Dianthus barbatus 'Heart Attack'

Dianthus barbatus Heart Attack Perennial of the Month-- August 2006 

(di-AN-thus  bar-BA-tuss) (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name: Perennial Sweet William

Family: Caryophyllaceae, Pinks

Height x width: 12" x 12", open habit

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: dark green, strap-like or lance-shaped to 4" long

Flowers: very striking blood-red flowers, spring south to early summer in the north over a long period; small carnation-like flowers in flat-topped clusters 3-5" wide

Hardiness: USDA zones 4-8

Soil: well-drained

Light: full sun north, afternoon shade in south may help

Pests and problems: few significant, in moist conditions watch for slugs and snails, in poorly drained soils watch for crown rot, possibly rust late in season

Landscape habit, uses: fronts of border, massed, rock gardens, containers; combines well with corydalis (yellow or blue cultivars), allium, fringed bleeding heart (D. eximia), rockcress, perennial sages

Other interest: unique in performing well in heat and humidity of south as well as having cold hardiness; from former employee James Stevenson of Plant Delights Nursery around 1990, introduced in 2001; unlike others in the species this one is perennial

Other culture:  deadheading promotes perennial growth, may reseed otherwise

Propagation: division spring, seeds

Sources: Plant Delights Nursery (NC), specialty perennial nurseries

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