Plant of the Month: May 2014
by Jenny Wegley
Dianthus barbatus ‘Dash’ series
AT A GLANCE
Latin name: Dianthus barbatus ‘Dash’ series
Common name: Sweet William
Flowers: Baseball-sized clusters of flowers
Mature size: 12”-20” tall by 12”-14” wide
Hardiness: Spring annual, tender perennial
Soil: Well drained
Exposure: Full sun
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Local nurseries or mail order
Oh boy, oh boy! Spring is in the air, and I have “spring fever”! The trial gardens are popping with color, and our Dianthus trials are in full bloom. Over the course of many years we have trialed hundreds of Dianthus cultivars in the Dallas Arboretum Plant Trial gardens. We know they rock in early spring and that great cultivars continue to bloom throughout the summer. There’s something special going on when I decide to write about one very impressive Dianthus — the ‘Dash’ series.
‘Dash’ stands at 20 inches tall, providing a nice mid-range height, which can be lacking for us in the spring. The color selections are vibrant, catching your eye from a distance. ‘Dash Magician’ is my favorite, featuring shades of pinks and whites molting into one. ‘Dash Pink’ is a pink fading to an apricot white. Then there are pure colors — white, crimson and violet. Dianthus ‘Dash’ is a barbatus species, featuring a cluster of small flowers on a single stem. Flowering stems vary in height, giving the display layers of color.
The ‘Dash’ series continues to bloom into the summer, and the plants have shown great heat and cold tolerance for us the past several years. Because of these extended performance capabilities, ‘Dash’ has the potential to perennialize. ‘Dash’ can be planted en masse or as a focal point, and it is the perfect height for the mid- or back layer in your landscape. I also like to mix it in my containers with lobelias and petunias to create that perfect spring combination. You can find it at your favorite local nursery or on-line.
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