With so many to choose from, selecting the right variety of dianthus comes down to what you are trying to achieve in the garden, how much planting space you have, and what colors you like.
Here are the questions to ask and answer:
- Where am I planting?
- How much planting space do I have?
- What color speaks to me?
First begin by evaluating where you need some oomph in your garden and how much space you have to fill, then choose the variety that delivers.
For front of borders, containers, rock gardens, modern gardens, and smaller spaces: Lower growing varieties including some types of garden pinks and alpine pinks are ideal for adding softness to rock gardens or massed as a simple, tidy groundcover in a modern setting.
For beds, middle of borders, larger containers, edible and cutting gardens and larger spaces: Taller varieties including some types of garden pinks as well as Sweet William and carnations have big impact when massed and can be a go-to vase filler when planted in rows for cutting.
On the topic of color, that's where the choice gets harder. Dianthus colors can range from searing hot hues of magenta, red, and cerise, to more soothing tones of pink, peach, and creamy-white. If you have an established color palette in the garden choose one that fits and amplifies or if you want a bit more contrast, select a different color for drama. Because dianthus plants typically only thrive for a few years before needing to be replaced, it's a plant with which you can have some limited commitment fun.