Proven Winners has announced the release of the Fruit Punch series of hardy dianthus in USDA Zones 4 to 9. This crop is easy to produce and provides color on retail shelves from late spring into summer, often reblooming in fall for the home gardener. Members of this series are all fully double and fragrant, blooming in rich shades of deep red, pink and bicolor flowers.
Dianthus ‘Apple Slice’ and Dianthus ‘Coconut Punch’ produce bicolor flowers with deep red edges and pink or white petals. Both of these cultivars are about 10-to-12 inches tall and offer longer flower stems, which are great for cut flowers.
Dianthus ‘Black Cherry Wild’ and Dianthus ‘Pomegranate Kiss’ are shorter, more compact cultivars that stand just 6 inches tall in full bloom. D. ‘Black Cherry Wild’ produces deep-velvety-red flowers with a very thin white edge. D. ‘Pomegranate Kiss’ offers unique almost tie-dyed looking flowers in shades of red and rose pink.
For growers, it is best to bring perennial dianthus into your production in late summer to allow plants to get vernalized and bulk up over the winter. For best results, plan on providing six to nine weeks at 35°F to 40°F. Less time is
needed for flowering when temperatures warm up in spring. If you cannot provide vernalization, check with your supplier about larger vernalized plugs for a faster spring finish.
Dianthus is best grown at a 6.0 to 6.5 pH in a well-drained, peat-based media. It should not be overwatered or allowed to dry to the wilting point. Saturate the media and allow for adequate drying before watering again. Grow under high light intensities for best results.