Discover the joy of gardening with Sweet William flowers. Instructions for planting Dianthus barbatus from seed. Sweet Williams photos and pruning tips.
The Sweet William flowering plant is a classic, biennial Dianthus. If you add it to your flower border in the fall it will bloom early the following summer.
Sweet Williams flowers appear in fragrant white, pink, or crimson clusters (some selections are bi-colored) atop mounds of bright green foliage to 24 inches high. There are dwarf selections that hug the ground at 4 inches tall. Dianthus barbatus barbarini grows 6-8 inches tall and blooms in its first year.
The leaves are sword-shaped, 3-5 inches long by half an inch wide. They cover the plant's knees well.
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Plants can be grown from seed or transplants.
Dianthus Sweet William appreciates rich, well draining soil in full sun to part shade. Sprinkle a little horticultural lime over the bed prior to setting the transplants out.
If you plant a bed full of them, they will infuse your whole yard with their perfume in the spring.
Sweet William seed can be direct sown in the fall in zones 7-11. Above zone 7, sow Dianthus seed in early spring.
The plants will reseed if the last blooms of the season are allowed to remain on them through winter.
Deadheading the plants after each flush of bloom will keep them blooming later into the growing season.
If you want Dianthus barbatus to reseed, leave the last flush of blooms in place in the fall. If you don't, continue deadheading them until frost.
Dianthus caryophyllus, the clove-scented Florist Carnation
China Pink, Dianthus chinensis
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