Top 5 Perennials of the West


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Dianthus
Dianthus (carnations) are one of the top 10 flowers used in constructing floats for parades.
Dianthus (carnations) are one of the top 10 flowers used in constructing floats for parades.
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­You will probably know one dianthus right off the bat: carnations. Carnations are affordable bouquets at the local florist, but they also make for hardy perennials right in your own yard. The Dianthus genus branches out into more than 300 species. Dianthus is considered to be one of the most popular garden flowers, and rightly so. They come in a seemingly endless variety of colors, including two-toned hues, strea­ks and bicolor.

There are many old-fashioned pinks or newer hybrids to choose from. Don't be fooled into thinking that carnations are the only way to go. Here are some additional dianthus flowers to try:

  • Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
  • Garden or Cottage Pink (Dianthus plumarius)
  • Chinese Pink/Indian Pink (Dianthus chinensis)
  • Dianthus Perpetual-flowering Carnations

Dianthus can be marginally or full-frost hardy, so check with your local garden service to find out what will work best for your climate. The tall varieties will need staking to protect them from strong winds, but generally these are extremely easy to care for. They enjoy sunny locations with slightly alkaline, well-drained soil.