Grow Dianthus from Seed Easily

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grow dianthus from seed

Dianthus barbatus, aka Sweet William

One of my new favorite flowers. They’re beautiful, they grow easily, they last a long time, and they attract pollinators. You should grow dianthus from seed so you don’t miss out on these timeless cottage-style blooms.

Dianthus wildflowers grow from seeds
The vivid shades of pink Dianthus gives is incredible. Image by author

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When I scattered a few perennial wildflower packets a couple Springs ago, I had no idea I’d be continually blessed with a parade of colors. Of the many fantastic plants and flowers I’ve come to know and appreciate, Dianthus is a real stunner. Their flowers range from white to white/pink, to Pepto Bismol pink, to light magenta and magenta/white to dark rich magenta.

They prefer full sun, but do okay in part shade if you live in a hot region. Deadhead when necessary to extend blooming. They grow to at least 12″ high.

History of Dianthus Flowers

Dianthus flowers, also known as pinks, carnations, or clove pinks, have a long and storied history. They have been cultivated for centuries, and have been prized for their beauty and versatility.

The first dianthus flowers probably originated in the Mediterranean region, and they spread around the world. Romans loved dianthus flowers, and they used them to decorate their homes and gardens. Dianthus flowers were also popular in ancient Egypt, where they were used in religious ceremonies.

During the Middle Ages, dianthus flowers were associated with love and romance. They were often given as gifts to show affection, and they were also used to decorate wedding bouquets. During the Renaissance, dianthus flowers were used a lot in paintings and sculptures. Artists and poets often used the dianthus flower as a symbol of love, creating works of art inspired by the flower. The flower’s popularity in art and literature continued during the Victorian Era, with dianthus flowers featuring prominently in many romantic poems and stories.

In the 18th century, dianthus flowers became a popular garden flower. They were bred to create new varieties with different colors and shapes. Dianthus flowers were also used in flower arrangements, and they became a popular choice for corsages and boutonnieres.

Today, dianthus flowers are still popular garden flowers. They are easy to grow and care for, and they come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Dianthus flowers are also a popular choice for cut flowers, and they can be used in a variety of arrangements.

Appeal of Growing Dianthus Flowers

There are many reasons why people enjoy growing dianthus flowers. They are:

  • Easy to grow: Dianthus flowers are easy to grow in most climates. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil.
  • Versatile: Dianthus flowers come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. They can be used in borders, rock gardens, or containers.
  • Long-lasting: Dianthus flowers are long-lasting in cut arrangements.
  • Fragrant: Some varieties of Dianthus flowers have a sweet, clove-like fragrance. This is due in part to the fact that they’re in the same family as Carnations.

If you are looking for an easy-to-grow, versatile, and fragrant flower, then dianthus flowers are a great choice. They are a beautiful addition to any garden or flower arrangement.

Here are some additional tips for growing dianthus flowers:

  • Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost.
  • Transplant seedlings outdoors after the last frost.
  • Like most wildflowers, Dianthus seeds benefit from cold stratification. You can plant them in the fall, in the desired location in your garden for blooming next spring.
  • Deadhead spent blooms to encourage new growth.

With proper care, dianthus flowers will reward you with beautiful blooms for many years to come. My garden is proof of their longevity.

When to plant Sweet William?

Sow seed directly into sunny garden in spring when danger of frost has passed. Keep somewhat moist, but when plants are established, they don’t need much watering.

They have a very showy summer season. Dianthus self seed to perpetuate their continuity. And, you can harvest their seeds in the Fall. I plan on having a lot more of these beauties in my beds.

grow dianthus from seed
This image shows the full range of colors Dianthus is capable of. Image by author.
its easy to grow dianthus from seed
Enjoying plants and flowers doesn’t have to be complicated or demanding. Dianthus proves that. Image by author

They attract bees and other pollinators, that goes without saying.

Dianthus also attract butterflies. In my region, I get Eastern and Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterflies. I was fortunate to be on hand when I was visited. I recorded video of these gentle fliers flitting about.

Early June, 2023. An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly in the front yard wildflower garden. Video by author.
Mid June, 2023. A Canadian Tiger Swallowtail butterfly inspecting white Dianthus flowers. Video by author
Photo of author


After years of denying it, Donald finally admits one passion in life is gardening. More specifically: growing seeds, plants, flowers and edibles and helping them to be the best possible. Neighbors call him a Green Thumb. He lives in Western Washington with his wife of 24+ years and three cats.

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