Firewitch Dianthus rotting already? NW Georgia Zone 7

Kingston, GA

Hi, this is my first post... Thank you for taking the time to read this.

I bought 3 firewitch dianthus this past sunday afternoon, kept them in garage 2 nights during cold spell, planted them tuesday morning and here it is 2 days later they went from full & beautiful to dull and yellow spots on the petals. Sorry no pic available, but the spots are small and multiple all over each flower on each plant. The new buds that were about to bloom when planted have browned and appear to be drying out. I just noticed this tonight as the sun was setting and can't do anything about it until I get home from work tomorrow.

I did some research before coming here to post and it sounds like I might already have a virus or rot. If so, I think the problem may be the Georgia clay, and possibly too much mulch right up on the plant. I watered them well along with my other new plants (coreopsis, veronice & butterfly bush - all fine) after planting and again last night. I didn't water them tonight for fear of overwatering might worsen the problem.

Without any guidance, I suppose I will pull the mulch away from the leaves as soon as I can. I haven't decided if I should move them to the more loose soil around the mailbox that currently holds my coreopsis. I was a little worried about placing them there as that location gets full sun all day rather than the suggested 4-6 hours on the tag in the plant. I have read that on the internet that someone in zone 8 had their dianthus in full sun and it did great (just don't know what kind of dianthus they had)

I fully expected as a new gardener, I would lose plants... I just didn't expect something like this so quickly!

If anyone has any input, it is greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Pictures would really help. It could also be sunburn or transplant shock but without some pictures it's very hard to say. Unless the plants were overwatered before you got them, rot would probably take a bit longer to show up so I'd lean toward something else, but it's hard to say for sure without seeing the plants. Regardless, I would remove the mulch from the base of the plant since that will cause problems eventually if it hasn't already.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

It might be possible that they were in the garage too long also, some plants are more sensative than others. Were they hardened off properly before planting outside. Dianthus (which one do you have, there are dozens, annuals, perennials and biennials), most all can handle all the sun they can get. If your soil is a problem, have you thought about adding peatmoss to the planting hole. I have clay also, and use peat whenever I can. I mix a handful in the dirt removed from the hole. It allow the air to reach the roots and water to drain away when needed. The best peatmoss is available from Home Depot, just make sure to break it apart and mix good.
Pick off all the blooms and let the plant recoup a bit. Usually dianthus are a pretty hardy group of plants, so give it a few days and let us know. Kathy. All pix are perennials, and grown from seed indoors in the winter.
Pix: Dianthus grationopolitanous Firewitch
Pix: Dianthus X Loveliness
Pix: Dianthus knappii
Pix: Dianthus grationopolitanus, Baths Pinks
Pix: Dianthus deltoides (if this is the correct pix, the little red flowers, low, these are a creeper and the only variety that I have found to reseed, tho I've not grown the biennial or sweet williams).

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy
Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Duh...I'm sorry you did say firewitch, lol. Like I say don't give up on them yet, hopefully they will rebound.
Pix: pink Centranthus ruber, purple Geranium Rozzanne and Humulous aureous (hops vine).

Thumbnail by warriorswisdomkathy
Gilmer, TX(Zone 8b)

I have Firewitch Dianthus growing in my rockgarden and path areas. It does not need much watering, at all! A Very tough plant and loves the sun.

I would remove the plant from clay and try to amend the soil with compost and/or make it a superficial rocky area above the clay and fill the spaces with some lighter soil. Then plant the dianthus between the rocks so that it is primarily elevated and is in the better draining soil. And go easy on the water, it is a very very tough and efficient little plant.

Also I would shear every blossom stem all the way down. Make it focus on rooting first. Do not fertilize with anything additional and if the roots are still moist, don't water it anytime soon. Wait at least a week.

I recently rooted several pieces of my Firewitch dianthus into new locations. Have only watered them probably twice in a month.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Hey mini..have you ever tried that with armeria maritima? It's one of those with one main stem and not dividable.

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

I have a dianthus, looks like warriors first pic. It spent the winter in a hanging wire pot outside. All the poor thing gets from me is a drink once in a while. It made it through winter and now is blooming. No special care. The soil in the pot is good however and it is in full sun. I'm far from a begining gardner but still have some plants that just don't respond to TLC. I will move them around and replant 3 times and then if their not happy and look miserable in the trash they go. Lifes to short to stress out over plants. I lost a $65. allamanda that was 6' high from nursery. Planted it along my fence line right next to another which was doing fine. Gave it same care but croaked one winter even tho it was covered. Go figure. Some plants are just very temperamental and others easy growers.
Don't throw your plant out just yet. As said above some go into shock, some need amended soil. If all else fails you can always repot it with good mixture. I use vermiculite, peat and compost. We have cows so theres plenty of that and cow poop goes into every hole I ever dig to plant anything.

Good luck and smile at your plant it may help.

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8b)

w w kathy,
No i haven't tried Armeria as of yet. It intrigues me, though! I think white would be really pretty.
I think it would look neat in the rock garden, also. I have so much Dianthus gratianopolitanus now, it is everywhere. My firewitch somehow pollenated and is partially white and light pink when it blooms. There is a Dianthus chinensis that is pure white next to it. I wonder if there is any way that these two crosspollinated together and hybridized? There are tons of little baby green/blue seedlings cropping up everywhere, and so easy to transplant.

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