Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gardener, fast-growing flowers are always a hit. Who wouldn’t want plants that quickly grow and produce beautiful flowers? Dianthus flowers or carnations may not be on the top of the fastest-to-grow-plants list, but it is one of the easiest and quickest flowering plants to add to your garden. That’s one of the reasons why carnations have become such a popular flowering plant across the globe. In this guide, I’ll share ten of my favorite fastest-growing dianthus flowers, including each plant’s botanical characteristics, native range, and essential growing tips. 

10 Fastest Growing Dianthus Flowers (Carnations)

The Basics: Get to know Dianthus 

Before we get to our list of the fastest dianthus flowers to grow, let’s get to know the basics about dianthus plants first.  

Dianthus (Dianthus spp.) is a genus of flowering plants with over 300 species and more than 27,000 registered cultivated varieties. Plants in the Dianthus genus belong to the botanical family Caryophyllaceae or the pink family and are commonly native to Asia and Europe. Most Dianthus species are grown as herbaceous perennials, while a few are annuals and biennials.

Out of the many recognized Dianthus species, carnations or clove pinks ( D. caryophyllus) are perhaps the most common and popular.  Although believed to be native to the Mediterranean region, the exact origins of this famed cut flower are unknown as it has been in cultivation worldwide over the last 2,000  years. 

Carnations are known for their vibrant and attractive flowers with distinguishable clove-like fragrances. They are widely used in ornamental gardens and as fresh cut flowers for fresh and dried floral arrangements. The blooms are likewise a popular choice for perfumery and other scented items. 

10 Fastest Growing Dianthus Flowers 

Dianthus plumarius (Common Pink) 

Dianthus plumarius (Common Pink)

Otherwise known as Garden Pink or Wild Pink, Dianthus plumarius or Common Pink is a type of Dianthus flower with compact growth and commonly used as ground cover. It is native to parts of Central Europe, including Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia. In the United States, it is known to have been growing invasively in several states, such as California, Alabama, Virginia, Michigan, New York, and Indiana, among others. 

Common pinks feature five petals with fringed and ruffled margins. Flowers come in shades of pink, red, and white and bloom between May to August. This type of dianthus typically starts flowering three to four months after planting. 

Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink) 

Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink)

Dianthus armeria, more commonly known as Deptford Pink, Grass Pink, or Mountain Pink, is native to most parts of Europe and naturalized in North America. It is an annual or biennial slender-looking dianthus species that typically grows up to 2 feet tall. For this type of dianthus, it takes about 180 days from planting to plant maturity. 

Deptford Pink flowers are deep pink with a white spot and jagged edges. They bloom from July to September. Unlike most dianthus species, their flowers are scentless and close in the late afternoon. 

The name Deptford Pink originated from the town of Deptford in east London, as coined by English botanist Thomas Johnson in 1633.

Dianthus gratianopolitanus (Cheddar Pink)

Dianthus gratianopolitanus (Cheddar Pink)

Dianthus gratianopolitanus or popularly known as Cheddar Pink, is a sun-loving herbaceous perennial that boasts vivid blooms in shades of pink, purple, lavender, burgundy, red, and white. The fragrant, clove-like-scented flowers bloom from May to June. 

Cheddar pinks are native to Central and Western Europe. They are easy to grow and are considered one of the most fragrant types of dianthus. Other common names include Grenoble pinks, cliff pinks, and mountain pinks. 

The common name Cheddar pink originated from Cheddar Gorge in the Mendip Hills in England, where the plants typically grow in limestone cliffs. The species name gratianopolitanus, on the other hand, refers to Grenoble in southern France, where French botanist Dominique Villars first recorded the growth of these plants. 

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William)

A popular ornamental is the Sweet William or the Dianthus barbatus. Sweet Williams are short-lived and produce small clusters of picturesque flowers in shades of red, pink, white, and purple. Planting one in late spring will give you full bloom the following year or during the first year for some cultivars. 

Similar to other Dianthus plants, Sweet William plants are native to Europe. While renowned cultivars are valued for their pleasant smell, some varieties of this type of dianthus are odorless. 

The other common names for Sweet William include Bunch Pink, Bearder Pink, and Pinks. 

Dianthus chinensis (Chinese Pink)

Dianthus chinensis (Chinese Pink)

Chinese Pink (Dianthus chinensis), also named China Pink, Japanese Pink, French Mignonette, and Rainbow Pink, is a short-lived type of Dianthus native to China, Korea, Mongolia, and southeastern Russia. It thrives best in cool summers. 

Chinese Pinks are easy to recognize for their flat, single blooms. Each flower exhibits fringed petals and a dark-colored, pigmented eye at the center. The plants bloom from late spring to summer, showcasing white to pink and dark red blossoms. 

Dianthus deltoides (Maiden Pink)

Dianthus deltoides (Maiden Pink)

A recipient of the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit is the Maiden Pinks or Dianthus deltoides. This type of dianthus features small, fragrant pink flowers and a mat of green foliage. Other cultivars of maiden pinks, on the other hand, flaunt red or white flowers. The attractive blossoms unfold from May to July.

D. deltoides plants are native to Asia and Europe, like most dianthus species. They thrive best in full sun and well-draining soil. Other common names include Lady’s Cushion and Meadow Pink. 

Dianthus superbus (Superb Pink)

Dianthus superbus (Superb Pink)

Of many dianthus species available for cultivation, one easily recognizable type is the Dianthus superbus or Superb Pink. Because of its distinctive fringed pink petals, this dianthus is known in the floral community as fringed pink or large pink. It is native to Europe and northern parts of Asia and grows up to 2 ft tall. 

Superb pinks are herbaceous perennials that symbolize feminine beauty in Japanese culture. Flower colors range from pink to lilac and white. 

Dianthus alpinus (Alpine Pink) 

Dianthus alpinus (Alpine Pink)

Dianthus alpinus, also called Alpine Pink or Alpine Dianthus, is a species of Dianthus that originated from Central Europe.

It is a small plant that grows only up to 6 inches tall and forms cushion-like growth. It is a short-lived dianthus that quickly grows from seeds. Expect a stunning showcase of single blooms throughout the summer season. When in full bloom, Alpine Pink plants display pink to dark crimson serrated flowers.  

Dianthus caryophyllus (Carnation) 

Dianthus caryophyllus (Carnation)

Perhaps the most popular Dianthus species for its flowers is the carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus). A top-tier ornamental plant for floral arrangements, carnations flaunt exquisite blooms in shades of pink, red, white, yellow, purple, and green. Some cultivars even have bicolor flowers. 

You can quickly grow carnation plants in containers or directly in the ground. Plant them from seeds, and these plants will start blooming only within their first year. The blooming period lasts four to six weeks. 

Carnations are recognized as the Flower of Gods. Common names include Clove Pinks, Sweet Williams, Pinks, and Gillyflowers.  The plants are native to the Mediterranean region. 

Dianthus knappii (Knapp’s Pink)

Dianthus knappii (Knapp's Pink)

Another Dianthus species that produces small, solitary flowers is the Dianthus knappii or Knapp’s Pink. The other common names for this dianthus are Yellow Pink, Dianthus Yellow Harmony, and Knapp’s Nelke. It is named after the famed botanist Joseph Knapp.

Knapp’s pink features small green leaves and serrated yellow flowers that measure about ½ inches each. The plant grows only up to about 1 ft in height and spreads about 1 ft. It blooms in midsummer.   

How to Help Dianthus Plants Grow Quickly 

As with other gardening plants, the best way to grow dianthus plants quickly is to provide them with the right care and growing conditions. 

Dianthus plants generally require full sun or at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. These plants tolerate partial shade, but full shade is not ideal and will hinder quick growth and flower production. When planting dianthus, it is also best to consider the soil conditions. Well-drained soil will not only allow the plants to grow quickly, but it will also help avoid diseases that can damage plants, like root rot – especially for mat-forming varieties.

The use of fertilizer every six to eight weeks during the growing season also helps dianthus plants to grow quickly. Apply a balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 for optimum growth and abundant blooms. 

Another practice that works for dianthus plants is deadheading. Removing old blooms will encourage the plant to produce another round of flowers, thus prolonging the flowering period. 

While dianthus is an easy-to-grow and undeniably attractive plant, it is worth noting that some cultivars of dianthus are not safe for pets. Some varieties are toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals when ingested. The flowers attract birds and pollinators.  

For more, see our in-depth guide to popular flowers that are toxic to cats, dogs, and other pets.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

How Fast Does Dianthus Grow? 

Dianthus plants grow easily from seeds. Although the time from planting to flowering varies depending on the cultivar, it usually takes only about three to four months for some or within the plant’s first year for most varieties. Dianthus planted in the fall typically produces its first blooms by the next spring or summer.  

How Can I Make My Dianthus Grow Faster? 

The key to growing dianthus faster is giving the plants the proper care and growing conditions. You can expect that dianthus planted in full sun will grow faster than those under partial or full shade. Provide the plant with well-draining soil, proper planting spacing, sufficient watering, and supplement with a balanced fertilizer for optimum plant growth.   

What is the Longest-Blooming Perennial Dianthus? 

Perennial dianthus showcase their attractive flowers for a long blooming period. While most cultivars bloom throughout the summer season or from late spring to summer, there are prized varieties that display such beauty for a much longer time. One example is the Dianthus ‘Fizzy’, one of the longest flowering dianthus that visually awards us scented, double lavender flowers from early spring to late summer.

Do Dianthus Plants Come Back Every Year?

There is a broad range of choices when it comes to Dianthus plants. While there are annuals and biennials, most varieties of dianthus are perennials. Perennial dianthus comes back year after year, especially with regular deadheading.

Fastest Growing Dianthus Flowers: Wrapping Up 

The fastest growing dianthus flowers offer a wide range of options for newbies or seasoned gardeners alike. Not only are these prized ornamentals known for their beautiful flowers and rich symbolism, but they top the must-have list of ornamentals to plant for most because they are easy and quick to grow.

For more, see our in-depth guide to the best companion plants for carnation flowers, essential overwinter carnation care, whether carnation flowers are edible, and the uses and benefits of carnation plants.

Editorial Director | Full Bio | + posts

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

Author Andrew Gaumond

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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