Cool-sea­son dianthus lasts through spring

The Sun Herald (Sunday) - - Your Life -

most red. There are a cou­ple of pretty bi­col­ors that are called pi­cot­tees.

Tel­star is the per­fect choice for mass plant­ing in the land­scape. These are uni­form grow­ing, have a sturdy habit and get only about 10 inches tall and wide.

An­other good choice is the Su­per Par­fait se­ries. Su­per Par­fait di­anthuses are in­deed su­per, and they are cold weather tol­er­ant, as well. This group is known for its com­pact size and large blos­soms that reach 2 to 2 1/2 inches in di­am­e­ter.

But don’t think you’re out of luck if you can’t find these named se­ries. This week­end, I bought some re­ally nice-look­ing generic di­anthuses at the gar­den cen­ter.

Dianthus has a uni­form grow­ing habit that makes it a per­fect mass plant­ing choice. For best per­for­mance, al­ways plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Dianthus is sus­cep­ti­ble to root dis­ease prob­lems and doesn’t like wet feet. This is a con­cern in Mis­sis­sippi’s cool, wet falls and win­ters.

Dianthus is also a great choice for col­or­ful com­bi­na­tion con­tain­ers. Try pair­ing with pan­sies and vi­o­las for a great coolsea­son con­tainer. Cool Wave pan­sies have an im­proved, trail­ing growth habit that makes them fan­tas­tic spiller plants for con­tain­ers.

All di­anthuses are mod­er­ate to heavy feed­ers. At plant­ing, place about a ta­ble­spoon of a good, slow-re­lease fer­til­izer in the plant­ing hole, and then sup­ple­ment monthly with a wa­ter-sol­u­ble fer­til­izer. To en­cour­age more lat­eral growth and more flow­ers, pinch or prune back the plants a cou­ple of inches after the first flush of flow­ers.

Many peo­ple I talk to are sur­prised that dianthus flow­ers are ed­i­ble, just like pan­sies and vi­o­las. Gather the flow­ers, gen­tly wash them and pat dry. Softly pull on the petals to sep­a­rate them from the base. Add the petals to any fresh let­tuce or fruit salad.

Be care­ful when se­lect­ing plants for ed­i­ble flow­ers from the nurs­eries and gar­den cen­ters, as you don’t know how they have been treated dur­ing the pro­duc­tion phase. But you can eas­ily grow dianthus from seed. This way you can grow ex­actly the va­ri­eties and col­ors you want.

Gary Bach­man, Ph.D., is an ex­ten­sion and re­search pro­fes­sor of hor­ti­cul­ture at the Mis­sis­sippi State Univer­sity Coastal Re­search and Ex­ten­sion Cen­ter in Biloxi. Con­tact him at south­ern­gar­den­ing @msstate.edu.

GARY BACH­MAN MSU Ex­ten­sion Ser­vice

Dianthus has a uni­form grow­ing habit that makes it a per­fect mass plant­ing choice. It is also a great choice for col­or­ful com­bi­na­tion con­tain­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.