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Annual BiennialBedding

Dianthus barbatus
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

sweet william

D. barbatus is a biennial or short-lived perennial with prostrate rosettes of wide, lanceolate green leaves and stiff, erect stems, thickened at the nodes, to 40-60cm tall, bearing many-flowered, terminal, flattened heads. Flowers come in many colours from white to darkest red, often in bicolour combinations, with the darker eyes and toothed petals characteristic of pinks and carnations. Many named selections exist

Other common names
bloomy down
London tufts
see moreoeillet des poètes
tolmeiner
bearded pink [2]
London pride [4]

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
1–2 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Pink Purple Red White Green
Summer Pink Purple Red White Green
Autumn Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Caryophyllaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Dianthus can be annuals, evergreen perennials or subshrubs with narrow, often greyish leaves and showy flowers that are frequently fragrant

Name status

Correct

Plant range
S Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in a well-drained neutral to slightly acid soil in full sun

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in late spring and plant out into flowering positions in the autumn

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Cut flowers
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Deadhead as required

Pests

Can get aphids, slugs and caterpillars

Diseases

May be affected by a rust

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