Grow Dianthus for Fragrant Flowers and Fancy Foliage

Updated: Jan. 08, 2024

Dianthus has beautiful silvery green foliage topped with delicate fragrant flowers in the spring. Add one or more to your garden!

Dianthus Care and Growing Tips

Fragrant Flowers Firewitch Dianthus 2Jill Staake
‘Bath’s Pink’ 

Looking for a plant that offers fragrant flowers and beautiful foliage, too? Dianthus might be just what your flower garden needs. The tight mound of gray foliage is just as appealing as the deliciously spicy flowers.

  • Dianthus
  • Dianthus hybrids
  • Zones 3 to 9
  • Full sun
  • Well-draining soil

The spicy clove scent of the flowers many refer to as “pinks” is legendary, but some pinks actually have no scent at all. Sniff before you buy, and you won’t be disappointed. Note: the “pink” nickname refers to the fringed edges of the blooms that look like they were cut with pinking shears, not the color.

They are closely related to carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) and share their scent. The flowers rise on delicate stems about 6 inches above the plant, and are perfect for cutting for small nosegays or bud vases.

As an added bonus, fragrant dianthus attracts native bees and butterflies to your garden.

Dianthus Varieties

Firewitch dianthus gratianopolitanus or carnation pink flowersskymoon13/Getty Images

Bath’s Pink is an old reliable with pastel pink flowers. This dianthus variety forms a mat of silvery-green, with fragrant flowers floating on delicate stems above each spring. Also look for two-tone Pink Kisses, or Firewitch, also known as Cheddar Pinks, with fragrant flowers that are reminiscent of cloves.

Pwdianthus BlackcherryfrostCourtesy of Proven Winners -
Fruit Punch ‘Black Cherry Frost’

Not into the pink flower color? Try Mrs. Sinkins, a favorite since Victorian days, which has fluffy white flowers, or Black Cherry Frost for semi-double red flowers.

Where to Plant Dianthus

309762883 1 Sandra Lemay Bnb Pc 2022Courtesy Sandra Lemay
‘Pink Kisses’

The low, mat-forming growth habit of this plant makes it an interesting choice for a ground cover or rock wall. Be sure to plant it in well-drained soil where it will not become overly wet during the winter months, or crown rot can occur.

Choose full sun spots for best growth and flowering. Cut back the spent blooms to encourage new flowers throughout spring and a possible re-bloom in the fall.

Looking for more fragrant flowers for your garden? Try our top 10 list!