Prized for the beauty of their blooms and their sweet clove fragrance, Dianthus is a massive genus of 300 species of flowering plants, native mainly to Europe and Asia. They range from the classic Sweet William of cottage gardens to the highly prized florist' Carnations and include the charming rock garden miniatures.

  • Numerous Dianthus species and cultivar are wonderful subjects in rock gardens. Rewardingly floriferous, they form beautiful, tight mounds of bright and colorful, sometimes uniquely patterned flowers, that are hard to beat in terms of floral display. Their foliage is equally attractive, often glaucous blue and evergreen.
  • The main bloom period is spring to early summer, but some Dianthus rebloom later in the season or keep flowering into fall if regularly deadheaded.
  • Easy and accommodating, Dianthus enjoy sunny shaded sites with well-drained soils. Good drainage is critical and you should avoid planting Dianthus where the soil is continuously soggy. The biggest cultivation issue with Dianthus is crown rot. Thus do not mulch in the winter with compost. A gravel grit mulch such as pea gravel or chicken grit is a good topping for around Dianthus cushions to prevent the foliage from sitting on the ground.

Below is a list of wonderful species and cultivars for your rock garden.