Dianthus is a cool-season bedding plant, a species of flower that includes "pinks" and carnations.
Sweet Williams (D. barbatus) are biennial or short-lived perennials. Carnations (D. caryophyllus) are taller and popular in the floral industry for bouquets, but tend to be less hardy than other dianthus. Pinks (D. chinesis) are low-growing annuals. Pinks, and hybrids bred from pinks, are the most commonly planted.
Pinks are bushy plants with gray-green leaves and small flowers that can be single, semi-double, or frilled, in shades of lavender, pink, purple, red, salmon, and white. Each flower has toothed petals creating a delicate fringe. Pinks get their name not from the color, but their fringy petals that look like they've been cut with pinking shears. Some species have a spicy fragrance, much like cloves.
Dianthus may be used in borders or containers, and make great bedding plants when massed together.
Most parts of the state should wait until October to plant. They will flower through winter and spring, only stopping when temperatures rise, usually in May.
They will do best in full sun to partial shade, and prefer rich, well-drained soil. Dianthus will not tolerate wet soil conditions, so irrigate carefully.
Some recommend varieties are the hybrid Telstar dianthus, which are low-growing plants that comes in several colors, and Dianthus ‘First Love’ (D. caryophyllus), the flowers of which open white, then turn to pink and eventually lavender. Its blossoms are fragrant and reported to be resistant to a fungus disease that affects other dianthus.