Plant of the Week – Dianthus cruentus (Blood Pink).
Eye Candy Credentials
Dianthus cruentus qualifies on many levels. The most obvious one is its colour. As the English name suggests the flowers are blood red and the pollen is a dusky blue-grey. Even when in bud the plant has a good structure. Once the flowers open they hover above the evergreen blue/green foliage on airy stems like vibrant dots of colour and give dramatic definition to any planting scheme. It is one of those plants that looks great on its own as a mini specimen or as part of a larger scheme. An added bonus, but an important one, is that the flowers are particularly attractive to bees and other pollinating insects.
How to Grow
Dianthus cruentus grows best in full sun in light, well drained soil. If the soil is too rich the growth may become floppy and need staking, so best to keep it a bit lean. The one condition to avoid at all costs is winter wet as this will rot and kill it. Give the plant a light trim once it has finished flowering to promote foliage growth. In early spring the new shoots can also be trimmed to keep a tidy shape.
Looks Good With
On its own in gravel planting or try it with these – Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low, erigeron karvinskianus, achillea ‘Taygetea’, Euphorbia cyparissias ‘Fens Ruby’ or ornamental grasses such as stipa tenuissima.
Dianthus cruentus is native to Turkey and the Balkan peninsular and is technically classified as an alpine. It is evergreen and will reach a height of about 60 cm with a spread of 15 cm. It flowers from late May to August.