Dianthus 'Feuerhexe' 

Diabnthus Firewitch    Perennial of the Month-- April 2015 Perry caricature

 (pronunciation at link)  (dii-an' thuss)

Common name:  Firewitch Dianthus, Cheddar Pink

Family:  Caryophyllaceae, Dianthus

Height x width: 3-6in. x 6-12in.

Growth rate, habit: moderate, mat-forming

Foliage: tufted mounds of linear leaves, bluish, linear, evergreen in most areas

Flowers:  bright magenta or purplish-pink flowers on 6in. stems, numerous, late spring or early summer (north), clove scented, some repeat bloom later in summer

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-8

Soil:  average, well-drained

Light:  sun

Pests and problems:  crown rot in waterlogged soils, especially in winter and spring; none others serious

Landscape habit, uses:   rock gardens, old-fashioned gardens, scented gardens, fronts of borders or edging,  stone walls and raised beds, massed as a groundcover as on a sunny slope; attracts butterflies and hummingbirds; combines well with Siberian iris, threadleaf coreopsis, plumbago, catmints, perennial salvia, scabiosa, campanula, stachys, veronica including gold-leaf forms

Other interest: tolerates heat, humidity, and drought better than many other dianthus; common name from often notched flower petals resembling cuts by British "pinking shears", or from the Dutch Pinkster for Pentecost when it blooms; The Cheddar in the name is from Cheddar gorge in southwest England where it grows wild; genus name from the Greek dios and anthos, or flower of a god, a divine flower; this cultivar was introduced in 1957 by the Kayser and Seibert Nursery in Germany; in 1987 it was found by U.S. nurseryman Pierre Bennerup in the Netherlands, who brought it back and introduced it in this country; this cultivar named the Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year for 2006

Other culture:   deadheading promotes perennial growth, don't mulch heavily particularly in fall over winter

Propagation:  spring division or just after flowering, cuttings

Sources:  many online and local specialty nurseries


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