Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
A number of the dianthus are award winning varieties. Choose these for cut flowers and for cutting gardens.
Dianthus Volcano Mix
These plants were top performers at the Bear Creek Farms cut flower trials in Oklahoma, located in zone six.
Dianthus Fandango Crimson Picotee
This variety proved to be very popular during the cut flower trials in 2010. Seeds and plants of this new dianthus will be available in 2011 for the first time. The disease tolerant plants reach about 1½ feet in height with a slightly wider spread. The plants have an excellent branching habit. The frilly looking, semi-double blossoms are scented. They add a lovely texture to bouquets. This can be grown in containers if you have no space left in your cutting garden.
Dianthus Sweet Red with White Eye
This is one of the Sweet Series of sweet Williams. Blooming the first year from seeds, this variety was particularly popular during the cut flower trials in 2010. New for 2011, this variety has straight, very sturdy stems. The plants reach three feet in height with a spread of about a foot. They’re tolerant of heat and frost. Easy to grow, the Sweet series produce lots of stems for cutting. The lovely flowers open in large, crowded flower heads. They have an especially long vase life.
Dianthus Diabunda Purple Picotee
This variety received a Fleuroselect Industry Award. New for 2011, the well branched plants are vigorous, uniform, and branch from the base. They’re around 1¼ feet tall with a slightly smaller spread. Hardy to zone five, this is a variety of sweet William. The Diabunda series plants bloom very early.
The series is available as a seed mix. The seeds of single colors are sold as well. The colors include Purple, Pink Pearl, Purple Picotee, Red, Red Picotee, and Rose. Even the solid colors tend to have deeper coordinating shades towards the center.
All of the dianthus stems can be used as small mass flowers. They are a very popular cut flower and are a staple in the industry. Both the flowers and the buds are quite long lasting as cut flowers. Dianthus stems can have a vase life of up to two weeks or so.