Pinks are a species of the genus Dianthus, which contains approximately 300 other species, among them carnations and Sweet Williams. The word Dianthus comes from the Greek language and means ‘God’s flower’.
The flowers have five petals which have frilled or pinked edges and range in colour from dark to pale pink. They are grown for their prolific colourful blossoms, many of which have a sweet fragrance.
Pinks are native to Europe and Asia and they grow well in rock gardens, flower borders or herb gardens.
Pinks bloom during the summer and lie dormant during winter. If you grow pinks from seed, they can be placed directly into the garden during spring when the soil has reached a reasonable level of warmth. You can cultivate seeds indoors six weeks prior to the last frost.
The genus Dianthus has many wild species and also many that have been cultivated. Pinks are among the earliest species to have been developed by deliberate and controlled hybridisation.
Pinks require full sun and good drainage. They also need neutral to alkaline soil. They should be watered once or twice a week during dry periods, with general-purpose fertiliser added once a month. Problems with insects or diseases are rare, although you might find that mildew is an issue during particularly warm weather.
Did you know?
The colour pink was named after this flower.
Pinks can be traced back to renaissance and even medieval times, as it can be spotted in many paintings and tapestries from those periods.