I call this plant Dianthus, but my neighbor calls it Pinks. We are both right. Dianthus is a genus which contains 300 species. Among those species are the flowers with the common names Carnation, Pink and Sweet William. Dianthus have been cultivated for hundreds of year and are mainly native to Europe and Asia. The name comes from the Greek words dios (god) and anthos (flower), or divine flower.

dianthus1I’ve had several varieties of Pinks in my garden over the years. They are billed as perennial, but in my experience they only last about 4 or 5 years here in zone 5. While they last, they are a great addition to any garden. Each plant grows 12-18 inches high and has numerous blooms that are about 1-1/2 inches wide. Flowers start to show up in the spring and sometimes last until fall.  The plant itself is a dense clump of grass-like leaves, and may be evergreen. The flowers don’t always get taller than the leaves. Pinks also make a good cut flower because they last a long time. You can grow Pinks from seed or cuttings, and plants can be divided every 3 or 4 years. It’s not a necessary trait for my yard, but deer do not appear to like these plants.

Most Pink flowers have 5 petals, with a frilled, or “pinked” edge. As you can see above, double varieties are also available. I can’t say that I’ve ever noticed, but the flowers are supposed to be quite fragrant. Flowers are often bi-colored and are mainly shades of pink, though now there are orange, purple and yellow blooms. There is speculation that the plants were originally called Pinks because the flower’s edge looked as if it had been cut with pinking shears. I also came across sources that claim the color pink was named after this flower, and not the other way around, as I would have expected.



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One Response to “Pinks”

  1. Aunt Mary Says:

    My perennial Dianthus lasted one season about five years ago so I never bought any more although I enjoyed it while it lasted.

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