The Different Types of Carnations (Dianthus)

bright pink carnations
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The Different Types of Carnations (Dianthus)

Types of Carnations. Plus: Spotlight on Paint the Town Magenta Dianthus

Dianthus (carnations) are popular flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae. The genus name Dianthus comes from two Greek Words: “Dios,” referring to the Greek god Zeus, and “anthos,” meaning flower; so, the name translates to “The flowers of God.”

The Dianthus genus contains over 300 species of lovely and easy-to-grow perennials, biennials, and annuals. The different types of carnation flowers carry different common names, including carnations, pinks, hardy pinks, maiden pinks, grass pinks, Chinese pinks, clove pinks, and sweet William. 'Paint the Town Magenta', a perennial, is one of the best of a great group. 


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Different Types of Carnations (Dianthus)

Typically, all types of carnations require very little maintenance to grow. Carnations are good for pollinators, attracting butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Some of the more common types of carnation flowers include the following: 


pink carnationspink carnations

Dianthus caryophyllus (Carnation, Clove Pinks)

When you think of carnations, this is the type of carnation flowers most people envision. This species, commonly known as carnations or clove pinks, is widely bred with plant sizes ranging from 6” to 5’ tall. Garden varieties are most often available in red, pink, salmon, and white double flowers. Native to the Mediterranean, carnation dianthus tends to grow best in humid areas and does well in southern Zones.

Dianthus barbatus/sweet WilliamDianthus barbatus/sweet William

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Sweet William is a variation of carnation in the pink flower family that grows 12-24” tall and features small flowers in dense, flat-topped clusters. It blooms from late spring to early summer and is a popular choice for cut flowers. Fragrant and hardy, sweet William is appealing to pollinators and attracts butterflies, birds, and bees to your garden. 

Dianthus grataniapolitensis/cheddar pinkDianthus grataniapolitensis/cheddar pink

Dianthus grataniapolitensis (Cheddar Pinks)

Commonly known as cheddar pinks, these types of carnations are low-growing (5-6” in height) evergreen perennials. The fragrant pink flowers appear in spring. Native to central and western Europe, the plants do well in full sun but do not tolerate soil that is too wet or cold. Their dense, deer-resistant growth makes them ideal for ground cover, borders, and rock gardens.  

Dianthus chinensis/Chinese PinksDianthus chinensis/Chinese Pinks

Dianthus chinensis (Chinese Pinks) 

A popular carnation, this short lived perennial produces an abundance of colorful—typically pink, red, or white—open-faced single flowers with fringed petals and a dark center eye. This carnation variety is native to China and is one of the few types of carnations that will not do well in high heat and humidity; however, it grows happily in most (less humid) parts of the US.  

Dianthus plumariusDianthus plumarius

Dianthus plumarius (Common Pinks)

Dianthus plumarius varieties, commonly called common pinks, garden pinks, wild pinks, or simply ‘pinks’,  grow best in full sun and can easily reach two feet tall at maturity. They have a dense, mounding habit and bloom from May until August in flowers with fringed petals, which gives them a recognizable carnation look.  

Dianthus deltoides Dianthus deltoides

Dianthus deltoides (Maiden Pink)

Often used as a ground cover, this evergreen perennial typically forms a low-growing mat of spreading foliage that remains attractive year-round. The single flowers have a slight fragrance and fringed petals that are red or pink. 

Dianthus pavonius Dianthus pavonius

Dianthus pavonius (Peacock-Eye Pink, Grass Rose Pink)

Known as peacock-eye pinks or grass rose pink, this carnation has a low-growing and spreading habit of blue-green foliage and blooms from late spring to early summer in bearded pink-hued flowers with a sweet clove fragrance. Plants prefer full sun but do well in partial shade. 

Spotlight on ‘Paint the Town Magenta’

What a wonderful color! Check out ‘Paint the Town Magenta’ Dianthus! Dianthus is the genus of flowering plants we commonly call dianthus, pinks, carnations, and sweet Williams. They have beautiful round flowers with slightly serrate edges to the petals. 'Paint the Town Magenta' is a new hybrid from Proven Winners® with dark pink flowers that are vibrant shades of purplish red, which will be the highlight of any flower bed.

Adaptable and hardy, the plant forms a low mound of narrow foliage that is about as blue as leaves get. Above that, the long-lasting flowers, intensely magenta and eye catching, reach about 8” tall. They are shaped like simple carnations and cutting them for bouquets will encourage the production of more flowers.

In full sun or partial shade, they will be a splash of color from mid-spring well into the fall, year after year. They withstand quite cold temperatures (to USDA Zone 4) and tolerate heat and, once established, drought. For the absolute best growth, plant them in loamy, moist but well-drained soil. As spectacular as 'Paint the Town Magenta' Dianthus are, you’ll want to put them in a central location where it is easy to admire them. You can also fill a container for color on the patio or line them along a path to lead you like runway lights. 

Special Price $10.00 Regular Price $25.00

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Dianthus 'Paint the Town Magenta' - Pink Carnations
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