Plant of the Week: Dianthus, Bouquet Purple
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture does not promote, support or recommend plants featured in "Plant of the Week." Please consult your local Extension office for plants suitable for your region.
Plant of the Week
Bouquet Purple Dianthus
Latin: Dianthus 'Bouquet Purple'
Trying new plants as they enter the garden trade is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job. But through the years, I’ve found myself becoming a bit jaded with claims of "new and improved" having less sway.
Such was my thinking when I first grew out a batch of Bouquet Purple Dianthus seedlings. But what I thought was just another dianthus, turned out to be unique new plant for the garden.
Bouquet Purple is a hybrid between Sweet William Dianthus and the Chinese Pinks. It produces upright flowering stems to 20 inches tall. Clumps continue to expand horizontally each year, but during the first season individual plants will spread 12 to 16 inches wide. During the winter. plants are evergreen with typical linear, gray-green foliage forming a mound 4 inches high.
The 50-cent size flowers are born at the ends of the erect flower stems and produced in considerable abundance. The dominant color scheme for the flowers is lavender, but enough flowers with lighter shades are produced to give the plant the characteristics of a natural flower arrangement.
Like most dianthus, Bouquet Purple has its best bloom display in late spring, usually in May. But because one of the parents of the hybrid cross is Dianthus chinensis, it continues to grow and bloom through the summer if the heat is not too oppressive.
Bouquet Purple Dianthus has proven its value from Minnesota to Mississippi, being named as a winner in both states’ plant promotion programs. It was also selected to be one of the Arkansas Select plants for 2003. And it deserves this recognition, for it is a really exciting new addition to the perennial flower border. For information on the other 2003 Arkansas Select plants or plants from previous years, visit this website: www.arhomeandgarden.org.
Linda Laughner, a breeder for PanAmerican Seed Co. in Santa Paula, Calif., developed Bouquet Purple while working on new hybrids to fit a niche in the specialty cut flower growers market. Because it was developed for cutting, cut the stems often and hard for use inside where their delicate, spicy fragrance can be enjoyed. Cutting only encourages more blooms.
Use the plant in the mixed border, massed in beds or even in the vegetable garden where bouquets can be cut for use indoors. To keep the plants growing and blooming, a topdressing with a liquid fertilizer on a monthly basis will keep flowers coming.
Bouquet Purple Dianthus is easy to grow from seed. Seed in late winter and transplant directly to the garden the following spring with plants flowering well their first season.
Like most dianthus, make sure Bouquet Purple has good drainage. Plants do best in a fertile, moderately moist soil. Other than resentment for heavy clay soils, it seems to have few problems. It grows well in full sun or light shade. Staking has not been necessary.
By: Gerald Klingaman, retired
Extension Horticulturist - Ornamentals
Extension News - April 18, 2003
The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture does not maintain lists of retail outlets where these plants can be purchased. Please check your local nursery or other retail outlets to ask about the availability of these plants for your growing area.