Dianthus Fast Facts

Dianthus Fast Facts image by Creating Character/Flickr, audreyjm529/Flickr
Dianthus Fast Facts image by Creating Character/Flickr, audreyjm529/Flickr


Three varieties of dianthus are commonly grown in gardens: Maiden Pinks, Sweet Williams and Carnations. They all have small flowers in shades of red, pink and white during spring and early summer.

Maiden Pinks

Maiden Pinks (Dianthus deltoides) are annual plants, which reseed easily. The blue-green foliage forms a dense mat in cooler climates, but the centers of Maiden Pinks die out in hot humid weather. Grow Maiden Pinks in well-drained, alkaline soil in full sun. They are drought-tolerant.

Sweet Williams

Sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus) are treated as annuals in cooler climates and as perennials in warmer climates. They are often short-lived, even as perennials. Plant Sweet Williams in full sun in well drained alkaline soil. Divide every 2 to 3 years to prolong their life. Sweet Williams will reseed. If the seeds are removed, new plants will form around the base of the old plant.


Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) are one of the most common cut flowers used by florists. Grow carnations in well-drained alkaline soil in full sun. They are more tolerant of humidity than other varieties of dianthus.

Bright pink dianthus.


Dianthus can be grown as border plants, groundcover, underplantings for roses and other shrubs, or in containers.

Pests and Diseases

Dianthus are susceptible to Fusarium wilt, root rot and crown rot. Aphids, grasshoppers or mites may attack dianthus plants.


  • Michigan State University Extension

Who Can Help

  • Dianthus deltoides (Maiden Pink)
  • Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)
  • Dianthus caryophylllus (Carnation)
Keywords: Dianthus, Maiden Pinks, Sweet Williams, Carnations

About this Author

Melody Lee began working as a reporter and copywriter for the "Jasper News" in 2004 and was promoted to editor in 2005. She also edits magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design, is a Florida Master Gardener, and has more than 25 years of gardening experience.

Photo by: Creating Character/Flickr, audreyjm529/Flickr