Maiden pink, also known as Dianthus deltoide, is a vigorous flowering, evergreen perennial native to Asia and Europe. As a versatile plant, it is often used as an excellent ground cover, a rock garden specimen as well as front-of-the-border edging. You’ll love the countless dainty blooms emerging in red, white or pink shades during the spring and early summer. The five-petal blossoms are toothed at the edges and speckled with paler and dark spots.
It is also grown as a garden plant in rockeries. Some even include it into certain meadow seed mixes so that it can grow in surprisingly new places.
The dainty blossoms that appear on stems attract butterflies and bees. Pollination is almost exclusively carried out by butterflies. This is because other pollinating creatures fail to distinguish between the different shades of red and the flower structure of maiden pinks is only compatible with butterfly pollination. The restricted corolla mouth of maiden pink flowers only permits entry to the narrow proboscis of butterflies.
Maiden pinks ideally nurture in dry meadows characterized by poor amounts of nitrogen and low-growing vegetation. Its deep rootstalk and loosely tufted way of growing serve as an adaptation to help it survive dry spells. Like other plants that grow in dry areas, maiden pink comprises of slender stems with narrow green leaves somewhat covered in wax. It thrives better than larger species when planted besides stones. However, when its surroundings become overgrown, it tends to disappear.
Maiden pink flowers bloom generously from their seed banks. Hence, with proper grazing and maintenance, you can keep decorating your garden with maiden pink meadows.
Source: Nature gate
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General Tips to Grow Maiden Pinks from Seeds
The best approach is to grow maiden pinks from seeds about eight weeks before transplanting outdoors. Use a moistened mixture to sow maiden pink seeds in rows in a flat tray. The seeds should be kept two inches apart while rows should be spaced by 2 inches. Just push the seeds lightly with your finger inside the soil and place a quarter-inch layer of potting mix over them once you’ve positioned the seeds as well as add some water to the mix.
Moving ahead, use a polythene bag to cover the seeds to aid the germination process. It normally takes 10 to 21 days for most maiden pink varieties to germinate, but you’ll have to maintain a temperature of 70°F. As soon as you spot the spouts, pull out the bag and transfer the seedlings to a sunny spot where they can attain at least 6 hours of sunlight. Whenever the surface appears dry, water it.
Transplantation of seedlings to the outdoors should be done in mid to late spring. Plant the seedlings at the same depth as they were in the flat and space them 10 inches apart. As you see them flowering actively, water them once a week. The plant should receive 1 inch of water every 10 days, either through rainfall or manual watering. During the wetter winter season though, maiden, pinks hardly need any watering.
After the first flush of flowering, use sharp shears to cut the plants by half their height. Keep cutting the plants after each flowering to prevent them from setting seeds. In early summer, spread a mulch layer measuring 1 to 2 inches over the bed. This prevents the moisture from evaporating quickly during dry periods as well as helps to stop weed growth.
When the first flower buds appear, fertilize the plant by applying a balanced slow-release fertilizer at the rate specified on the package, such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer.
The attention-seeking perennials have numerous varieties to choose from. They differ in terms of blossom color and plant height. We’ve put together a list of the most popular varieties. Take a look and select the ones that appeal to you:
Albus is the white form of maiden pink carrying masses of single, attractive and dainty pure white flowers and grass-like, grey-green, narrow leaves. With a mat-forming growing habit, its fringed flower petals spread throughout the plant from June to September. It’s an easy-to-grow but short-lived variety.
The flowers have a sweet scent and appear very attractive when used over rocks, low walls, or in front of a border. They also look amazing when integrated into flowerbeds in well-drained, open sites. If you spot any faded flowers, pinch them out using your finger and thumb to allow for the second bunch of blooms.
Albus is extremely flexible with multiple blooming periods such as early, mid, and late summer as well as late spring. It widely attracts butterflies and is highly tolerant of drought. A typical plant measures 6 to 8 inches in height, and its flower head size is small. It grows rapidly but demands full sun exposure.
Source: Jacksons nurseries
Zing rose is a highly popular maiden pink variant that is widely preferred for sunny borders. It presents large, bright, rose-red flowers blooming throughout the summer. A typical plant is characterized by masses of fragrant red frilly flowers blooming over narrow bluish-green leaves. It offers great ornamental value when planted in groupings. While the fruit is not ornamentally significant, the flowers are excellent for cutting.
Zing rose is a highly recommended, mounded form of the herbaceous evergreen perennial that brings a delicate and fine texture to the composition of your garden. It’s a selected variety that is not native to the US.
They easily adapt to both indoor and outdoor conditions, growing well in gardens as well as in containers and tubs. The best landscapes for growing zing rose include rock/alpine gardens, container planting, mass garden planting, and border edging. Zing rose is often used in ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination, serving as ‘filler.’
When planted in masses or used a bedding plant, zing rose plants should be kept 14 inches apart. On the other hand, while growing it in containers or baskets, make sure you water more frequently than you would when growing in a garden or yard.
Zing rose plants normally grow up to 6 inches, extending to 8 inches when flowers appear, spreading to around 18 inches in total. Moreover, its dense foliage remains low towards the ground. It prefers full sunlight and must be treated with average to moist conditions, preventing it from drying out.
The rate of growth is medium, and if treated nicely, it can live up to 5 years. In terms of soil type or pH, the plant is quite versatile and offers high tolerance to urban pollution, adapting easily to metropolitan environments. Propagation through division is possible but is subject to certain restrictions.
Besides occasional upkeep and maintenance, it should be cleared in early spring to allow active growth for the season. While it attracts butterflies and bees to your garden, it doesn’t get much attention from deer that look for better tastes.
Source: Chalet nursery
The plants of vampire maiden pinks feature deep crimson-red, white, pink as well as bi-colored flowers studded over low, spreading, short silver-grey leaves. Flowers bloom in spring, but also appear on and off throughout the summer. From late spring through to late summer, you’ll get deep-red flowers. Thus, you should plant the correct seed accordingly to obtain those blooms.
If you live in a hot, sunny area, plant this variety immediately. Not only is it a great choice for poor soils, but it is also suitable for planting in mixed containers or tubs. However, when you transfer the pot grown plants to your garden, locate a sunny place where they’ll get plenty of air circulation.
On the other hand, if you sow seeds directly in your garden, position them 1/8th of an inch beneath the surface of the soil. Maintain the moisture of the soil until you see them shooting vigorously. Also, you’ll have to wait for a year before flowers appear.
In addition, special care has to be taken when attempting to propagate the plant by cuttings. During spring or early summer, make clean, soft cuttings of up to 10 cm long stems. Clear the lower leaves and stick the stem into a rooting hormone of a pot filled with appropriate compost. Make sure you plant the cuttings well, covering them in a polythene bag and placing them in a warm place. Water them sufficiently and remove the bag twice a week to provide aeration. Whenever you see cuttings rotting or dying, pinch them out regularly.
Source: Garden tags
Dianthus deltoides ‘Arctic Fire’ is a spectacular first-year flowering perennial that comprises of clear white blooms featuring an attractive, glowing red eye. The flowers look stunning when used as ground cover in borders or added to rockeries.
Ideally, this variety should be sown from February to June or September to October. For the best possible growth, use damp, free-draining or multipurpose compost, covering the seed with a very light sprinkling of vermiculite. Use a polythene bag to facilitate germination and do not deprive the seeds of sunlight during the germination process.
Source: Thompson and Morgan
This variety of maiden pink has glaucous blue foliage covered with large white, pink and rosy-red flowers with serrated petal tips that appear abundantly with crimson rings. If you’re lucky and happen to view them after a shower of rain or in the early morning dew, you’ll see them sparkling like diamonds.
Microchips are often used at border fronts or placed among the boulders in a rock garden. They’re also used as a ground cover in gravel gardens or in large groups for underplanting. They can even be used to edge a walkway or path.
Seeds should be sown in February to June or September to October in damp seed, free-draining compost. Make sure they’re tightly pressed into the compost but do not block the light by covering the seeds. The plant will normally grow up to 20 inches wide and is hardy enough to withstand temperatures as low as 35°F. Full sun is ideal for growth, but partial shade would also suffice. As long as you provide adequate watering, the plant will thrive in a variety of soil types.
To aid germination, cover the container in a polythene bag or place it in a propagator at 16°C to 20°C. The seeds will typically take 14 to 30 days to germinate and once they’ve germinated, place them in cooler conditions. To nurture it further, transplant it to a 9cm pot (don’t transplant outdoors until the plant is established).
The brilliant variety is a mat-forming perennial that produces vivid, cerise flowers that are sure to stand out in any garden. The cherry-red flowers blanket dark green leaves in late spring and sometimes during the summer. This variety makes an ideal covering for fragrant gardens, rock gardens, and the front of borders. While it thrives well in different types of soil, it doesn’t like excessive heat and humidity.
Source: Applewood seed
This variety features reddish-purple blossoms on stems rising up to 6 inches tall. Flowers spread rapidly around the low, evergreen and mat-forming foliage. It prefers full sun and blooms in April through June. At the end of the blooming period, shear off the old flower stems to encourage subsequent blooms. It thrives well in slightly alkaline, well-drained soils.
Source: Goodness grows
Dianthus deltoides ‘Flashing Light,’ also known as ‘confetti deep red,’ is truly a big hit for garden visitors. It features bright, ruby-red blossoms with an appealing, carmine-red eye. Perfect for a border’s edge or a rock garden, it’s a hardy perennial that’s grown in zones 3-9. The plant is easy to grow and can withstand dry spells. Its dark green foliage remains attractive all season, and its flowers grow up to 8 inches in height.
Ideally, Dianthus ‘flashing light’ seeds should be planted indoors 8 weeks prior to the last frost date. Provide full sun and do not cover the seeds with soil. Also, be sure to choose well-drained soil.
Source: Diane’s flower seeds
Maiden pink ‘Erectus’ is widely recognized for its use in bouquets and potpourri. It’s a low-growing perennial that produces dense green leaves and brings carmine-pink blooms by late spring. Excellent for starting in containers and tubs, the plant thrives well in hot, sunny sites.
Serving as an awesome front border plant, the Erectus variety fills your garden rapidly and can be easily divided for propagation. If you want it to keep new flowers for years, keep dividing and clipping back in early spring.
This variety is hardy in mild/coastal areas but doesn’t thrive in hard winters or sudden early frosts. Yet, it may flourish in a good microclimate with a wall shelter. While it can survive winters with artificial protection, it is more likely to be damaged or killed by extreme cold such as during snowfall.
Source: World plant nursery
To sum it all up, maiden pink flowers are highly admired by garden lovers, attracting visitors with their lovely blossoms. The carnations hold pretty well in bouquets as well as look amazing in floral compositions. The generous perennial provides widely spread flower bunches that are commonly used to furnish flowerbeds, rocky surfaces, low walls and garden boxes. You may even seize the opportunity of mixing several species within a single flower bed.
The wide range of maiden pink varieties means you have so many colors to choose from. However, there are slight differences in the growing conditions for different varieties. Hence, before putting time and effort in plantation, be sure to consider the weather conditions, soil type, and of course, your own preferences!