Pros: DEER proof, smell like carnations, hardy, easy to grow, very full and bushy plants
My husband and I spent a fair amount of money on the flowers for our large back deck, only to have them end up in the bellies of a local Mama moose and her two babies.
We tried to shoo the moose off, but one late evening they got their fill, leaving me with only a few flowers left, which happened to be Dianthus. A friend had told me that deer don't like Dianthus, so this may be why they didn't devour them like they did my Frizzle Sizzle Pansy's and Violas.
Not wanting to spend much more money on my flowers, hubby and I headed to Lowe's where they had all of their remaining flowers heavily discounted. I was drawn to the Raspberry Surprise Dianthus, which came in large 6" pots, and were already in full bloom while being loaded with new buds just waiting to pop out. Sold! I bought three of the Raspberry Surprise Dianthus, and paid less than $9.00 total!
The care tags that came in these flowers have a picture of a deer, and they read "Deer Resistant" right on the front. I had to chuckle when I read the back of the tag which reads: "Deer resistant but not deer proof - depending on scarcity of food".
These are a perennial flower, meaning they will come back season after season. The flowers look similar to a carnation, but are not as three dimensional. The flowers measure about 1 - 1/12" in diameter, and consist of a dark raspberry colored center with a fringe of white around the edges. These are very fragrant, and again smell very similar to the carnation.
For such a small plant, this one is very compact and is just loaded with flowers and buds. The foliage is dainty and does not detract from the flowers, and the color of the leaves and stems are a curious gray-green shade.
This Danthus likes full sun, which means at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. The soil should remain semi-moist, and they should be spaced a foot apart. The average size of this plant is a foot wide and a foot in height.
If you are one to fertilize your flowers, the Raspberry Surprise Dianthus likes to be fed in spring and summer, and my care tag says that they will bloom from early spring to mid spring, but mine is going strong here in July. My other Dianthus th at survived the moose have been blooming non-stop since planting in the spring.
These are easy to care for, when the flowers are spent, they turn brown and should be removed for the care of the rest of the plant. This does well in cold climates, being able to tolerate cold temps of minus ten t0 minus 20 degrees.
The planting tips recommends adding a layer of mulch to the top of the pot, but I have never done this and my Dianthus thrive here.
With all of the moose that we have here in Alaska, it amazes me that there were so many of these Raspberry Surprise Dianthus at the garden section of our local Lowe's store. However, at the marked down price of only $2.99 per large pot, I bet they didn't last long.
I am hoping these will make it through the rest of the summer and not fall victim to the moose. They sure have a lovely smell, I can smell them when I am sitting on the deck, and I really enjoy their sweet scent. A lovely choice in the Dianthus!