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Pinks and Carnations

Dianthus is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae, native mainly to Europe and Asia, with a few species extending south to north Africa, and one species (D. repens) in arctic North America. Common names include carnation (D. caryophyllus), pink (D. plumarius and related species) and sweet william (D. barbatus). The name Dianthus is from the Greek words dios ("god") and anthos ("flower"), and was cited by the Greek botanist Theophrastus.

The color pink may actually be named after the flower. The origin of the flower name 'pink' is unknown.

Description[edit | edit source]

The species are mostly perennial herbs, a few are annual or biennial, and some are low subshrubs with woody basal stems. Stems are swollen at the nodes, and contain a clear sap.

The leaves are opposite and simple with entire margins and petioles that wrap around the stem, mostly linear and often strongly glaucous grey-green to blue-green.

The flowers are solitary or in panicles, with leafy bracts beneath and five petals, typically with a frilled or notched margin. In almost all species they are pale to dark pink, but at least one species (D. knappii) has yellow flowers with a purple centre.

Growing conditions[edit | edit source]

Moist, well-drained, not overly rich soils, full sun.

Species[edit | edit source]

Dianthus alpinus
Dianthus caryophyllus seed heads
Dianthus superbus

Uses[edit | edit source]

Some species are grown for cut flowers, but most as ground covers or border plants.

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

Propagation[edit | edit source]

Harvesting[edit | edit source]

Pests and diseases[edit | edit source]

Bacterial Wilts

  • Pseudomonas caryophylli

Bacterial Leaf Spots

  • Pseudomonas woodsii
  • Xanthomonas oryxae var. dianthi


  • Corynebacterium fascians

Crown Galls

Leaf Spots

  • Septoria dianthi

Leaf Blotch

  • Zygophiala jamaicensis


Bud Rot

  • Fusarium poae


  • Armillaria mellea
  • Fusarium oxysporum var. barbari
  • Fusarium oxysporum var. dianthi
  • Fusarium roseum var. cerealis
  • Phialophora cinerescens

Stem Rots

Crown Rot


  • Puccinia arenariae
  • Uromyces dianthi


  • Ustilago violacea

Viri Leaf Streak

  • Carnation Streak Virus



  • Carnation Mottle Virus


  • Carnation Ringspot Virus








Slugs and Snails

References[edit | edit source]

  • Christopher Brickell and Judith D. Zuk (1997). The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. DK Publishing. pp. 358–361. {{cite book}}: Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  • Staff of the L. H. Bailey Hortorium (1976). Hortus Third: A Concise Dictionary of Plants Cultivated in the United States and Canada. Cornell University Press. pp. 376–380. {{cite book}}: Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  • Pirone, Pascal P. (1978). Diseases & Pests of Ornamental Plants (Fifth Edition ed.). John Wiley & Sons, New York. p. 198. {{cite book}}: |edition= has extra text (help); Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  • Cranshaw, Whitney (2004). Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs. Princeton University Press. p. 592. {{cite book}}: Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  • Pippa Greenwood, Andrew Halstead, A.R. Chase, Daniel Gilrein (2000). American Horticultural Society Pests & Diseases: The Complete Guide to Preventing, Identifying, and Treating Plant Problems (First Edition ed.). Dorling Kindersley (DK) Publishing, inc. p. 198. {{cite book}}: |edition= has extra text (help); Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)