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A picture of a Sweet William

Sweet William

Dianthus barbatus

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Frost Hardy

6a-8b

USDA zone

-23°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

50cm

Max

50cm

10cm

Min

10cm

1 years to reach maturity

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a strong fragrance

More images of Sweet William

A photo of Sweet William
A photo of Sweet William
A photo of Sweet William
A photo of Sweet William
A photo of Sweet William

Sweet William Overview

Dianthus barbatus is a popular garden species which is commonly known by the names sweet william and bearded pink. It is either a biennial or short-lived perennial with lance-shaped, evergreen leaves on stiff stems which are held upright and have thickened nodes. Foliage is arranged in a rosette and this plant typically reaches a height of around 40-60cm tall. This plant is mainly grown for its attractive, colourful flowers, which are produced densely in clusters at the ends of stems in a flattened arrangement. These may be some shade of red, purple, pink or white and many possess bicoloured blooms. Petals are toothed along their edges, creating a frilly effect and these flowers often have attractive patterning across their surface. Flowers often have a spicy, clove-like scent to them. This species is part of the Royal Horticultural Society “Plants for Pollinators” initiative to showcase plants which support pollinator populations by providing ample amounts of nectar and/ or pollen.

Common problems with Sweet William

How to propagate Sweet William

Seed

Sow seed in late spring, plant out in autumn.

Cuttings

Propagate perennials by layering or from cuttings in summer; annuals and biennials from seed in autumn or early spring.

Layering

Special features of Sweet William

Attracts butterflies

Attracts bees

Attractive flowers

Attracts useful insects

Other uses of Sweet William

Border, fragrance, cutting bed, container, window-box

Flowers - Sow Under Cover in June

Thinking ahead to next year - sow these seeds for early spring and summer colour.

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Flowers - Sow Under Cover in July

Thinking ahead to next year - sow these seeds for early spring and summer colour.

Explore all