Dianthus petraeus

Submitted by Hatchett on

I planted some seeds of this plant, D. petraeus a few years ago and noticed a startlingly high germination rate. The plant does look very nice and the flowers were profuse and lasted quite a while. What a mistake!!! I let the darn things go to seed and now it has spread most alarmingly. Even a small seedling has a robust root system making plucking them out not doable unless it is very small. I have had to resort to Roundup but these plants keep coming up by the hundreds. I think this is a plant that will take the top spot of plants i wish i never let go in my garden, i fear i may never get rid of it. I would caution anyone that is contemplating introducing this plant to be careful or, better yet, just don't do it. I have an interest in trying some of the other more choice species but this experience has me spooked.


Submitted by Lori S. on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 22:27

Very interesting... could you post a picture of it?  I grew D. petraeus ssp. noeanus this year from seeds from the NARGS seedex.  Germination was good, however, not noticeably different from other dianthus species started at the same time, though.  I wonder if this subspecies acts the same?  I can't say I've noticed rampant self-seeding from any dianthus I've grown so far, so this is really a surprise!   

Submitted by Mark McD on Sun, 05/09/2010 - 07:16

Hi Jim, can't say I've ever tried this Dianthus, but bear in mind that many Dianthus are mislabelled or misidentified when obtained through the Seedexes and various sources, so there is a possibility it is a different species, or even one of the weedy annual/biennial species such as D. armeria.  I've never had Dianthus take off and become that invasive, of course our climates are not comparable, and it is possible that a species that poses no threat in one climate becomes a total menace in another climate.  I hope you're able to get it under control.  For me, I'm resigned to the fact Campanula takesimana is impossible to eradicate, now getting into the lawn and any part of my property that is not actively weeded and cultivated, and even then I'm losing the battle with it.

For readers who want to see what this plant looks like, here's a Swedish link, scroll down after loading the link to see a photo of Dianthus petraeus.

And here's a link to the one Lori mentioned, Dianthus petraeus v. noeanus, offered by High Country Gardens, in a dryland area closer to your Idaho climate.

Submitted by Kelaidis on Thu, 05/13/2010 - 21:09

Well well well, Jim....I have grown dozens of species and dozens more hybrids of dianthus and have had my share of self slowers, but I have never heard of one that wouldn't be relatively easy to eliminate by digging out seedlings. Never had one be rhizomatous. And I thought dianthus like it in Colorado!

I do not think you have any form of Dianthus petraeus I have ever grown. I have had Dianthus petraeus ssp. noeanus in the Rock Alpine Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens since 1980 when I bought several plants from the Plant Farm in Washington State. These have been growing continuously in the same area all that time and I doubt that we have ever had a single seedling appear spontaneously. I work at getting enough seed to send to exchanges or put on the seedlist.

The closeup of your plant shows the leaf with a rounded tip: in my experience, Dianthus petraeus is acute with quite a rigid leaf: in fact, in the winter it looks just like a green leaved acantholimon. The foliage in mine is usually a forest green color rather than the bluegreen that yours seems to have.

Whatever you have it sounds dreadful and I'm sorry that pinks have a black mark against them now!


Submitted by Hatchett on Sat, 07/03/2010 - 16:15

Well, i am in the process of taring down and rebuilding the garden where the Dianthus sp. has overwhelmed so they are no longer a problem in that. i did several applications of roundup and seem to have got in front of it in the other gardens. I let one of the seedlings flower(first year seedling) so i could take a picture of it as it seems i may have misidentified it, i would not want to besmirch the wrong species. Here are a couple of pictures i took this afternoon. Any idea what this is?