The most anticipated new fall flower arrived in my area and I didn’t even get to see it. Let that be a warning to all of you gardeners getting ready for fall planting. The plant I am talking about is the Rockin dianthus coming out of Pan American Seed.
Though I called it the most anticipated fall flower we are talking about perennial in zones 5a-8b. That is a huge area geographically meaning happiness for gardeners everywhere.
I also called it fall because where I live, we are still mired in oppressive heat and no rain in sight. So, while it was doubtful, I would have bought any the other day I still wanted my shot at this first of many shipments that will be coming.
The Rockin series will feature purple, pink magic (which is multicolored), rose, and the most exciting red in the world of dianthus -- can you imagine Merry Christmas red or Santa suit red?
Suddenly, we who fancy ourselves as color gurus can imagine creating triadic harmony by adding this red to blue pansies and yellow snapdragons, as well as, countless other options.
But since this is a perennial with more flowers than you can count in early summer think of the warm season options, too. What also excites The Garden Guy is the anticipation of butterflies and pollinators. This dianthus can do it!
The Rockin series offers color, fragrance, and a bounty of cuts to add artistic designs to indoor vases. You have to admit, there is something special about cutting from your garden and sharing.
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It might be as simple as giving a bouquet of cut flowers from the garden to your neighbors or a Sunday school member who needs a little blessing. For cut flowers, it is recommended that stems be cut when three flowers are fully open.
The Rockin dianthus is upright and will reach 18-24 inches tall with a 12-inch spread. It will bloom in early spring, spring, late spring, summer, autumn, and winter with a little guidance by shifting weather patterns. Though I am touting them as perennials, you certainly will still get maximum value for your garden dollar even if you use them as annuals like your other dianthus.
They grow best in well-worked beds that are loose, rich in organic matter, and well-drained. When preparing a bed, incorporate two pounds of a slow-release fertilizer with minor nutrients per 100 square feet of bed space. They will need plenty of sun to bloom to their potential.
For the prettiest display, set the Rockin dianthus out in drifts of three to four plants per square foot achieving a spacing of about 12-inches apart. While I was dreaming earlier of triadic harmony and such, by all means, consider inter-planting with spring daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths and in beds with re-blooming Encore azaleas.
I mentioned earlier, that most gardeners don’t think of the dianthus as being part of a pollinator project. I assure you, during my years at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah that when the blooms opened up, we found gulf fritillaries, zebra heliconians, various swallowtails and sulphurs all participating in what seemed to be a fancy feast for butterflies.