Horticulture Magazine

Dianthus Varieties

Dianthus caryophyllus 'Doris' flowers in beautiful pink colours

Dianthus comprise an assortment of thousands of varieties – of which 92 have been awarded the RHS’s Award of Garden Merit.

It is only a matter of time before Dianthus scores a century in AGMs.

Underneath we present a mere taste of what this wonderful genus has in store for gardeners.

All the Carnation and Garden Pink varieties exhibit the classic greyish-bluish-green foliage that is such a well-known attribute of these two species’ varieties.

All the Carnation and Garden Pink varieties are evergreen perennials while the two Sweet William varieties are biennials.

1) Carnation ‘Leon Tautz’

carnations with dark red and white patterned flowers

A tall border Carnation that can reach 75 centimetres. It has a bushy habit.

It flowers only during part of the summer but no matter how brief the flowering season may be, the brilliant and stunning bloom, up to 6 centimetres in diameter, makes up for it.

It has a pure white ground with vivid purplish-crimson flecks, splashes and edging.

2) Carnation ‘Jean Knight’

purple and white carnations growing with white gypsophila

Also a border Carnation that grows up to 50 centimetres.

It has a bushy habit and blooms during the summer.

The flower is seven to eight centimetres wide, and is one for the manor garden, being pure white with purplish-crimson edging that bleeds over into flecks and streaks.

RHS Award of Garden Merit. 

3) Carnation ‘Chesswood Margaret Alison’

Another tallish border Carnation that blooms during summer.

Its foliage has a very bluish tone. The double flowers are large at about 7 centimetres, and are a remarkable sedate rose pink, call it ‘Slate Rose.’

It possesses a feature that Dianthus are famed for: a spicy fragrance.

The flowers have a strong clove-like scent.

RHS Award of Garden Merit. 

4) Carnation ‘Mambo’

A perpetually flowering variety that is grown year-round under glass for floriculture and exhibition.

This bushy variety attains a height and spread of over one metre.

The large, fully double flowers are in gorgeous tones of orangeish-yellow with the colouration being gently gradated.

RHS Award of Garden Merit. 

5) Garden Pink ‘Pixie Star’

garden pinks in focus

A dwarf variety at only about 20 centimetres with a similar spread.

The foliage has an obvious bluish tinge.

The blooming season starts from mid-spring and continues into summer.

The small single flowers are most charming; they are candy pink with a lipstick red central ring.

RHS Award of Garden Merit. 

6) Garden Pink ‘Dainty Dame’

Another dwarf variety at only about 25 centimetres with a similar spread.

The small single flowers are pure white with a very contrasty maroon central ring.

These upbeat flowers have a suitably strong scent that carries a hint of spice.

RHS Award of Garden Merit. 

7) Garden Pink ‘Pinball Wizard’

garden pink 'pinball wizard' pink flowers in close focus

A mid-height variety that reaches around 40 centimetres. It has a bushy habit.

Blooming during the summer, its double flowers are of the palest pink with flecking and feathering of a vivid pink.

These comparatively refined and elegant Pinks have a mildly spicy scent.

8) Garden Pink ‘Rhian’s Choice’

This variety grows to about 30 centimetres and has a bushy habit.

Even by Dianthus standards, this variety’s foliage is markedly bluish-grey.

The double flowers are 5 to 5.5 centimetres in width, and bloom during summer.

They are truly eye-pulling stunners by virtue of their striking hue which varies from intense red to blood red.

9) Sweet William ‘Auricula-Eyed Mixed’

Grows to about 60 centimetres and has an upright habit.

This Dianthus’s foliage is neither greyish nor bluish but is very green.

It bears merry clusters of bright pink, magenta, and purplish flowers with white or pale eyes.

These blooms are quite fragrant and bloom from late spring through summer.

10) Sweet William ’Sooty’ or ‘Black Dianthus’

flowers of Sweet William ’Sooty’

Grows to about 60 centimetres and has a bushy, mounding form. It has intensely green foliage.

It bears clusters of small flowers during the summer, and they are seriously (yes, again) stunning.

The hue varies from maroon-black to violet-black, and the intense effect is heightened by a velvety sheen.

11) Carnation ‘Maiden Pink’

very small flowers of maiden pink carnations growing in a garden border

12) Garden Pink ‘Clove’

garden pink 'clove' flowers in bloom

13) Sweet William ‘Rockin Red’

rockin red sweet william flowers

14) Garden Pink ‘Rose De Mai’

Rose De Mai garden pinks with pink blooming flowers

15) Garden Pink ‘Pink Kisses’

pink kisses

16) Garden Pink ‘Georgia Peach Pie’

Georgia Peach Pie garden pinks in flower

17) Carnation ‘Oscar Pink’

an oscar pink carnation in bloom with spiky foliage

18) Sweet William ‘Kawaranadesiko’

Sweet William 'Kawaranadesiko' with unusual flowering

We hope you enjoyed this list of our favourite dianthus.

If you didn’t find a variety that piqued your interest then keep looking – there are literally thousands to choose from!

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