Sweet William

Sweet William - Garden Basics - Flower - Annual

(Dianthus barbatus)

Sweet William has been a favorite in the flower border for generations. They are relatives of the carnation, and flower in shades of red, pink and white. Many forms, such as the 'Wee Willie' shown at left, are bicolors. They are easy to care for, and form neat mounds that seldom need pruning. These plants grow best in cool areas and are not suitable for tropical zones. Sweet Williams make excellent cut flowers and will last long if the water is changed regularly. They will bloom throughout the spring if spent blooms are picked off regularly.

Choose a location that receives full sun. Plants need well-drained, alkaline soil. Most gardners will need to adjust the pH of the soil by adding lime. Transplants should be set out in late summer or early spring. Place them four to six inches apart and keep them well-watered but not soggy until they are established. They will benefit from a monthly feeding. They don't handle the summer heat well, and the plants can be discarded when they are no longer attractive.

For more information about Sweet Williams see Naomi Mathews article
Ohio's Famed Floral Emblem: The Scarlet Carnation

  • Type
  • Propagation
  • Light
    full sun
  • Flower Color
    shades of red, pink and white
  • Bloom Time
    late winter and spring
  • Height
    12 to 14 inches -- dwarf forms 6 to 8 inches
  • Soil Requirements
    well-drained, alkaline
  • Zones
    not suitable for tropical areas
  • Uses
    cutting, borders, windowboxes

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