With its natural charm, the maiden pink conquers stone and heather gardens. With these care tips, you will enjoy this species and its intensely colored varieties for a long time in your garden.
Profile of maiden pink:
Scientific name: Dianthus deltoides
Plant family: carnation or pink family (Caryophyllaceae)
Other names: –
Sowing time: from April
Planting time: sping or autumn
Flowering period: June to September
Soil quality: stony to sandy, low in nutrients, low in humus
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: flower beds, embankments, planters, dry stone walls, roof garden, heather garden, natural garden, rock garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 (-37 °C / -35 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of maiden pink
Plant order, origin and occurrence of maiden pink
The maiden pink (Dianthus deltoides) belongs to the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae) and is widespread in Europe and Asia. Their generic name Dianthus is of Greek origin and means “flower of the gods”. The maiden pink prefers to colonize lean, sandy meadows, pastures and dry slopes. In Germany, it is specially protected under the „Federal Species Protection Ordinance“. It only occurs in a regionally dispersed manner and since more and more of its preferred locations are disappearing from the landscape, it is on the red list of endangered species in around half of the federal states.
Characteristics of maiden pink
The short, hairy, delicate stems of the plant branch only at the base and reach heights of 10 to 40 centimeters (4 to 16 in). Their aboveground runners and creeping stems result in a loose, lawn-like growth pattern. The perennial survives the winter without any problems.
The stalks of the maiden pink are covered with a few narrow, gray-green leaves. As long as its flowers are still closed, you can easily mistake them for grass at first glance. The linear leaves are about 2 to 3 centimeters (0.8 to 1.2 in) long and are arranged opposite each other on the stem.
At the end of the stems, maiden pink bears up to four short-stalked flowers that appear from June to the end of August. Each radial symmetry bloom is formed by five serrated, about 1 centimeter (0.4 in) long petals that are pink to magenta-red in color. Their white dots and a darker mark that forms a triangle on each petal and which gave the plant its species name “deltoides” are very typical. Some people perceive a subtle scent. Another peculiarity of the plant is that its flowers close at night.
After pollination by butterflies and other insects, the maiden pink forms capsule fruits that contain the tiny seeds.
Maiden pink – cultivation and care
Maiden pink prefers a full sun, dry location. Gravelly and stony surfaces that heat up quickly are suitable. The more open and warmer the place, the more comfortable feels the native wild shrub.
The soil for the maiden pink should be well permeable and without waterlogging, and, if possible, with a pH value in the acidic range. However, it is also very tolerant of calcareous soils. As a typical type growing on poor grassland, it needs only a few nutrients.
Since the maiden pink does not tolerate waterlogging, humic, nutrient-rich soils should be thinned out with gravel or sand when planting. It is advisable to plant them in larger groups so that the delicate perennials look beautiful from a distance. For a two-dimensional planting, you calculate about 16 plants per square meter (10 sq ft.). When planting in pots, it is important to create a sufficiently high drainage layer.
The frugal maiden pink does not require any special care measures. In order to make space for new flowers, you should regularly cut out what has faded. The perennials are rather short-lived, but ensure their survival in suitable locations by self-sowing. It is of course important that some capsule fruits are allowed to ripen on the plants in late summer.
The plant can be easily propagated by sowing. In addition to a pre-cultivation, direct sowing into the bed is also possible from April. You can also take cuttings from their lawn-like shoots, which you can then root in potting soil. To do this, it is best to choose flowerless shoots.
Diseases and pests
If it is too damp, the maiden pink is susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew or gray mold. Aphids can appear in large numbers, in particular on freshly sprouted stems. These can be easily removed from the branches with kitchen paper.
Maiden pink is hardy down to -37 °C / -35 °F. No special measure for winter need to be done.
Use in the garden
According to its natural occurrence, the maiden pink is well suited for rock and gravel gardens as well as heather gardens and can be settled on dry slopes and in the joints of dry stone walls. It also feels comfortable in pots with a correspondingly nutrient-poor substrate. Nice flowering partners are low herbs like thyme or oregano or blue blooming Serbian bellflower. Different types of carnations can also be easily combined with one another.
There are particularly beautiful varieties of maiden pink.
- In addition to bright red flowers, the variety‘Flashing Light’ variety also has dark foliage
- The variety ‘Albus’ sets accents with gleaming white flowers
- The variety ‘Roseus’ attracts attention with its countless pink flowers
- Those who really love fiery red flowers will like the varieties‘Vampire’ or‘Brilliant’