Cheddar pink – info, planting, care and tips

Cheddar pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus)
Cheddar pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus)

The Cheddar pink is characterized by compact cushions and enchanting flowers. Here you will find more information on the plant and tips on planting and care.

Profile of Cheddar pink:

Scientific name: Dianthus gratianopolitanus

Plant family: pink or carnation family (Caryophyllaceae)

Other names: –

Sowing time: March to August

Planting time: spring and autumn

Flowering period: May to June

Location: sunny

Soil quality: stony to sandy, calcipholous, moderately nutritious, low in humus

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: ground cover, roof greening, borders, group planting, planters, dry stone walls, area greening, flower garden, rock garden, potted garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 (-37 °C / -35 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of Cheddar pink

Plant order, origin and occurrence of Cheddar pink

The Cheddar pink, botanically Dianthus gratianopolitanus, belongs to the large family of carnations (Caryophyllaceae). It is originally found in Central Europe, its distribution ranges from France to southern England, Poland and the Czech Republic. The main focus is in the border area between Switzerland and France and southern Germany. The Cheddar pink usually grows in extreme locations on slopes where heat, drought and severe erosion occur and which are therefore correspondingly shallow. In garden culture, however, it has become a true cosmopolitan. In natural locations, the Cheddar pink is under special protection, as it is endangered throughout Europe. Depending on its geographical occurrence, the carnation has many other names: Grenoble carnation or rock nails for example.

Characteristics of Cheddar pink


Cheddar pink are evergreen, perennial plants. Their cushions reach a height of just 10 centimeters. The sideways extension is more than twice as large. Their roots are not very distinctive, which is typical for plant species that grow on very shallow soils. There is a possibility of confusion with the Carthusian pink, but this one does not flower until later. Several flower heads sit on a common stem.


The lancet-shaped leaves of the Cheddar pink are gray-green in color and between 2 and 6 centimeters (0.8 to 2.4 in) long. They are smooth and almost waxy to the touch.


Depending on the variety, Dianthus gratianopolitanus develops round or cupped flowers of various colors on long stems between May and June, which can be spotted or speckled. The wild species has pink colored flowers, whose petals have a sharply serrated edge. The petals are toothed and slightly hairy at the throat.


The fruits of the Cheddar pink are capsules.

Cheddar pink – cultivation and care


The Cheddar pink develops best in a sunny location. Frost is not a problem.


Ideal for Cheddar pink is a permeable soil, which may be barren and full of debris. The pH-value should be between neutral and alkaline, the humidity between dry and fresh.


You can plant the Cheddar pink almost all year round when temperatures are above zero. However, spring and autumn are best suited. Planted in small groups of three to five and at a distance of 20 to 30 centimeters (8 to 12 in), the Cheddar pink is most effective.


If the cushions get out of control over time, they can be shortened by a third in spring or directly after flowering. If you regularly cut off withered flowers down to the base of the leaves, this will promote the development of new buds. The soil should be allowed to dry between two watering cycles. Towards winter, you should water Cheddar pink less, this increases the winter hardiness, because the root ball can otherwise rot easily.


When the Cheddar pinks age after a few years, you can lift them out of the ground with a spade before or after flowering, divide the rootstock and replant the pieces in suitable locations.


The Cheddar pinks can be propagated pure by cuttings. In early summer, shoots without buds and flowers are obtained and pressed into poor potting compost. It is also possible to divide the cushions; this is best done in spring or autumn. Who wants to bet on a sowing: The seeds are sown from March to August in the open field. Dianthus gratianopolitanus belongs to the plant that need light to germ, therefore the seed should only be pressed on and not covered with soil.

Diseases and pests

Cheddar pinks are generally – and if the location is right – insensitive to any kind of pests or plant diseases. The snails do not like the waxy leaves. In order to protect the Cheddar pinks from root rot, which can be caused by fungal diseases, it is best to plant them in places where pinks were not planted before.


The Cheddar pink is very hardy down to-37 °C / -35 °F. There are no measures for wintering necessary.

Use in the garden

The Cheddar pink can be used in an amazing variety of ways: As a potted plant, it thrives on balconies and terraces, and can even be used for greening roofs. It is very popular in rock gardens on dry to fresh soils, as well as on the tops of walls, in cracks between floor slabs, as a border plant on the edge of borders, as a ground cover or in grave design. To enjoy its heady scent, it should be planted close to a seating area. As a cut flower it looks splendid in Biedermeier bouquets and spreads its great aroma. Especially varieties with single flowers are popular as bee pasture, butterflies appreciate the rich nectar of the flowers. By the way, carnation flowers are a nice decoration for salads and are also edible.

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