Plants - Perennials

Pretty in pinks

Otherwise known as Dianthus, these scented, old-fashioned favourites are sturdy, no-fuss plants

Propagating pinks

Pinks are short-lived perennials or biennials, so new plants need to be raised every few years, either by seed or, in the case of named cultivars, by division or cuttings.

Propagating from seed
  • Start seedlings indoors eight to 10 weeks before planting outside.
  • Cover lightly with soil or commercial seeding mix and maintain a soil temperature of 20°C. Freezing or soaking seeds is sometimes recommended, but seeds that are lightly covered with dampened soil, then covered with thin plastic to maintain moisture and heated from below germinate in seven to 14 days.
  • Space plants outside according to their expected height and width.
  • Add fine gravel to the soil to improve drainage and lime to reduce acidity, if necessary.
  • Once plants are established, trim them carefully in early spring to encourage fresh growth.
  • Clip stems after flowering to keep foliage fresh and stimulate rebloom.

Propagating from cuttings

  • To propagate from cuttings, pull off (don't cut, as this discourages rooting) side shoots after flowering, taking a bit of the main stem.
  • Remove lower leaves, dip stem ends in rooting hormone powder and plant in a pre-dampened, light soil mix, then cover loosely with plastic and place in indirect light; shoots should root in about six weeks. (Check periodically to ensure moisture is being maintained.)
  • Remove plastic and, after plants are growing well, transplant them to a cold frame or protected area outside for the winter, then plant out the following spring.


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