Dianthus Plant Care

Dianthus Planting and Care

Dianthus Plant Care-butterflies-on-dianthus-flowers
Butterflies on dianthus flowers

Dianthus are low-maintenance plants giving your garden that color pop while attracting butterflies and other pollinators.  These garden beauties also go by the name Sweet William and are a real show stopper with their array of flowering colors which are so dazzling and will spice up your summer garden. Dianthus belongs to the family Caryophyllaceae and is in a genus of 3000 species of flowering plants which include carnation. Dianthus are native to Asia, Northern Europe, China, Alaska, and South Africa. Dianthus produces a spicy fragrance, most species have an abundance of flowers that comes in many shapes and colors with simple narrow leaves.

Dianthus can be classified as perennials, hardy annuals, or biennial, these plants can get up to 6-18 inches tall. Liven up your spring and summer gardens with dianthus as you work on the great outdoors, if you are interested in the growth and care of dianthus continue reading as we take a closer look at the world of dianthus which can transform your garden with so much color pop.

Planting Location

When planting dianthus, install in a garden area that gets full sunlight, these garden beauties will perform at their best under these conditions.

Soil Type

The soil type should be well-drained with a Ph that is slightly alkaline to neutral.

Watering Methods

When watering your dianthus especially during the summertime ensure that the soil is somewhat moist and not waterlogged. Allow the soil to dry out a bit before giving your dianthus another drink.

Fertilizing Methods

A slow-release fertilizer such as 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 will keep your dianthus flowering beautifully.

Garden insect pests of dianthus

Keeping an eye out for these pests will have your dianthus growing their best.

  • Aphids
  • Spider Mites
  • Slugs

Aphids and Spider Mites

Aphids and spider mites are tiny insects that can cause huge damage. These garden insect pests will suck the plant’s fluids causing yellowing of the leaves followed by leaf drop. To bring aphids and spider mites under control the use of insecticidal soap will eliminate them. Before applying read and follow the manufacturer’s label for best results.


Because dianthus is a soft luscious plant slugs will eat the plant parts. The use of snail bait or handpicking them and throwing them into a bucket of soapy water will bring them.

Disease of dianthus

Watch for these diseases and treat them as soon as they appear.

  • Rust
  • Greasy Blotch
  • Fusarium Wilt
  • Alternaria Leaf Spot
  • Botrytis Blight
  • Bacterial Slow Wilt


Signs of rust show in dianthus as small blisters that have sores with a rust-red color. Applying a fungicide will bring control.

Greasy Blotch

The leaves develop a web pattern that causes yellowing, the leaves will eventually die if the humidity is adjusted. To combat this issue the humidity level should be below 85%

Fusarium Wilt

This disease appears as yellowing of the leaves along with wilting and stem rot. It is best to choose plants that are healthy to avoid Fusarium Wilt.

Alternaria Leaf Spot

The plant leaves develop spots that are small and purple, the leaves will yellow and the center will turn brown. The use of a fungicide will bring control.

Botrytis Blight

Botrytis blight affects plants by causing the plant’s petals to be covered with a gray fungal growth, the petals will also turn brown. keep the plant bed free of debris, plants should be properly spaced to provide good air circulation, do not irrigate or water plants too late in the day, applying a fungicide will help.

Bacterial Slow Spot

This disease cause stunting, twisting and wilting. The plant’s leaves take on a green-yellowish appearance, the lower leaves will eventually die. Plants which has these symptoms should be destroyed.

Ideas on where to install dianthus

Here are just a few ideas on where to install your dianthus.

1. Installing dianthus in a garden plant bed as a front drop will work wonders.

2. Plant them around the trunk of a tree.

3. What about a garden walking pathway?

4. Install them in containers and place the containers on either side of your front door.

5. Place the container on your porch or patio.

6. Install them alongside a wall.

7. Place them alongside a fenced area.

Container grown dianthus

Container gardening makes a great choice in growing dianthus,  the container should have drain holes to allow excess water to drain. The soil should also be well-drained soil which is slightly alkaline, keep the soil somewhat moist and not waterlogged which will encourage root rot. The use of a slow-release fertilizer during the growing season will keep your dianthus blooming nicely. Before applying fertilizers read and follow the manufacturer’s label because the label is the law. Keep a watchful eye for garden insect pests and diseases as stated earlier.

Deadheading dianthus

Deadheading is a great way for your dianthus to put forth new flower bloom. When the older bloom starts to fade this is a sure sign that the next step is deadheading. With a sharp pair of scissors or hand pruner that is sterilized prune your dianthus. The cut should be made back to the base right above the nearest set of leaves and before you know it you will have fresh beautiful flowers in full bloom.

The final word

Dianthus are beautiful flowering plants that can work wonders. These garden beauties are worth the investment, the beautiful flower bloom seems to say that spring and summer are here giving such a great feeling. Go ahead and give these amazing plants a try and take your gardens and landscapes to the next level. Dianthus brings that much-need flavor that will spice up your garden as you enjoy its beauty.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

8 thoughts on “Dianthus Plant Care”

  1. Very engaging post you have here about dianthus plant. I cannot agree with you less concerning this plant because OMG! They are awesome. I saw them on a friend’s garden and they made the garden looked magical. I decided to read more about them before I plant them on my garden. Thanks for offering this much overview to me about the processes involved in their planting and nurturing. Thanks so much for this.

    • It is my pleasure, I am so happy that I could help. Wishing you the best with your gardening project. Have a good day.

  2. I love having the Dianthus flowers in the garden, they are beautiful and provide hours and days of enjoyment for me and for any guests that may be visiting. They do require a certain amount of care, as any plant does, so this article on just what to do and watch out for I found extremely useful.

    We use them in the Spring here in Dubai, and they do not flower that long, maybe because of the heat, but they are a sure sign that the warmer weather has arrived. They last up to the time when the temperatures get into the low 100s F, and they do not die, but stop blooming…

    Our gardener seems to have the care of these plants well in hand, but I have made some notes so I can ask some questions when I notice there is something out of sorts with not only the dianthus plants that we have in the garden areas. From time to time we think it is the extreme sun and heat when we start seeing the plants or leaves turning colors when it could very well be another problem. 

    Are there any alternatives to the Dianthus flowers which I love that will stand up better and stay blooming in the intense Summers here in Dubai that you can recommend? I would love to add even more beauty to the Dianthus we have now! This was an interesting read and a very useful post. Thanks!   

    • Hello so happy to see you and thanks for sharing, as far as plants to try what about hibiscus, bougainvilleas, 
      Frangipani, Desert rose, Oleanders or Red thumb. Hope this help. Have a good day.

  3. Thanks Norman. The dianthus looks really pretty and and would definitely make a good addition to any garden. I don’t really have a green thumb but I would like to start learning and trying soon. Offhand, this seems complicated to me but that’s clearly because I have tried it yet. Does it only bloom in summer and spring? How do you care for it during the other seasons? Didn’t realise that they can get diseases too. Thanks again, this is so informative.

    • Hello Raquel so happy to see you, these are pretty amazing flowers which will not only bloom in the spring and the summer but is able to withstand the colder weather also. In the colder weather, it is all a matter of watering less because plants use less water during this time of the year because of the frost. So dianthus can survive the cold. Hope this help and have a good day.

  4. Growing dianthus is really well explained. I am not a gardener but my major concern is how long does it take to take care of the dianthus? Between choosing the location, watering, watching for insect, all that seems to be very time-consuming and I don’t think I would have the patience to do it.

    I only can show my appreciation for someone’s passion for flowers. I don’t like to do all that but I really enjoy looking at a beautiful garden.

    • Hello, Claude so happy to see you. These garden plants are a breeze and not hard to take care of them at all, the maintenance of these plants are so simple you will be amazed. It is good to connect with nature on the great outdoors getting that much need exercise. All the best to you.


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