles:

The primary reason why I am using pots is so that I can isolate and track cultivars in anticipation of controlled breeding, if I ever get all the foundation stock I want. After reviewing some the English Dianthus retail websites, I have come to realize just how limited high quality Dianthus and Carnations are in North America. Unfortunately high quality cut Carnations are an import into the United States and we no longer have a Carnation industry with spillover into the hobby. I have not been able to find a European grown who will export to the United States or Canada.

I did try seeds, but with the exception of seeds of Dianthus species, the results have been unsatisfactory and it takes a year to a year and a half to discover that the seeds donít live up to their billing. I will be posting more on this in the next week.


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