Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Extending Dianthus x barbatus chinensis Bloom

Photo from Ball Seed Company
I love Dianthus x barbatus (chinensis). It is usually grown and sold as an annual form of Dianthus, but it has perennial (biennial) longevity with proper care.
In its first season, you enjoy endless bloom from planting til frost is common. Overwintering is typical, with a robust bloom in early summer. Yet, once June rolls around - they look spent like this:

Gather the spent flower stalks and cut back about 2-3 inches off the top, leaving about 4-5 inches of green growth.

This removes the seed heads and stalks, forcing new growth from the leafy area beneath.

Hedge hog hair-cut!

This cut will initiate new growth, which will bear new flowers in a couple of weeks. I used an all purpose water soluble fertilizer, just to give it that extra boost.

It may look severe, but it will extend the bloom until frost.

I have overwintered Dianthus x barbatus for up to 4 years by doing this each year. After that amount of time, it generally fizzles out and I replant a new lot.

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