Dianthus gratianopolitanus is the 'Cheddar Pink'
Dianthus gratianopolitanus is the ‘Cheddar Pink’

A varied group of plants Dianthus include what we call carnations, however these versatile plants have a lot more to offer the gardener than florists flowers.

Varieties such as Dianthus gratianopolitanus or ‘Cheddar Pink’ have an interesting history, the name comes from where they are found ‘Cheddar Gorge’.

Lots of common names, including ‘Pinks’ and ‘Sweet William’ nearly all varieties thrive in full sun and provide masses of flowers from spring through summer.

They will grow well in USDA Zones 3 – 10 depending on variety. As these plants are grown as perennials, annuals and biennials they do need to be treated differently in different zones.

The Perennial Dianthus

These include Dianthus caryophyllus, also known as ‘clove pinks’. Native to the Mediterranean however with many popular old cultivars as well as new releases they probably do not resemble the species much any more.

One of the older varieties is Dianthus caryophyllus ‘Chomley farran’ it has been around since the early 19thC and is still popular. It has striped flowers red and purple.Dianthus caryophyllus grenadin is another, flowers from pure white through tp pink, red and a very deep purple.

Dianthus barbatus

The smaller flowers of Dianthus barbatus give it the common name of ‘Sweet William’, again flower colours vary, white red and purple with lots of multi coloured varieties. This is one of the hardier types, not frost tender and a very popular plant in the garden border as well as for growing in containers.

Dianthus Varieties and common names

  • Dianthus barbatus are known as ‘Sweet William’ as well as ‘pinks’.
  • Dianthus caryophyllus is the ‘Clove Pink’ and the cultivar Mars is pictured right. Double crimson fragrant flowers.
  • Dianthus chinensis the ‘China Pink’.
  • The matt forming Dianthus deltoides is the ‘Maiden Pink’.
  • Dianthus superbus is the ‘Large Pink’.
  • Dianthus gratianopolitanus is the ‘Cheddar Pink’ (pictured top right)


In general Dianthus thrive in a humus rich moist but well drained soil. They do like full sun, however they will do better in warmer climates with some protection form the heat of the afternoon.

So for general Dianthus Care

  • Sunny Position
  • Well drained Soil
  • Some additional water during long dry periods.
  • Seaweed fertilizer every 3 – 4 weeks
  • The same goes for pot or container grown Dianthus.

Dianthus Plants are available for sale from the following selected Plant Nurseries.

500 N. Sequim Ave. Sequim, WA 98382

CLASSY GROUNDCOVERS – fax: 443-773-5627
PO Box 2556 city: Blairsville GA 30514