The compact China pink has a clove scent as well as colorful flowers. They produce blooms in pink, white, rose, scarlet, and crimson; many are bicolored. The original species comes from Eastern Asia.
Description of China pink: China pinks grow 6 to 12 inches high -- clumps of blue-gray foliage surmounted continuously with the single, semi-double, or fringed flowers. In Zones 8 to 10, they will live in the garden for 2 or 3 years as short-lived perennials.
Growing China pink: Dianthus grows and blooms best during cool temperatures of spring and fall and in cool summer locations. In Zones 9 and 10, they're widely used as winter flowering annuals. Plant them in full sun, in well-drained soil on the alkaline side. (Acid soils can be amended by incorporating lime into the soil before planting.) Plant in the garden after danger of frost has passed. Space 6 to 10 inches apart.
Propagating China pink: By seed. Seeds germinate in 8 to 10 days at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They may be sown outdoors as soon as the soil is workable. Starting indoors 8 to 10 weeks ahead of planting out will bring an earlier display.
Uses for China pink: Use China pinks in rock gardens, in rock walls, or planted in cracks in paving stones. Mass them in at the front of beds or borders. Grow them in containers, alone, or combined with other flowers. They're good cut flowers for small arrangements.
China Pink related species: Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) has a cluster of flower tops in pink, white, and red.
Related varieties of China pink: The Baby Doll series has a mixture of scarlet, salmon, rose, pink, and white fringed flowers. Separate colors are available, with Telstar Picotee outstanding. It has crimson flowers edged in white. Magic Charms series is similar, including some speckled flowers. Snowfire has white fringed flowers centered in cherry-red. Princess series is heat-resistant. Double Gaiety and Victoriana series have a mix of double flowers in a range of colors.
Scientific name of China pink: Dianthus chinensis